On Thursday March 5, 2020, the Women’s Initiative Network and Women in Technology organizations at Barclays hosted a career panel in Whippany, NJ to mark International Women’s Day. FRG Principal Dessa Glasser was one of the panel speakers.
The event was kicked off by Augusta Sanfilippo, Managing Director, Operations Technology, and moderated by Gretchen Schoenhaar, Head of Fraud Execution. The panel featured four industry leaders in the field of technology; Glasser, Rena Nigam, CEO of Meytier, Judith Sheft, Executive Director of the New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology, and Lena Smart, Chief Information Security Officer at MongoDB. Each of the panelists represented a unique story of persevering against odds and making a successful career in fields hitherto dominated by men. They shared a uniquely self-aware understanding of the building blocks of their success and personality. An audience of over fifty were in attendance as the four women recounted their personal experiences, the challenges they faced during their careers, and how they overcame them. In a lively and well-moderated session, they combined their personal journeys with career advice for young women professionals.
The panel began with opening remarks from Augusta Sanfilippo, who welcomed the guests and attendees, and offered brief words of encouragement and advice to female employees seeking a successful and challenging career within the organization.
Gretchen Schoenhaar then engaged the participants in a lively discussion which concluded with a Q/A session.
Among the words of wisdom imparted by the panelists was the importance of self-presentation, i.e. representing oneself as a competent professional within one’s organization and peer-group. The panelists also emphasized the need to be open to opportunities, even if they were challenging and intimidating. They suggested that it is only by trying out new opportunities and roles that one becomes aware of their own capabilities.
The ability to communicate in a confident manner was mentioned as one of the greatest skills an aspiring professional should focus on developing and honing. The panelists emphasized the importance of staying true to oneself, of engaging with people of diverse backgrounds and complementary skills, and going beyond the single-mentor formula to access a variety of colleagues who might champion women within the organization and the industry in general.