Our “Women in Tech” blog series places the spotlight on female employees in tech jobs who tell us about why they decided to start a career in software engineering, what they do at DocuSign, who their role models are and more. At DocuSign, we believe in the next generation of female leaders in technology and want to help them get on the right career trajectory. This week we sat down with Laura in Program Management based in San Francisco to learn more about her career.
What is your current role at DocuSign and what do you actually do day-to-day in that role?
I manage a small team of Program Managers and determine their project load. I also manage the Product Development Planning process and cycle across the Prod Dev organisation. My favourite part of my job is program managing a major program that spans the entire organisation. Currently I am only managing one large program that consists of 4 projects across 3 sites. It is so much fun.
What did your kids or friends and family think you do?
My kids think I sit at my desk, type loudly, go to lots of meetings and mostly boss people around like I do at home.
When did you choose to work in technology and why?
I accidentally fell into technology while I was going to school to earn my teaching credential. I was asked to use my writing skills to document a new software application, and it paid for my education. At that company, I was introduced to a whole new world of creative people, ways of thinking, and endless possibilities. After 3 months of teaching, I missed software and tech so I gave it up and that company hired me full time. I have never looked back.
What excites you most about working at DocuSign and why?
I love the people and the challenges we face to meet customer needs, compliance requirements, and complex use cases. At other companies, if you see a process that needs improving or an issue that can be fixed, you need to take it up the chain and maybe there will be change. At DocuSign, we are all empowered to be part of innovation and change. It’s expected and rewarded.
As a woman in tech, do you have any role models in technology that you look up to? Who are they and why do you look up to them?
As I get older, my expectation in role models has evolved. Early in my career, I idolised leaders who were hard-driving and intimidating. I loved to look up to the “smartest person in the room” and wanted to be like that person. As I gained experience, I realised the real people I wanted to emulate were those who cultivate collaboration and share ideas. I wanted to be around people who brought people smarter than they into the room to make magic happen. To that end, I have three role models that — when I have a challenge — I stop and think, “what would they do?” My role models aren’t famous, but they have shaped me, and I am forever thankful: Rick Mascitti, Denise Park, and Minette Norman. They have taught me that you are only as strong as your weakest team member so hire everyone smarter than you. They have taught me to look for talents more than just good technical skills. They have taught me that your background should never stop you from reaching your dreams of running technical teams.
What advice would you give women who might be considering a career in technology?
It takes all types of skills and interests to make technology companies tick. As mentioned earlier, I fell into technology. I have degrees in Sociology, History, and Spanish. Working in this industry was never even a fleeting thought in my mind. So, I would say if your concern is that you didn’t major in CS, EE, or math, do not let that stop you. I have learned more on the job than I ever would have in college. Finally, I would say whether you are female, male, non-binary, go into tech or any other field unapologetically as you are. We all have amazing talents to offer companies. Find your passion and sell that to the company. The company that buys that is the company you want to work for!