We celebrate the International Women's day on the 8th March (International women's rights day, in few countries) but it's also important to remind that women are equal of men and it's essential to protect and respect their rights every days of the year but nowadays, women make up just 24% of the tech workforce, thus more and more women are encouraged to pursue careers in the tech industry. Initiatives such as Girls who Code and conferences such as European Women in Technology support this movement passionately.
And at Joomla, the trend is not much different. Because there is no fatality, we must do things in others ways and be more inclusive. In our community, some women are really amazing and I've decided to introduce you some of them. These women are so inspiring and so motivating. Really. Read their stories, their advices, their thoughts and you'll be convinced.
Because we need really each others, I do hope that these portraits will inspire others women to embrace a career in tech sector and/or to join the Joomla Community.
Women's portrait at Joomla: Shirielle D. Williams
What’s your name and your role at Joomla?
Shirielle D. Williams but many know me as “SD”
I am the lead for Joomla User Group Chicago North (JUGCN), organizer of JoomlaDay Chicago, and Assistant Team Lead of the Joomla Educational Outreach Working Group.
What excites you about your daily work?I enjoy showing others all the ways that Joomla can help them grow their business, share information, sell products, etc. I love that no two days are the same. I love testing extensions and matching them to solutions for clients and colleagues. Each day that I solve a problem, address a concern, and share a Joomla tip is a good day. Women's portrait at Joomla
What did you study?I studied Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering with an emphasis on Software Engineering. I was one of less than a handful of females in my major during that time. I later went back to school to get a Masters in Business Administrator.
When did you start to think about pursuing a career in tech?I decided when I was very young that I wanted to be in technology. My father was a systems analyst and when I was in high school I started attending summer programs at Case Western Reserve University, in the Cleveland, Ohio, USA fully intending to follow in his footsteps. Being in that program, I learned about different types of technology and decided instead of going into computer science to go into engineering.
What challenges are you facing as a woman working in tech?As a female, especially a Black female, I am often underestimated. It happens less now that I’ve been in technology for 25 years and counting. When I worked for big companies, there was always a check with my male colleagues to confirm any suggestion or solution I made.
What would your advice to women considering pursuing a career in tech be?I talk to and mentor young people, especially girls and young women about reaching for the stars, not allowing others to put limits on what they can achieve. As a female in technology, don’t shy away from voicing your opinion, asking questions, and getting involved. Don’t defer to others when you know the answer. Learn to respect others, their opinions and ideas but understand that just because you respect and acknowledge them, they do not have to be your own. Pick a path, study hard, connect with mentors, and believe in yourself. Women's portrait at Joomla
Are there any specific Book/Blogs/Apps you enjoy & recommend ?
There are many sites/blogs/podcasts/books. I love learning new things, so I’ll just name those that are top of mind:
- Joomla.org (of course)
- Freakonimics - has varied and thought-provoking topics and guests
- Jason Fried (of Basecamp) books and blogs
- Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin (other books by him and his blog)
- Own It! By Tabatha Coffey
Who or what inspires you?
My grandmother who passed away a few years ago inspired and continues to inspire me. She was one of the first black nurses in Ohio, Her journey, along with many others, be seen in an exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum. Women's portrait at Joomla
Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and the other women who were instrumental in getting American Astronauts into orbit. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work at NASA Lewis Research Center (now called NASA Glenn Research Center) and help those working on the solar array panels and battery backups for the space station. I learned how to do CAD Electrical drawings. I also got to work with smart women who worked along side smart men.
Each time, I see a student, client or colleague experience an ‘Aha’ moment I am inspired to continue learning, solutioning, and sharing.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?Outside of work, I like to bake. I bake bread every week. Also, I bake other treats and give them away to my office mates, colleagues, family, friends, and neighbors.
3 tips you would give your younger self?
Three tips for my younger self would be... Try More, Play More, Say More
Don’t be so afraid to try things, the take chances, and try to have less analysis paralysis. Take more time to have fun. You can be serious and have fun Speak up more often.
Express your thoughts more often.