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accesso Breaking Boundaries Spotlight Series: Faina Wellman

At accesso, we take immense pride in the exceptional talent and diversity of our team, particularly the remarkable women who contribute to our success. The Women of accesso are not only fiercely skilled professionals but also catalysts for innovation, each bringing a wealth of experience that propels our company forward. Yet, their path in the tech industry hasn't always been smooth. Concluding our tribute to Women’s History Month, we're honored to present Faina Wellman, an esteemed VP of Engineering at accesso. Faina's remarkable leadership is a source of inspiration for many - join us as she shares insights about her route to success and offers invaluable advice to those venturing on similar paths.

Can you share with us your journey into the tech industry? What initially sparked your interest in technology?

My journey into the tech industry was very serendipitous, a delightful twist of fate really.

Out of college, I was initially drawn towards actuarial science. Little did I know, that a year into my first job out of college, I would find myself embarking on a different path entirely by a mere stroke of chance. Engaged in a project for my organization, I was tasked with implementing a software program to calculate risk pricing for auto drivers. At this moment, I discovered the allure of software and the prospect of crafting solutions to tackle organizational challenges. The resonance was immediate, and before I knew it, I was recruited by a consulting firm where I was entranced by the boundless potential of technology to innovate and solve real-world problems for various customers and industries. What began as a detour swiftly evolved into a passionate pursuit, shaping my trajectory within the tech industry!

What challenges did you face as a woman entering the tech field, and how did you overcome them?

One of the primary obstacles was the pervasive gender imbalance within our industry, which often led to feelings of being underestimated or overlooked. In a previous role, I remember feeling pressure to stay connected to work even while on maternity leave. My boss at the time believed that taking calls would be a “welcomed distraction”.

So the moment I became a mother, I knew I needed to be louder and firmer in my opinions on how women ought to be treated in a work setting. Having two daughters is certainly a huge motivator for me, as I strive to promote what a ‘good’ working mother, and woman in tech lifestyle can look like.

Something that’s helped me, is building a strong professional network of mentors. Many still advise me, and for some, the roles have flipped and now I’m their sounding board!

Outside of a professional network, I constantly sought out opportunities for skill development and leadership roles where I could assert my capabilities and challenge any preconceived notions about gender and competence. Ultimately, perseverance, self-advocacy, and the support of a strong support system helped me to navigate the tech industry despite the barriers women still face today.

What advice would you give to other women who aspire to pursue a career in technology?

1) Learning needs to be your superpower - Technology trends are constantly changing, evolving, making it very easy to become dated. Stay curious, embrace new technologies, tools and methodologies, and continue to invest in your skills and knowledge.

2) Risk-taking is a good thing - Be willing to step out of your comfort zone and take on something unfamiliar. Don't let fear of failure hold you back.

3) Be assertive! - Don't hesitate to speak up for your ideas, accomplishments, and career goals. Advocate for fairness in opportunities and recognition no matter the gender.

As we celebrate Women's History Month, what do you hope to see in terms of progress and advancements for women in the tech industry in the future?

As we honor Women's History Month, my aspirations for the future of women in the tech industry are deeply intertwined with the world I envision for my two daughters.

Firstly, I envision a landscape where women are not only encouraged but actively supported in pursuing careers in technology from an early age. This is so important in helping to foster a pipeline of diverse talent.

Secondly, I aspire to see greater representation of women in leadership positions within tech companies, ensuring that diverse voices influence decision-making and drive innovation.

Lastly, I hope to see a culture of inclusivity and support in the tech industry, where women are valued for their contributions, ideas, and expertise. This includes initiatives to address gender pay gaps, promote equal opportunities for career advancement, and foster environments where women feel empowered to thrive and succeed.

Ultimately, I hope to see a tech industry that reflects the diversity of our society, where women are not only present but truly celebrated for their contributions to innovation and progress. With that said, a lot of this I see here at accesso already! However, much of the industry is still very much behind.

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