Designerex co-founder Kirsten Kore
As a woman in the tech industry, you may find yourself being the only one in the crowd. One of the first things I find myself doing when I walk into the conferences and meet-ups, is look around to find my fellow female founders.
Thankfully, there are more and more of us, as women such as Kate Morris of Adore Beauty and Jess Ruhfus of Collabosaurus, are forging the path to us being as equally part of the industry as anyone.
In my four years in the industry, I’ve developed a few strategies so I ooze a sense of confidence and feel like the ever proud female founder in the room.
Always turn up with confidence
In any industry, but especially in tech, knowing your potential and power is key. I began as a very shy young woman, so confidence was something I was constantly attempting to improve on.
Perhaps the best way I was able to gain confidence was through experience; with every new opportunity in the tech space, my knowledge and base grew, and so did the natural confidence I had in myself to disrupt this industry in ways that it has needed for a long time.
Therefore, as an extra piece of advice: Take the word “no” out of your vocabulary; we women have been confronted with it enough — every invitation, especially from other women, can open doors and is an opportunity for you to stand out. (On second thoughts, save your “no” for those times when a man asks you to do something that he can clearly do himself. Wink wink.)
Maintain a level of self-awareness and reflection
Practicing a technique of self-reflection and personal awareness is a crucial element to success in this industry.
Asking myself key personal and philosophical questions led to my partner Costa and I founding Designerex in the first place — it’s so empowering to know what you truly want and why you are here in the tech space, which NEEDS you. And all that self reflection will have you in the healthiest mindset to make everyone — men and women — want to come and work with you!
Support and empathise with those around you
In essence, establish your humanity. Tech is a competitive and skills-based industry, but at the end of the day, we are all human beings. Embrace that: the more natural you’re able to feel and behave, the more successful you will be.
Be empathetic with the situations of your colleagues and take the time to invest in both their personal and professional successes. This also will help build up a network of friends and supportive professionals who can all help each other in their careers and ventures, and create a comforting environment — all while you’re innovating like a Queen.
Know your passion in tech and invest everything you have in following that
By knowing where your passion for tech lies and how to express that, you become incredibly valuable. If you have an idea, invest your time and heart into the specialised knowledge that will allow you to make that idea sing.
Equally, if you find yourself feeling less than passionate about what you’re doing, find the right people to help you, so you can focus on thriving at what you’re best at.
Say yes to everything and work out it out later
As the great Sir Richard Branson says, “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”
Every experience can be one that you can grow and learn from, and one thread can lead to another and eventually reveal a grand tapestry of insight you would otherwise never have been exposed to.
If you don’t know exactly how to tackle a task, that is okay. Say “yes” anyway, and then ask questions and take certain risks…nothing impactful has ever come from playing it safe.
Lean in and connect with other female founders
In my experience, women have been the loudest and most vociferous advocates of other women. Use that fact to reap the benefits of a group of people who share a unique experience and quality that unites them.
While I’m not advocating you to promote your gender as a substitute for a substantial work ethic or quality character, leverage the unity that womanhood generates, and seek out women as a source of guidance, advice, and experience for you to personally build upon.
Acknowledge your role models
Admire and have role models within your industry. Some shining lights who I draw inspiration from, just to name a few, are Natalie Massenet, Emily Weiss, and Sheryl Sandberg, for their successful leadership and comebacks from adversity; I use them as inspiration and their experiences have supported me through success and setback alike.
Every woman’s experience is different and unique to her; however, there are certain tried-and-true strategies to guarantee a deeper, more grounded mindset for women in the tech crowd.
I am still learning a great deal about my personal journey through the industry, but I also see it as my obligation to impart some of the knowledge I have learned to support the next generation of tech women.
- Kirsten Kore is the co-founder of Designerex, the world’s largest peer to peer designer clothes sharing platform and the first to launch in two international markets with its 2019 US launch. She will be speaking about the sharing economy at Australia’s leading e-commerce event, Online Retailer Expo and Conference, on July 24-25 at the ICC Sydney.