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In Their Own Words: Advice for Aspiring Women in Tech

Women at Bentley share their thoughts on career, life experiences and give advice

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Stepping onto the career ladder can be both exciting and challenging at the same time, especially if it’s your first time working for a technology company. For women pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), navigating that landscape feels less daunting when able to see and connect with other women who are paving the way before them. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1 in 6 people working in architecture and engineering careers are women. Globally, about 49% of STEM workers are women, whereas around 15% are in engineering.

Here at Bentley, we are working hard to empower women as they pursue their goals without biases or barriers throughout all organizational levels and regions. We’re committed to not only encouraging women to enter the architecture, engineering, and construction fields, but also support, celebrate, and inspire them throughout their career trajectory.

Logo for Bentley’s Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Alliance (IDEA) program

This is just one area where Bentley’s Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Alliance (IDEA) shines brightest. Formed and led by passionate colleagues, the goal of IDEA is to engage, educate and empower all colleagues at Bentley and their allies says Natalie Plummer, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

“When we are all given the opportunity to bring our full authentic selves to work, we are able to provide that same support to our users and create an environment where innovation and new ideas thrive. With the full support of Bentley’s executive suite, IDEA is the platform through which we will continue to develop an inclusive and equitable culture,” said Plummer.

Not just during Women’s History Month, but all year long, we’re proud of the supportive culture we’re fostering. Looking beyond just a single day or specific month, here and through Bentley’s social channels, we will shine a spotlight on the women who help drive Bentley’s success.

“When we are all given the opportunity to bring our full authentic selves to work, we are able to provide that same support to our users and create an environment where innovation and new ideas thrive. With the full support of Bentley’s executive suite, IDEA is the platform through which we will continue to develop an inclusive and equitable culture.”

This is the first of a series of articles where we will spotlight women for their positive team contributions. We asked numerous women within our organization to share their thoughts, reflect on their careers, experiences and offer advice that may help guide and inspire the next generation of AEC professionals. Here are some of their responses when asked:

What’s the biggest factor that has helped you be successful?

Collage of women at Bentley colleagues
Bentley colleagues reflect on their careers and offer advice to inspire the next generation of STEM professionals. (Pictured L-R): Abby Jones, Rachel Rogers, Elisa Garbett, Amy Heffner, Monika Kelpsaite, and Angela Curry.

Abby Jones, Senior Director, Chief of Staff Global Account Advancement
Hoofddorp, Netherlands

Character is the biggest factor that has helped me be successful. Character is all-encompassing – Integrity, empathy, passion, purpose, and keeping my word and doing what I say I will do. Character creates trust and can inspire others on their quest for greatness. No matter what background we come from we can all leverage our character to achieve success. Reach into it every day to build long-lasting and meaningful relationships. It has opened countless doors for me and for sure will open countless more in the future.

Rachel Rogers, VP, Industry & Product Marketing
California, USA

Remember that your career and personal growth isn’t necessarily a linear journey. I’ve worked in marketing communications, sales enablement, field marketing, product strategy, product marketing, and other roles in Top 500, start-ups, and private companies. I learned so much from the various experiences, expectations, managers, processes, goals, and mentors along the way that helped me understand other facets of an organization and become adventurous in my own goals and expectations. Change isn’t a bad thing, just another opportunity to learn and grow.

Elisa Garbett, Senior Director, IT Global Service Delivery
Georgia, USA

Letting go of the fear of failure is one factor that helps me be successful. In the innovation/technology industry, fear and hesitancy to do something different can stifle new ideas and creativity. Some of my biggest professional challenges and mistakes have led me to new career opportunities and successes. Find the courage and inner strength to step outside your comfort zone. Exploring roads less traveled can open the door to endless possibilities.

Amy Heffner, Director, Product Marketing
Pennsylvania, USA

Taking the pause. Often, we are very reactive. Not everything has to be done immediately. Pause to plan and prioritize. Pause to get to know your colleagues. Pause to communicate, never assume everyone comes to a meeting with full background on the agenda. Pause to ask for help. The pause brings a personal touch and balance you won’t regret.

Monika Kelpsaite, Cloud Engineer II
Vilnius, Lithuania

Never give up! When it seems so hard and I can’t move on, I always remember tomorrow can be a much better day – everything is possible to do.

Angela Curry, VP, Chief Compliance Officer
Pennsylvania, USA

My parents are the biggest factors in my success. They gave me the confidence and support to do hard things from an early age by teaching me to show up, work hard, keep my eyes on the long game, and stay focused during the short games. These lessons have gotten me through some rough times and what I try to impart to my children.

“Find the courage and inner strength to step outside your comfort zone. Exploring roads less traveled can open the door to endless possibilities.”

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Collage of women at Bentley colleagues
(Pictured L-R): Radosveta Toneva, Molly Brown, Cecilia Correia, Cissy Diao, and Tracey Vogen.

Radosveta Toneva, Senior Director, Offer Management
Hoofddorp, Netherlands

Be open-minded to all the advice and criticism that comes your way. Evaluate it carefully and realize you can’t improve without critique but also feel empowered to disregard it all. When you need to make decisions, trust your instincts but also validate them. Your first impulse will usually always take you in the right direction. Occasionally, you could be wrong of course and that’s ok. Even then you will learn and improve for next time.

Molly Brown, Senior Product Manager, Building Design
Hoofddorp, Netherlands

Keep learning with open eyes but don’t worry that you don’t know everything. Stay curious, ask questions, and seek advice. People will help you, that is the beauty of mentors and strong teams. Lastly, never stop dreaming, you can have it all!

Cecilia Correia, Senior Water Solutions Manager
Lisbon, Portugal

Always stay true to yourself and try to Think without the I. Be honest about what you believe and never be afraid to say what you think or to take the right path, even if others are taking a different one. Ultimately, you will be in the right place, surrounded by the right people, doing what you believe, and nothing will make you feel happier than believing in what you do. It may sound cliché, but if you like what you do, then you won’t have to work another day in your life. Your work will be part of your life.

Cissy Diao, Senior Manager, Regional Marketing
Beijing, China

Life is a journey, and a good traveler makes a plan. Find your sparkle, and take the treasure of bravery, persistence liberality, and love. Good luck! I will always be your best friend.

Tracey Vogen, Project Manager
Pennsylvania, USA

Two words. Listen Intently. People tend to want to be heard, so we often talk and interrupt or think about what we want to say next instead of listening to people with our full focus. Listen to the people around you and really hear what they are saying. By listening, you will be a better friend, coworker, boss, parent, spouse…

Meg Davis, Bentley’s Industry Marketing Director for Roads and Bridges, also contributed to this post.

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