International Women’s Day is observed annually on March 8 and celebrates the global "social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women." The day also calls for action to advance gender equality. Women's Day was born out of the women’s rights movement in industrializing countries during the early 1900s. Since then it has evolved to be honored outside the US and throughout the world. The celebrations included rallies and events calling for women’s right to vote and an end to gender discriminations.
As we honor the trailblazers of our past, we must forge the way to our future with more women around every table. This month we will be spotlighting some of our very own Women at TeamSnap. We will be drawing attention to just a few trailblazers and heroes who deserve a round of applause.
Kate McFaul, Senior Software Engineer
As a self-taught software developer I have always been passionate about programming and I love giving back to my community. Every fall I teach the local high schoolers HTML and CSS, which we use to build a website from scratch. For the rest of the year the students continue adding their projects to their sites and end up with a great portfolio for college and job applications. I also take time to highlight the history of women in programming so the girls know they belong there and the boys know they are a valid presence. Showing up as a smart, confident, successful female programmer myself helps normalize women in the field and my goal each year is to send these students out into the world more accepting of diversity in tech.
I'm always trying to balance raising my three kids with work, responsibilities and a wide range of activities and passions. Day to day there might not be total balance, maybe not even over the week, but I don't think the goal should be to do everything perfectly every single day. If you back up enough and let a few things slide hopefully the balance is there. My house is not usually the cleanest on the block, but it's active, happy and creative, which I'll take any day over a clean sink. Plus, check out this cool video on Kate’s story: Embracing curiosity as a Developer
Anissa Williams, Engineering Manager
I started as a teacher out of college. It was not my first career choice, but I was persuaded by my parents to pursue a degree in education for the scholarship opportunities. Four years into teaching I wanted a change.. I remember being one of only two female Computer Science students in the department. I was going to go back into teaching, but the job market was hot for developers. I ended up working on SAS Curriculum Pathways at SAS Institute for nearly 10 years as a full stack developer - “bringing learning to life”. I moved to Charleston to work for a benefits software company and within a year of being a developer seized the opportunity to become an Engineering Manager. Flash forward and I’ve managed both large (50) and small (8) teams – onshore and offshore – on many tech stacks. I love the work – I am energized by mentoring and delivering, and then seeing the success of our individuals, teams, organization, and customers.
I think with women the biggest obstacle we face is our own selves. I have a voice inside me that tells me ‘I can’t do it: that I’m not smart enough, experienced enough, etc,’ but I shut that voice down long ago. It still appears here and there, but I tell other women that they have to leave that voice behind. I ask them, how did you get this far? What skills do you have that you’ve demonstrated that can silence those doubts? Be proud and be aware of your strengths. Do an inventory - write your strengths/traits down in a journal so you know how talented and great you are, because you are talented and great! You have to believe it, sell it, and make it part of your brand. Don’t give in to that inner voice - ever.
You also have to encourage other women and keep it up regularly. My own example included the career choice above (where I actually took hold despite not thinking I was smart enough to be a programmer and despite my parents discouraging me from playing sports because they [sports] weren’t feminine enough.) To this day not playing sports is still a regret of mine. I did ultimately rebel and join the tennis team my senior year. I loved playing sports and I was good at it. Make sure you encourage each other always! I have been through many periods of that cycle of doubt/confidence and we have to lift each other up to persevere.
Laura Lugo , Customer Success Specialist
My story is a little different than most. I was a teen mom at the age of 16, which meant my path to a career started earlier in life. I may have done everything backwards. As I look back (I’m almost 30, married and a mama with 3 kids) I realize it was as it should be. Every woman creates and builds their own path. I am grateful for the challenges and obstacles. They helped me learn and grow and provided all the right opportunities.
I love encouraging women. It gives me an opportunity to tell my story and it motivates them. It took me 10 years to obtain a Bachelor's degree. All while working remotely and having 3 kids! When some talk about struggling, I say it’s perseverance. I’m living proof and believe that anyone can move forward and not give up! Life brings obstacles and you find a way to push through.
I grew up with people pushing me to be competitive towards others. Yet I’ve come to realize others' advice isn’t always what’s best for me. What I have learned is that when women support each other, we conquer so much more. At TeamSnap, we can continue to show support for one another through recognizing our strengths, taking them and helping others and applauding successes. When one of us wins, we all win together conquering the bigger purpose to be successful.
Danielle Ouellette, Director of Brand Solutions
My favorite book of all time is Viktor Frankel’s “Man’s Search for Meaning”. A strange opener for Women’s History Month, I know.
Viktor Frankel was a psychiatrist who survived several grueling years in a Nazi concentration camp. He chronicals the many atrocitices the Nazi regime forced upon the Jewish people and how he ultimately found meaning in this hopeless situation. What I find so profound in this book is Frankel’s approach to meaning - in that it is both subjective, and always changing. We get to choose what is meaningful to us in any given period of our lives.
We tend to think of meaning as something we’re good at, or a purpose we’re asked to identify early in life. Meaning is often imposed upon women due to marriage and family expectations. If we are not careful, it can be decided for us - by our work superiors (take the job!), by our friends (get married!) by our families (have kids!) or by society (lose weight, start a side hustle, insert societal expectation here!).
No wonder women are always being asked how they find balance.
Rather than strive for that perfect balance (an unreachable goal we are expected to work towards), we should instead search for the meaning that matters most to us in the current moment of our lives. Is this a time where I throw myself into my career? My friendships? My family? Starting a business? Traveling the world? Which direction will make the effort feel worthwhile?
Our goals and aspirations are unique to each of us and most importantly, will change all the time. I strive to embrace that by slowing down and actually asking myself what is meaningful to me vs. executing what others expect of me.
Jessica Jackson, Senior Manager of Product Design
As many other women, I have several different passions and hobbies. At a very young age, I was told that you will never be a master of one trade if you don’t limit your focus to one. For years, I believed this and intentionally suppressed my passions to draw, paint, design, dance, coach and any other hobby that fed my soul.
I believed it was the societal norm to work a “9 to 5” and that was it. For this, I worked my “9 to 5”, but also designed for small businesses, danced, and cheered in secrecy. I thought surely my colleagues would not take me seriously if they knew I was artistic; granted, this was a point in time where I was strictly titled a “developer” or a “business analyst”.
Sadly, I was mistaken. It wasn’t until I fully embraced all of my passions that doors began to open up, and I became comfortable and content with simply being me. Consequently, I began to meet and be inspired by like-minded women who also love to tap into a myriad of talents while still balancing work and family.
Although I did not become a master of all trades, I did find a great sense of fulfillment…and maybe mastered one and became pretty darn good at the other two. Nonetheless, if you can balance it, do it! Never dim your light; especially if it brings you unimaginable joy. In the words of the late Whitney Houston, “I’m every woman.” And so are you.
Nichelle Evans, Project Manager
Since I started at TeamSnap I have dabbled in many areas. I have found a love of data, of process, of efficiency, of project management, and most recently the PMO process. I think I have finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up.
So how the heck did I get to TeamSnap? Well, 9 years ago I was coaching my daughter's AAU high school basketball team and TeamSnap had a partnership with AAU and so I decided to check it out. My "Ah-ha" moment was availability! Keep in mind at this time I was coaching, running the photography studio, running the non-profit, volunteering on Boards, and raising 3 teenagers - so TeamSnap was a dream come true!
Balancing a career and personal life is not easy for me. It is something I have to work on weekly because I’m passionate about what I do and the role TeamSnap plays in youth sports communities. It is so easy to give time to my career, but I understand the importance of family and personal time. Over the last year, I have challenged myself to make this a priority and I do this by not being afraid to make myself “out of office” and jump on the motorcycle for a ride. Additionally, since we are a remote company, I have found that creating a separate office space has been critical to finding a work-life balance. Being able to “leave” work and go “home” has led to a better balance.
During the period of significant career growth, I was lucky to have mentors that were willing to share their experiences and how they grew in their careers. Words of encouragement from Allison Goodman, Sheila Repeta, Shane Emmons, and Shaina Jordan have helped me not only grow in my career but each encouraged me to take risks that have led to new learning and opportunities.
Along with raising 3 kids and running a photography studio, I also volunteered both in the photography world at the local, state, and national level. Additionally I volunteered in my community as a coach and board member with our local recreation programs/community center.
I was the Executive/Athletic Director for the non-profit and ran it out of my photography studio and had staff for both working side by side for the 7 years up until the last year before I joined TeamSnap. It is where my passion for recreational sports comes from. I had first hand knowledge of not only the importance of sports to a growing community, but the importance of sports to economically challenged families.
So when it comes to sports organizations, I've done it all: registrations on paper with payments in person or by mail, transitioning registration to a custom website with manual placements on teams, manually creating schedules for 30-100 teams in 7 different sports running throughout the year and then eventually migrating to what is now (I think) Sports Engine.
I have found a love of data, of process, of efficiency and project management - so I dabble in all of it while still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.
Alison Teichman, Brand Partnerships Lead
As early as I can remember, [my mother] told me I can do anything I put my mind to. That the sky's the limit, that how you treat people matters, that failure teaches us how to get back up, that you stand up for what you believe in; for what is right. She told me that she will love me and be there for me no matter what.
After all, when women feel heard, supported, invested in, comfortable to speak up and able to lead, we can do anything we can put our minds to.
There are such simple things we can do everyday; by showing up with kindness, compassion, and empathy. It’s about being aware of our gender biases, paying attention to the words we say, opening our hearts and minds to change, and lifting each other up whenever possible. You never know how meaningful a “job well done” sentiment will go or who needs to hear about how proud you are of their work.
Heidi Misch, Sales Operations Systems Specialist
As a mother of three teens,I have become passionate about building confidence in girls through sports and fitness! As a collegiate soccer and rugby player, a Gaelic football player, a girls soccer coach, a high school rugby board member, and an avid jogger, hiker, kayaker and skier/snowboarder, I have seen first-hand how sports and fitness can give all people focus, purpose and intention. Sports are so great for both our physical and mental health. We all need to find time to get out there and play!
Women's history month is a great time to learn about (and try to emulate!) the world’s incredible female philanthropists, athletes, teachers, authors and spiritual/thought leaders. To name a few of my faves: Maya Angelou, Melinda Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Lisa Genova, Elizabeth Gilbert, Brene Brown, Glennon Doyle, Abby Wambach, Mia Hamm, Marie Curie, Pema Chodron and then some of the female Saints (like Mother Mary, St Elizabeth, Mother Teresa and my newest favorite, Saint Marie - the Patron Saint of laughter!). And that’s just scratching the surface of the many women of infamy!
There are also those women I admire that are not quite as famous. Even without the high-level fame, they all have their own amazing stories of growing up, surviving and thriving. I personally admire my mother (a native German), my grandmother (a German during WWII), my late mother-in-law (practically a Saint) and then my dearest “besties” who inspire my thinking, lift me up, ground me, as well as help heal my heart and soul in a way that no doctor or therapist ever could.
To echo what Anissa, Kate, and some other inspiring TeamSnappers said this month, it’s so important that all of us (but, especially women) are true to ourselves. We all need to do more of what makes us happy and believe in ourselves and lift up one another. As Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle and other great spiritual leaders say, We can do so much more if we focus our incredible energy on now. Forget about what was said or done yesterday (since that’s history), don’t stress about tomorrow (since that is still a mystery).. But put your all into it and try to appreciate everything about today/now… since it truly is a gift - that’s why they call it ‘the present’.”
And with that we will not only climb but move mountains!
Did you know that 52% of all TeamSnappers identify as female? We’re really proud of exceeding that industry benchmark, and it hasn’t happened by accident. It’s been through ongoing efforts to break down barriers and reduce biases for women here at TeamSnap.
While we’ve been doing good work, we know there is plenty of room to improve and we’re committed to that. A big part of this work comes from our Women@ Employee Resource Group (ERG). Nearing it’s two year anniversary, this group of identifying members and allies have worked hard to improve our workplace. This work includes:
But that’s just the beginning. We’re excited to make sure celebrating our women doesn’t just focus on March. We’ve got more work to do and more events coming. Some things to look forward to:
We encourage you to take some time to recognize and reflect on some of the impactful ways women have helped to shape technology, sports and the world. Have questions about our other Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)? Contact our People Experience Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.