But perhaps more inspiring than all of that is the integral role that women have had on the success and leadership of the company. Leading our success at Bronto is General Manager Carolyn Sparano.
In honor of International Women’s Day, Sparano was invited to be a panelist at the city of Durham’s “Durham Women Take No Bull” event, a gathering of influential women that have helped transform the city’s standing from an old railroad and tobacco district to a thriving research and technology hotspot.
With over 200 women in attendance, the event involved two panels: One of seasoned women in leadership roles and another of up-and-comers. Both panels focused on inspiring and motivating women to be more confident in the workplace.
“It was a special day, and it was all about bringing women together and helping them be and feel more confident,” she said.
Research studies have documented the confidence gap – men report higher self-esteem than women. That can be even more pronounced for women in male-dominated fields, like technology. Women are often reluctant to speak out and they face some very real and very difficult challenges.
“For Bronto as a company, we are challenged to hire women in technology and help them become strong contributors and leaders,” she said.
But its’s not just about finding more women to fill our ranks – it’s about helping them thrive in their careers while juggling the demands of raising a family and growing professionally. And that help, as she explains, needs to come from the top down.
That shared experience is also one of the reasons why Sparano is so passionate about empowering her female peers, and why she continues to support and take part in events like Durham Women Take No Bull, which is focused on helping women become strong leaders.
“I really enjoy being around women leaders and mentoring women, and so to have an opportunity to be on the panel of some highly accomplished women – and to have a voice amongst those women and to help guide young women who are trying to figure out their careers – is very moving for me.”
Another International Women’s Day has come and gone but it’s important to remember that the march toward gender equality need not be a solitary one. Men must also do their part and recognize that they too have a role to play.
“We need men to take a role in helping women overcome some inherent challenges,” Sparano says. “It’s important to recognize that there are times when you need to encourage your peers that are women, who may be the only woman in the room, by simply asking their opinion and by drawing them into the conversation.”
So, what advice does she have for women that want to feel more empowered in the workplace and overcome their fears?
“Take your seat at the front of the table. Never sit in the back row. You have the right to voice your thoughts just as much as anyone else in the room,” she says. “Share your ideas with confidence!”