Tips for women, from women, on advancing in IT

Women have a unique perspective on the obstacles to becoming top executives in the male-dominated business IT profession.
Representing just 24 percent of U.S. technology employees in 2009, women find themselves surrounded by male bosses, direct reports and colleagues.
It doesn’t get any better as they reach the upper ranks–women represent only 10 percent of heads of IT, according to CIO’s 2010 State of the CIO survey. As one female CIO put it, “It’s a shame women are opting out of this profession. [They appear to be doing so because] it ‘costs’ a lot…time, commitment and personal sacrifice. We can’t do everything, but failure is not allowed.”

At the request of the CIO Executive Council, female senior IT leaders collaborated to document their most important advice for women moving up the IT ladder. Behind each broad piece of advice–such as identifying the impact of your personal life on your IT career at each stage–are personal stories from women who have become strong IT leaders and better business executives.

One is Annabelle Bexiga, CIO at TIAA-CREF, who noted, “I’ve seen women come in who are driven and are immediately looking for their next job, but you need to have a solid foundation of skills.”

Twila Day, senior VP and CIO of Sysco, also shared some techniques that help her gain a stronger voice at the executive table and showcase confidence. At the top of her list for those new to the big discussions: Don’t sit at the end of the table or in the corner; instead, place yourself squarely in the middle of the meeting room.

To download the Top 10 document, go to

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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