The second Tuesday of October is Ada Lovelace day, a day meant to celebrate and raise awareness of the contribution of women in STEM fields. Ada Lovelace was a mathematician known for her pioneering work on Charles Babbage’s “analytical engine” where she was the first to recognize its capabilities beyond simply calculating number. In essence, she anticipated the potential of modern computing a century before it could be realized.
Today, Sevco is celebrating Ada Lovelace Day by interviewing one of our own, Jesse Törzs. Jesse is a Product Manager who works closely with Engineering, Sales, and Customer Success teams to dive into customer needs and deliver new functionalities in Sevco’s products to address those (in fact, we’ll be excited to announce a new release from her soon!). So we’re excited to learn more about Jesse’s journey into Product Management and the advice she has.
What led you to a career in engineering?
It sort of just happened. I’ve been working since I was 13 and growing up I had tons of different jobs – waitressing, bartending, working in a library, camp counselor, gardener, grocery store bagger, etc. I never knew specifically what I wanted to do for a career, I just always knew I wanted to work hard. Despite coming from an academic family, I was never big on school – I always preferred working a job over school.
I went to a liberal arts college and after graduating, I worked at a financial software services firm doing support for post-trade, pre-processing technology systems. Security was a large part of my job and I routinely had my fingerprints taken to even be able to support the product. This kicked off my interest in information security and the rest is history.
What advice do you have for other women who are interested in entering a STEM field?
My advice is to seek out female mentors. You need people who understand what it’s like working as a woman in a male-dominated field and you need people who you feel comfortable confiding in. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the guidance and mentorship of women in the industry, and without the safety of my female peers.
The other piece of advice I have is to give yourself a break and don’t be so hard on yourself. You will always be learning. Imposter syndrome can flourish when you’re consistently the only woman in the room, or on a call, or giving a presentation. Recognize that you’re doing the thing and you’re one of a kind. Affirm yourself.
Regardless of your gender or gender identity, we are living in a society where femininity is not valued as much as masculinity, and every human has feminine and masculine qualities. Resist the idea that qualities we often associate with femininity – emotional intelligence, softness, openness, active listening, intuition, communication, etc – are less valuable in the workplace. They’re not! You can demonstrate this for your male colleagues who might actually have a more difficult time embracing their feminine sides.
What has been the biggest highlight of your career?
It’s difficult to point to one thing as the highlight of my career. The overall highlight has been consistently working with wonderful people who I like and admire; I’ve been extremely fortunate in that way. I think I could do most any job as long as I like the people I work with.