The theme of this year's International Women's Day is “Be Bold For Change”. It's a message intended to push people toward concrete action on gender equality. Here are the career stories of five SmartSimple women.
Dr. Teresa Clarke
Director of Research Solutions
As Director of Research Solutions, I work with some incredible women in research funding organizations from around the world. From an early stage, I made clear choices to follow a career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics). Having graduated in Biochemistry, I completed a PhD in structural biology, followed by an post-doctoral position in a leading pharma firm. You can’t know that you will have a successful career among the twists and turns, but if you set goals and remain flexible to take advantage of every opportunity, it will work out. Doing just that is probably what led to my promotion to the post of Senior Scientist, followed by a leadership role as Director of Research Programs. As a client of SmartSimple, I became something of a ‘superuser’ and when the opportunity arose to join the SmartSimple team, I decided it was time to explore new possibilities.
In North America, there are many efforts to increase the number of women in STEM. This has resulted in good progress in establishing gender equality in STEM careers and an overall more positive culture shift. Although often the only woman in the room, rarely have I encountered barriers in my career. Not everyone has had the same positive experience, so continued education and change for gender balance and inclusivity is necessary.
Bilingual Technical Community Support
Technology colors every industry sector, which is why I made the decision to study Computer Science in college. At SmartSimple, I’m privileged to enjoy work and learn new things every day alongside many other talented women. The tech sector is constantly evolving and requires new knowledge, which encourages me to keep on developing my skills. With the support of others, I’m excited not only to build networks with the clients I support, but also increase my technical expertise. That support will be crucial to elevating my career in the long-term.
Director of Community Support
When I moved to Canada over 10 years ago, I aspired to apply my skills in a client-facing role. From early on, I was clear about my career ambitions, while remaining committed to my first priority – being a mum to my two beautiful children. I started out by working my way up in a Support Services Center, and later joined SmartSimple as Support & Training Specialist. In 2016, I was promoted to Director for Community Support and today, I manage a team of 12 and oversee our support offering to our 250+ clients globally. As women rise through the ranks, it’s important to be supportive of one another – not just cheering the accomplishments, but having the courage to offer constructive feedback so everyone rises together. As we make life decisions as women, we may learn that some of those decisions were wrong, but learning from mistakes allows us to become stronger and more resilient.
Product Business Analyst
I made the move to Toronto back in 2014, having worked in the finance and game design industry in Ireland, when there were times I was made aware of my gender. From starting out in implementation at SmartSimple, I recently made a lateral move into the product team and am fortunate to have benefitted from great learning opportunities and the support of mentors. On a world scale, you don’t have to look far to see there’s a lot more progress needed to achieve true gender equality, particularly in education and self-selection.
Senior Business Analyst
When I consider my career with SmartSimple, the word that comes to mind is “diverse”. I first joined SmartSimple as a Java Developer and later made a lateral move to the post of Business Analyst. A graduate in engineering, I began my career as a Software Engineer and went on to complete an MBA. I’ve always had my sights set on a career in tech, and thrive on the challenge of thinking analytically, logically and taking design solutions into considerations. I consider myself fortunate to be living in an age and a country that offers women the opportunity to work in any industry we choose and celebrates our endeavors.