Women in IT: How deep is the bench?

By Tracy Mayor, Computerworld |  IT Management, women in IT

Lubinsky left, and worked at Disney and AIG before landing at Oakwood, where in 2009, she became the first female on its executive committee. "Now it's 50-50," she says. "Three of us are women."

As for the women in her organization, Lubinsky says, "We have conversations: 'How did you get where you are?' 'What struggles did you go through?' For 20 years now, I've juggled. I've been through it all."

Several years ago, when Joanna Tang, a systems architect at Oakwood, was thinking of resigning to spend more time with her two young children, Lubinsky offered her the opportunity to work from home.

"After I had my second child, I was feeling the need to be at home more," says Tang. "Marina was very supportive. She encouraged me to stay, and gave me the option to choose my time in the office." Having a manager who'd been through the same dilemmas helped. "I did think, well, if it worked out for [Lubinsky], it can work out for me," she says.

- Tracy Mayor

Jennifer Klopotoski, a Windows systems administrator team lead, has had few female role models in her education and career, but she feels well supported by her company, Ebsco Publishing, an Ipswich, Mass., supplier of databases and e-books.

In a computer science class at Boston's Northeastern University, she recalls being the only woman in a class of 30. "But I wasn't intimidated by that," she says. "I used it to my advantage to build on my strengths."

Klopotoski is one of three females in a 35-member department, and has no women directly up the ladder from her. But early on, she had a good male mentor who recognized her ambition. "I am definitely in a distinct minority, but I'm comfortable with that; it's part of my personality," she says. "I feel the doors are open to me at Ebsco. If you want to get ahead, you'll get there eventually."

It's difficult [having kids] in the tech field -- you can't just drop what you're doing at 3 o'clock if something is broken. Jennifer Klopotoski, Ebsco Publishing

Her current roadblock is the work-life balance that many parents with young children struggle with. Klopotoski and her husband, a network manager at a different company, can sometimes find themselves debating over whose network crisis is more important as they figure out which parent can leave work to pick up their two kids, ages 4 and 18 months. "It's difficult in the tech field -- you can't just drop what you're doing at 3 o'clock if something is broken."

It's not lost on her that Yahoo's Mayer made it to the top before starting a family. "Having kids and now wanting to advance, it's a reverse kind of climb," Klopotoski acknowledges. "Am I going to be able to attain what I want? Maybe, but it's going to take five or 10 years."

Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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