Hosted by Compass Datacenters’ Chief Innovation Officer, Nancy Novak, each episode features a prominent woman in the technology industry discussing key subjects, alongside their own personal experiences in the workforce. The aim of this series is to provide insight for the next generation of women leaders, as they forge a path in what has traditionally been a male-dominated space.
Empowering Leadership: Navigating the Corporate Ladder with Amy Swanson
In this episode, Nancy Novak, Chief Innovation Officer at Compass Datacenters, engages in a conversation with Amy Slagle Swanson, Former Managing Executive - North America Alliance Leader - EY at IBM.
Amy, drawing from her 35 years of global experience, shares insights on empowering women in leadership roles. The discussion covers the progression of leadership, emphasizing the challenges and importance of self-clarity.
Amy addresses stumbling blocks for women, urging them to overcome perfectionism and embrace imperfections in pursuing leadership roles. The power of vulnerability in leadership is explored, highlighting its role in fostering authenticity, connection, and innovation.
The discussion stresses the significance of intention and personal connections, advocating for a balance between power and humility in leadership. Throughout, Amy's valuable insights offer a roadmap for women navigating leadership roles in various industries.
Amy’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amy-slagle-swanson-5b09bbb/
Paving the Way for Women in Skilled Trades
Today, Nancy is joined by Kabri Lehrman-Schmid, Project Superintendent at HENSEL PHELPS.
Kabri's journey from her early career to her current leadership role provides a captivating backdrop for our discussion. Her insights into leadership principles and strategies offer invaluable lessons for both aspiring and seasoned leaders.
Throughout their conversation, they explore the multifaceted nature of leadership. Delving into topics such as effective communication, team dynamics, and the importance of fostering a positive work environment, Kabri's leadership philosophy emphasizes the significance of mentorship and continuous self-improvement.
Kabri’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kabri-lehrman-schmid/
Empowering Women in STEM with San Diego State University Students
In this episode of Extending the Ladder, Nancy sits down with three incredible STEM students from San Diego State University.
Lily Astete, Dani Hunt, and Juliet Luevanos are all navigating the world of STEM and come together today to discuss the barriers, challenges, and opportunities for women in STEM since graduation.
In a round table-type episode, Nancy has the opportunity to ask this new generation of women in STEM their thoughts on the industry, as well as opportunities they see for the industry to change to become more inclusive and accepting of all groups.
Women and Sustainability
In today's episode of Extending The Ladder by Compass Datacenters, Nancy Novak, podcast host and Chief Innovation Officer at Compass Datacenters, is joined by Brittany Marley, Vice President, Client Executive at STACK INFRASTRUCTURE. They dive deep into the role of women in sustainability, the need for collaboration, and the importance of measuring impacts.
Marley and Novak discuss:
The importance of women leaders in sustainability, and why their underrepresentation could mean missing out on critical solutions.How corporate sustainability hinges on collaboration, specific metrics, and reduction of emissions throughout the supply chain.The need for improving efficiency in data centers to reduce energy usage and carbon emissions, with a special focus on Microsoft's Azure platform.The complexities of solving carbon emissions and the necessity for collaboration at all governmental, corporate, and individual levels.The challenges in supporting digital transformation within energy constraints and the shared responsibility of corporations and consumers.The pivotal role of diversity, inclusion, and equity for success, specifically, the representation and involvement of women in decision-making processes for quality of life improvements and climate change mitigation.Despite the complexities of sustainability and digital transformation, Marley underscores the need for holistic approaches, collaboration, and the invaluable contribution of women's leadership.
Brittany Marley, with her extensive experience in developing scalable infrastructure solutions for hyperscalers and cloud providers, has been instrumental in creating strategic partnerships with global clients. She prioritizes operational excellence for complex compute and edge networks, ensuring rapid delivery to meet market demand. Her expertise offers invaluable insights into the need for diversity and innovative thinking in tackling sustainability issues.
Bringing the Next-Gen into Construction
When you picture a stereotypical worker in the construction industry, for most individuals, the first image that probably comes to mind is likely a male. But females are becoming increasingly engaged in construction roles. Female-based apprenticeship programs such as the ANEW in Seattle, Building Pathways in Boston, and Tradeswomen Inc. are facilitating this, according to EHS Today.
Why is this growth occurring and what are organizations and businesses doing to catalyze this growth?
On today’s episode of Extending the Ladder by Compass Datacenters, podcast Host and Chief Innovation Officer of Compass Datacenters, Nancy Novak, speaks with Jennifer Sproul, President of Maryland Center for Construction Education and Innovation, Inc. (MCCEI), about what MCCEI and other companies are doing to boost the number of females in construction-based roles.
Novak and Sproul also discussed…
How Sproul entered the construction industry and the challenges she faced as a female in the field
Recent growth of female involvement in the construction industry and why this is occurring
What Compass Datacenters is doing to promote female engagement in construction
Despite the small proportion of females in the construction industry, Sproul said there has been an upswing in numbers since 2018. “I’d say probably the first few years or so we were in the industry and out in the workforce we were stuck at about 9 percent, a little under 10 percent of the industry. And now, nationally, we’re at 14 percent. In fact, in Washington, D.C., women make up 17.6 percent.” She believes part of the reason for this upswing is education of women realizing construction opportunities.
Jennifer Sproul is President of Maryland Center for Construction Education and Innovation, Inc. Prior to her work at MCCEI, she held various marketing roles in a variety of companies and organizations. Sproul has also served as the National Professional Development & Education Committee Chair and the Northeast Region Director of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC). She holds an AAS in Construction Management from Catonsville Community College and a BA in Communications from Loyola University Maryland.
Bridging the Digital Divide for DEI
Digital accessibility is a privilege, one that allows those who have unbridled access to the digital space. Host Nancy Novak, CIO of Compass Datacenters, met with Dr. Julie Albright, a highly decorated technology sociologist who currently serves as a board member for Infrastructure Masons, to talk about the need to mend the digital divide for digital equity and inclusion.
As a woman who has spent her career looking at the digital transformation of society, Dr. Albright is well versed in understanding the digital divide. But what exactly is it?
Dr. Albright described the divide as consisting of three levels. “I kind of think of it as three pillars,” she explained. “One, you might not have a digital device, be it a smart phone or a laptop or something like that. Second, you might not have digital connectivity, meaning internet at home sort of thing. And third, you might not have digital skills.”
The digital divide can be any of the three pillars or a combination. Within the divide, women fall behind.
“What the research shows, is that overall, globally, women are more likely to fall on the wrong side of the digital divide,” Dr. Albright said.
While this divide can be broken down further into more specific socioeconomic factors like race and age, the COVID-19 pandemic put extra pressure on these categories and deepened the issue.
One example of this divide Dr. Albright recalled was witnessing an immigrant woman shed a tear over her inability to access her healthcare needs online during the pandemic. While this example is one of many, women are unequivocally affected by the deepening digital divide.
Within the technology industry, there is a consistent lack of female voices. However, the more experiences and perspectives that can be added to a project, the more innovative. Unsurprisingly, the more women brought onto a project, the less blind spots in the project. “Bringing more women into developed technology isn’t simply a nice thing to do… it’s an innovation imperative. It actually brings more innovative results,” Dr. Albright highlighted.