Following the Lead of Women Pioneers in Technology
International Women’s Day is the perfect time to reflect on the contributions women have made in what are often considered to be male-dominated industries. Our industry, focused as it is on data science, analytics, and other technical subjects, certainly falls into that category.
That perception is something organizations like our partner, Women Who Code, are doing amazing work to change. We’re proud to work together with Women Who Code and are firm supporters of their mission to “inspire women to excel in technology careers.”
Part of that partnership recently involved Tish Looper, TigerGraph’s VP of Customer Success, being interviewed by Women Who Code for an upcoming episode of their Women Who Code Podcast. I had the chance to talk to Tish about the interview, which should be released in the next few weeks, our partnership with Women Who Code, and the importance of International Women’s Day for TigerGraph and other technology organizations.
Following the Path of Pioneers
I don’t want to give away too much of what Tish covered in the interview, which focuses on her career and how she came to be in her current leadership position at TigerGraph, but her passion for technology and the influential women who paved the way has to be mentioned.
Tish specifically called out two historical figures in technology as influences – Grace Murray Hopper and Katherine Johnson.
“It’s thrilling and exciting to be carrying on the tradition of women who’ve come before,” she said, acknowledging that they persevered to overcome obstacles that seemed insurmountable at the time. By doing so, they each revolutionized technology in ways that have influenced the world we live in today.
“If these pioneering women can excel in their times and the challenges they faced,” Tish said, “there’s no reason we can’t succeed today. There will always be challenges; it’s how we face them and what we do that counts.”
One lesson that holds especially true for TigerGraph, as we aim to make connecting data and finding meaningful insights more user friendly, comes from Grace Hopper’s desire to live until January 1, 2000, a desire that unfortunately went unfulfilled.
“She often said she wanted to live until January 1, 2000, in order to see the unexpected advances computers had made by then — and laugh at the unbelievers. ‘I think we consistently continually [sic] underestimate what we can do with computers if we really try,’ she said in 1980. This confidence that computers would become increasingly ubiquitous was a driving force behind her efforts to make them more user-friendly.”
“I think, had graph databases been a reality during her lifetime, she would have been fascinated by them and done amazing things with them,” Tish said.
Diversity in the Corporate DNA
Tish’s recent promotion to the leadership team at TigerGraph as VP of Customer Success is the culmination of a notable journey in its own right.
“I love showing the value of the technology to our customers,” she said, “but there have been times in my career where my gender was a barrier to being recognized for my expertise. I’m so grateful now to be in a position to help break those barriers down for other women who may encounter them.”
International Women’s Day and Women Who Code also play important roles in removing those barriers, but the responsibility ultimately lies with companies’ leadership teams to eliminate them completely.
“Creating a diverse work environment comes from the leadership team and really needs to be part of the corporate DNA,” Tish observed. “Our leadership team demonstrates they believe this as well, shown by our partnership with Women Who Code, the women-only team award in our Million Dollar Challenge, and recognition for the brilliant women who make daily contributions throughout our organization.”
Look for Tish’s interview with the Women Who Code Podcast to drop within the next few weeks and be sure to check out their other episodes featuring women in technology roles across many industries. If you’re looking for a more immediate example of our partnership with Women Who Code, we are co-hosting a two-part webinar series, titled Shopping with Graphs! – Learn Rising Graph Database Technology for Full-Stack Flutter Application. Part 1 runs March 8 at 4pm PST, followed by part 2 on March 10, also at 4pm PST.