I come from a family of engineers in Colombia. My father was a civil engineer. Two of my siblings and I are engineers. I knew that I was going to go into engineering, because I liked science. I was always curious about how things work, why things work. My engineering background has allowed me to help build products. But engineering is much broader than that. As an engineer, I have been able to move from something quite technical, developing hydrologic simulation models for reservoir operations, to a business-focused role leading product management at Intapp, a software provider to the legal, accounting and financial industries. Combining technology and business is a something engineers are uniquely able to do.
I am concerned that fewer women are currently going into engineering, probably because of extreme stereotypes. For example, in computer science, girls may believe that being a computer scientist means you are spending 24 hours a day in front of a computer or playing video games all of the time. But that’s not the reality. If you study computer science, you can move into product management, business, whatever you want. I don’t think girls see it that way. The more that these stereotypes are in mainstream media, like movies, the more girls are going to look for other things to do.
I believe that women can play a significant role in technology. In addition to my work at Intapp, I am a board member for a nonprofit called Leading Women in Technology. This organization offers a program to help women move forward in their careers. It’s geared toward women who have been in the workforce for a bit, but now they feel like they need help moving their careers forward, especially in technology, which is a male-dominated environment.