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Game changing STEM through women empowerment

Updated: Jan 23, 2019

Women in STEM

17 August 2018, Cyberjaya, Malaysia

An open panel Q&A session between panelist and audience for “Game Changing STEM through Women Empowerment” hosted by Malaysian agency in collaboration with Embassy of the United States of America, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Panelist #1, Erin Keeley a Director in Engineering for HGST, a Western Digital Brand, (Silicon Valley, USA) shared her experience and urged women to take any challenges and go for it. We should not be afraid to try new opportunities just because we are afraid of rejection. We should fight for our opportunity, let it be job assignments or a promotion. If we do not try it, we will not get it. Do not hold yourself back, for afraid of failure.

Panelist #2, Diana Macias, Sr Manager in software engineering at Twitter (Silicon Valley, California), advised women on how to move up the ladder in technology industries. Women should not only have a mentor, but a sponsor. A sponsor is someone who has a high position in the company, who is willing to promote you so that others know who you are. It is important to seek out for sponsor who will help you to advance in your career.

I myself experienced seeking a sponsor in the USA. By having a sponsor at my side, he pushed me up by assigned me with multiple international assignments despite the fact that I was still a junior. And yes, I took up all the assignments to transfer technologies at various countries. Another benefit of having a sponsor is when she introduced me to a potential employer, which I did secured a job. However, in Malaysia, the concept of sponsor is alien as compared to USA. For Malaysian, the word sponsor is always being associated with someone to support others financially. Therefore, it is about the time to expose Malaysian of this ‘sponsor’ concept in higher education and industries.

In response to pay gap, Diana Macias, being a Sr Engineering manager, she will make sure that her subordinates will have an equal opportunity in terms of salaries and promotion. And if there is a disparity, she urged women to bring it up to individual in the company who can do something about it.

To all the women out there, do not afraid to take up promotion and the challenge comes with it because when you are in the management role, you will have the authority to reduce inequalities between men and women in workforce.

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