Inspiring Women on International Women’s Day

Originally published on voltacharging.com on 3/8/22

The tech industry is seeing a new sign of progress. There was a 24 percent increase in the number of women in the C-Suite at tech companies from 2016 to 2021.

Women are also active at Volta developing software, designing the user

experience, building products, engineering Volta’s cloud infrastructure, managing data systems, monitoring data security, and much more.

We asked three women in tech at Volta to share their career paths to inspire other women.


QUESTION

What do you do at Volta?

ANSWER

ALEX: I’m responsible for leading Volta’s Product Development and Design across all driver touchpoints. That means I work closely with every part of the business to ensure we’re building the right products, at the right time, to solve meaningful customer needs and keep a close eye on our bottom line.

Every design and product decision we make is another chance to further accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles. Our stations are beautifully designed structures that take a more long-term architectural view. That means a stronger focus on materials, durability, and ease of upgrades in the field. And those are all interesting challenges from design and engineering perspectives.

ERIKA: I’m one of the developers on Volta’s cloud team. We build and maintain infrastructure for facilitating communication between a charging station and the customer’s mobile device. Basically, we are the glue that connects the mobile app with the charging stations and our cloud infrastructure.

TEENA: I head a group often referred to as “IT.” What that really means is that I oversee an amazingly talented and dedicated team responsible for software development, security monitoring, project management, data systems management, and tech support at Volta.

QUESTION

What has shaped your career the most?

ANSWER

ALEX: I’ve always loved understanding how things work and imagining how they can be better. This has helped me as a designer, as a product leader and as an executive. When you couple an insatiable curiosity with the desire to do something bigger than yourself, you get an incredible opportunity to reimagine the world around you.

Being inquisitive guides me to imagine how I can work better with other teams, solve pain points, and reach clients. When things don’t go according to plan, getting curious and understanding why or how something went off the rails has led to my most significant career growth and my resilience as a person. It’s not always comfortable. It can be very difficult and humbling. But it does broaden your perspective and present new opportunities.

ERIKA: For most of my career, I’ve sought out companies that can make a difference. Technology has the potential to do that. There’s no sector that hasn’t been improved by it. I worked for a startup that connected athletes with sponsors and another startup that helped prospective home buyers with all-cash offers. Volta can make a difference on a larger scale. I’m excited to be a part of Volta’s mission to put more electric vehicles on the roads.

TEENA: Curiosity, a willingness to learn, and not be afraid to speak up or stand out. I have an innate curiosity about technology. I was never afraid to be the only woman in the room pointing out how tech could help solve business problems. But I think it’s important to note that I didn’t start my career in a tech role. I actually began in accounting and finance. Accounting uses a lot of systems and I always gravitated to designing solutions for them. Slowly I started moving into broader projects and system design. That led me to IT. When I stepped into this role at Volta, I realized how much of that curiosity, fearlessness, and opportunities to learn new technologies led to where I am now, and how much Volta valued that experience.

QUESTION

What advice would you give to other women to help them progress in the tech industry?

ANSWER

ALEX: The most important piece of advice I could give women to progress in the tech industry is not actually for women at all. As women and minorities, we talk a lot about how to conform or uplevel a system that was just not built with everyone in mind. What if, instead of asking more of women and other minorities, we asked more of the group of people in power? We need this group to be a big part of the change required to move the world forward.

If you’re a person in a group that may have never felt like the only one in a room, I challenge you to consider the following: What might your encouragement, support or effort enable at your leadership table? What about your culture supports the growth of diverse talent? What could you change? What problems might you be able to solve if you let someone investigate those problems in a new way? What could you learn from intersectional groups about resilience? How could work be better for everyone on your team?

ERIKA: Don’t be afraid to ask questions, voice concerns, speak up, and reach out for help. Be unapologetic about advocating for yourself and others.

TEENA: Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you. If you see a problem, solve it and don’t hesitate to promote your success. Don’t be afraid to fail and be proud that you are a woman in tech.

QUESTION

What advice would you give to young girls to encourage them to explore tech careers?

ANSWER

ALEX: Be you. Be bold. Be brave. Get curious when you are uncomfortable. Most importantly never let anyone, including the voice in your own head, tell you that you don’t belong. You are brilliant. Everyone benefits from hearing your questions. Questions can be just as powerful as the solutions you recommend.

ERIKA: STEM is a fascinating field that needs more women to get involved. We bring different ideas and perspectives to the table. The more women role models there are in technology, the better. Technology is an industry where women can make a difference with meaningful solutions to everyday problems.

TEENA: Don’t ever let anyone tell you women can’t be successful in a tech career. You are just as capable, smart, and worthy as anyone else.

QUESTION

What advice would you give women applying for a job in tech at Volta?

ANSWER

ALEX: Be authentic and share your passion. A lot of what we will do in the next 5 to 10 years will be new. Every role is an opportunity to make an impact on the future of transportation and natural resources on a global scale.

ERIKA: Come join us! The company is at the forefront of an exciting industry that’s disrupting car culture in the best way possible. There’s no shortage of interesting problems to solve!

TEENA: Don’t let a specific technology keep you from applying for a role. Technologies change constantly. The ability to learn from past experiences and pick up new technical skills can make you a strong candidate.

THE TAKEAWAY FOR WOMEN

Research shows that companies who are more gender diverse generate more revenue and innovative products.

Advocate. Ask. Apply.

1. Advocate in favor of leaders hiring to make teams more diverse.

2. Ask questions. The diversity you add to the room brings a new perspective that’s desperately needed.

3. Apply for that job even if you don’t meet 100% of the requirements. Tech needs more women like you.

For more content about the EV charging industry, follow Volta Charging on Medium.

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