Although we’ve had to change the way we celebrate all kinds of events over the past year, we continue to work closely together, despite our physical distance. One way we’ve adjusted to this virtual world is by incorporating live-streamed panel discussions that help us connect with people from all over the country and world. Because of this, I was excited to hear about Nuance’s work with MassTLC, an organization focused on the tech ecosystem in Massachusetts. To celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, MassTLC brought together an amazing group of women from Nuance working in innovation and development for an online panel.
Jessica, an R&D Director at Nuance, facilitated this vibrant discussion in late March with a team of five other women: Kristina, a Senior NLP Research Scientist, Ann, a Nuance Fellow and Senior Software Development Manager, Janna-Lynn, a Principal UX Designer, Anuradha, a Senior Principal Product Manager, and Shweta, a Principal Program Manager.
I was particularly inspired by their open and honest discussions of the opportunities and the challenges they’ve faced as women in tech. They talked about breaking the glass ceiling and the unique opportunity of having a seat at the table in discussions about ground-breaking work at Nuance. In her opening comments, the panel host, Jessica, said, “As we raise the next generation, it’s important that we share and lift each other up with our stories. This is how history is written, this is how we make progress. Our stories really matter.” This really stuck out to me – it is a great reminder that our work has a deep history of innovators and changemakers behind it, particularly pioneering women in tech. One example of this trailblazing is computer scientist Margaret Hamilton, who was responsible for the team that created the software that brought us to the moon in 1969! The careers of women who came before us, fighting for the right to be engineers, managers, and leaders, have brought us the opportunities we have today. In the same way, we will leave a lasting impact on those who come after us.
These team members also talked about empathy, supporting the next generation, and the reality of life during the pandemic. Many of them are parents and discussed the bright futures they see for their children, particularly their daughters, in STEM.
The women and allies attending the event mentioned how thankful they were for this candid discussion, and I truly agree. It is so important to connect with our team members in the company and with other tech communities like MassTLC, particularly as we have been working from home for over a year. I feel grateful that these changemakers took the time to discuss everything from their product and client-focused work to the awesome books they read to their kids, encouraging them to reach for more as they grow.