Proof is in The Bright Passion
Laura McCann Ramsey Provides Four Lessons That Ignite Passion Toward Technology + More
Women are a classic symbol of aesthetic power; an undeniable force in the arts. But what about technology? In the US in 2009, women only made up 18 percent of computer and information science degrees despite having an equal, if not slightly higher presence in most other science majors. This has increased from 2010 – 2012 by 10 percent. Meanwhile, the quit rates are also larger than in other fields, as 56 percent of females in technology companies end up leaving around 10 – 20 years into their careers. What’s going on? Do we not have enough role models? Do we not have the proper education? Do we simply lack the interest of our male counterparts?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) IT Fields are expected to grow by 22 percent as of 2020. Not only is technology growing in our job market, but it’s a lucrative field where women can thrive when given the right motivation. If you don’t believe me, meet Laura McCann Ramsey, Associate Partner at The Parker Avery Group, S.V.P Product Management at Stylesight, and CEO at Zweave.
Ramsey grew up in Paris as a child actress and went on to receive a degree in Fashion Design from Parsons. She never let her success as a beautiful woman in touch with the arts prevent her from pursuing IT, and integrating it into her professional world. In fact, she never looked at her interests as a defensive from reaching her goals: “I had a business problem I really wanted to solve; I really wanted to make my company more efficient and I realized if I used this [technology] I could make my company big,” says Ramsey.
What lessons does Ramsey have for PINK readers?
Lesson No. 1: Take Risks!
“I started my first business when I was 28 in 1992 and I had been a designer up until then. Like any business, I didn’t know if it would work. I didn’t have an in-depth business plan, just a partner, and we were able to turn our risk into something very successful; we made $40 million in about seven years.”
Lesson No. 2: In order to keep the money flowing, take risks that align with your passions.
“Along the way when we were building out our software business, we answered a solicitation from the Department of Defense; they were looking for a company to research a specific problem they were having. They wanted to know how to use software to manage 3D data to make uniforms for the military. We provided the solution: Use our software. We won the account over 13 other companies. And, this led to eight other contracts, over $3 million in government contracts. We were doing something for our government defense yet with a fashion industry mindset. One day I was matching pocketbooks and shoes, and the next day I was working on jet fighter equipment.”
Lesson 3: It’s not hard; it’s just work. Be fearless!
“Once you know what is needed, the work is not very complicated. For me, technology is like any product. First, you have to decide what you want and figure out if the market needs it or wants it. Second, go out and make it. Third, test if it works, and then if it works… share it with everyone else. Coming from the fashion design world, where everyone sees it and wears it; this mentality is very transferable toward technology and other industries.”
Lesson 4: Whatever you do, take time to focus on improving yourself.
“If you do not work on yourself the [business] results you want to achieve might not be there. You have to pay people and you have to meet your numbers, but most of all, you have to work on your own confidence and leadership. If you mess up with all of your ‘I’m not good enough, my Daddy didn’t love me, I’m not beautiful enough,’ this means you’re afraid, which also means you have room to work on this. You have to make the conscious decision you will not be afraid and you are valuable. Choose to work with people who see you as a whole person, and choose high-performance habits to achieve significant change.”
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