Women hold just one-quarter of technology and IT jobs and just 5 percent of leadership positions in the tech sector. In fact, the number of women in tech jobs dropped 11 percent between 1991 and 2018.
Yet studies show businesses are more profitable when women are represented in top leadership positions. Among the reasons women are underrepresented in technology include a lack of mentors and female role models in the field.
In Utah, Comcast is altering this reality with our recruiting initiatives to grow and support our female employees – at every level of our company.
As Comcast continues to enhance our powerful Gig network to meet Utah’s growing demand, we have invested over $702 million in Utah technology and infrastructure and are focused on building a diverse and inclusive workforce.
THREE DECADES LEADING TECHNOLOGY AND BROADBAND INNOVATION
Carolyn Terry is Senior Director of Engineering for the Comcast West Division. She has 30+ years of experience in telecommunications and broadband industry. While she’s built many things over the years – including the infrastructure for digital video and Gig-speed broadband – Carolyn is most proud of the teams she’s created and the professionals she has helped to grow.
When Carolyn started as a technician in 1986, she quickly felt like part of the Comcast family. But she remembers feeling like she stood out from the other installers in one regard.
“It was totally male — there were no women in the field at all.”
She took this distinction as a challenge, volunteering for the toughest jobs to prove she could handle them. (Growing up with three older brothers fed her competitive spirit.)
Even then, more than three decades ago, Carolyn saw the future possibilities of technology innovation, and the promise of connecting more people with each other and their communities.
She had a vision for building a different kind of network – one which was the envy of the world and included more female technologists, engineers, designers and executives working and leading in the telecommunications and technology industry.
Thanks to the vision, innovation, and involvement of role models like Carolyn, today many other women are succeeding in engineering and technology positions at Comcast.
EARNING RESPECT AND FOSTERING ACCOUNTABILITY
One of those women is Michelle Hathenbruck, of Riverton, Technical Operations Supervisor for Comcast Utah. She started her career with Comcast 13 years ago, working her way up from a technician.
Today, Michelle supervises a team of eight – all men – based out of Park City.
Asked why there aren’t more women in her area of the company, Michelle observes, “People think of the tech guy — not the tech girl – and that creates a stigma.”
When Michelle took the supervisor reins seven years ago, she admits she felt a bit intimidated to be supervising a team of men, some of whom had been at the company longer than she had. But the feeling didn’t last long.
“Gaining respect was the first step. There are different ways to do that, but for me, it was about working alongside my team, showing them that I know what I am doing, and helping them grow in their career.”
Today, Michelle laughs that the guys on her team would refer to her as “mom”. “It’s because I check up on them, I want to make sure they are doing OK, but I always hold them accountable.”
When she isn’t working, Michelle and her partner of 16 years spend time watching their 14-year-old son play football, exploring our beautiful state, and scuba diving in exotic locations.
Comcast believes that a diverse and inclusive company is a more effective company. That’s why we’re proud to honor our female employees — leaders at every level — who make our company stronger.
This month, as a nod to Women’s History Month, we invite you to do the same.