Every year, March is designated as Women’s History Month. This month is an important opportunity to spotlight extraordinary women who are making significant contributions, but importantly, it’s a great opportunity to celebrate women who are shaping the technology industry.
Women have played a vital role in shaping the tech industry, and more specifically, the field of computer science and information technology (IT). When looking at some of the achievements that have changed the trajectory of the IT industry, women were behind the inventions. From Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer and the creator of the first computer program, to Grace Hopper a pioneer in computer programming who invented computing methods and devices.
To celebrate this month and the women who make an impact in the technology industry, Ursula Mamazza, a Cisco Collaboration Solutions Architect in Tech Data, discussed her journey into the industry and the importance of keeping girls and young women interested in STEM.
Developing Passion Through Learning About Tech
Ursula started her journey into the tech industry at the University of South Florida (USF). Initially, Ursula was in the business program and was pursuing a degree in accounting. Her father was an accountant, and Ursula was good with numbers so accounting seemed like a natural career fit.
“While in my program, my fellow students told me about a new degree program being offered -management information systems. This piqued my interest, and I was able to take some classes as electives for my accounting degree,” said Ursula. “That’s how I started to get into the tech field, and the more I learned about it, the more excited I became.”
After Ursula began to get more interested and ingrained in the management information systems classes, she switched her degree and graduated from USF with a bachelor’s in management information systems.
The First Step into the Professional World of Technology
Ursula credits her experience and technology acumen to joining the Tech Data team back in 1999.
As a Cisco Collaboration Solutions Architect, Ursula works directly with partners, helping them bring Cisco Collaboration solutions to consumers. As part of that, she consults partners on the sales lifecycle and helps them define their sales strategies.
Along with consulting, Ursula assists partners with the technical side of Cisco Collaboration Solutions.
“I enable partners with all the new and existing Cisco Collaboration Solutions. That includes WebEx as well as the workloads within the collaboration solutions,” stated Ursula. “Along with enablement, on the technical side, I work with Collaboration system engineers, where I served as their technical escalation point of contact.”
The Power of Mentorship and The Next Generation of Women in Tech
Mentoring can bring purpose and satisfaction to the mentor and mentee alike. Ursula recognizes the importance of mentorship and credits a lot of her growth in the field to great mentors, starting from the time she joined Tech Data.
“I’ve had mentors that have helped me in my journey through the tech industry. They have also helped me become a better mentor to my mentees,” said Ursula.
Ursula believes that building the mentor/mentee relationship is an important foundational step to help develop a comfort level, as well as maintaining normal meetings and creating a space that is open for the mentee to ask questions to gain insight and help.
Along with mentorship, Ursula believes that giving back through volunteering is another great opportunity to encourage girls and young women to explore the tech industry.
“I volunteered with the Girl Scouts where I participated in workshops with the troops where I talked about my career,” stated Ursula. “We would conduct technology projects and explain that technology isn’t scary and it isn’t just for boys. The technology industry is for girls, too.”
According to data presented by ISE Magazine, only 3% of woman see tech as a first choice when it comes to career selection. Contrast this to 15% of men—that is a factor of five difference. Ursula believes that getting girls and young women interested in technology is important for the future of the industry.
Ursula shared some great advice for those interested in pursuing a career in technology. She advises, “Always keep learning. Explore the ins and outs of the tech field and stay on top of trends. Knowledge is power and the more you know in your specialization, the better you will be. Don’t be intimidated, get educated and dive in.”
If you are interested in connecting with Ursula to learn more about how she can help you adopt Cisco Collaboration Solutions so you connect with people and utilize technology to enable consistent meeting experiences across applications and devices, please visit Cisco Manufacturer Store (techdata.com).
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