I recently joined a women’s leadership panel and was asked who my role model is. I didn’t mean to sound cliché, but I said my mom because it’s true. My mom always worked when I was growing up, and she was a great mother. Her work was never a compromise or allowance she made to choose a family or career. She just had both, and she succeeded at both. I wanted to model my own career path and family choices this same way.
I started my career in information technology (IT) years ago when I was one of the only girls in the computer engineering department at my school. I went on to become one of the only female programmers in the particular coding language I was using at the time.
I didn’t get these opportunities because I am a woman. I got these opportunities because I worked for them and I also happen to be a woman. Just like my mom, I wanted a career and to be at the table contributing my skill set because of my knowledge and just happen to be a woman at the same time. I also have a family.
Years ago, Health IT organizations often didn’t recognize women as having the ability to add value. I like to think now the conversation is shifting, but we have a long way to go. We are starting see an interest in women in technology with an assumption that they can bring something unique to the table. That is true, but not because she is a woman. It’s the person who brings something unique.
As we celebrate National Health IT week, I’m inspired by the many women working to innovate the future of healthcare, reduce costs of care delivery and create healthier communities. I like to think they are doing so because they have the skills, drive and knowledge. And they just happen to be amazing women.