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In this series, we celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day theme of #BalanceForBetter by interviewing the women of TextNow and learning more about their experience working in the tech industry.

It seems like such a simple concept, but one that is not always top of mind for companies: to have a superior product or service, you need a diverse workforce. In the first post of this series, we’ve highlighted the gender imbalances that still prevail in the tech industry. To celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day theme of #BalanceForBetter, we’ve gathered women from different disciplines at TextNow to talk about their work experiences, both past and present.

Continuing that celebration, today we are looking at two talented women from our People & Culture team, who have helped build the crucial support system that has led to so many of our employees’ successes, both personal and professional.

First up is Valentina Sutton, our Culture Coordinator:

Strengthening workplace culture one day at a time!

1. What was your first professional job? Which field/industry was it in?
Retention and De-Escalation Specialist for a [different] telecommunications company.

2. Was it difficult to find a job in that field? How many companies did you interview with before landing it?
No, it’s a high turnover industry with very demanding quotas, they are always looking for new people. I only interviewed with the one company.

3. If the field that you started out in is different than your current field, what made you change? Other than the free food, wine bar and massages, of course.
I didn’t enjoy the company culture, it was a very high pressure work environment with very demanding KPIs. It was extremely corporate, there was a very clear division between various departments and no opportunity for growth or development.

4. In your experience, what has been the biggest difference between men and women in the workplace? Do you think these are specific to your field, or widespread?
The biggest difference for me is that women are underrepresented. Our workplace is 79% men. I think this is an issue that is related to certain industries — we should continue to encourage women in tech to create a more diverse workforce.

5. What support system, if any, do you have that helps you succeed in your role?
There are a lot of powerful women I get to work with daily — majority of our directors are actually women! Talking to them and understanding how they came to be in their role, discussing various challenges they’ve faced and how they’ve overcome them.

6. What advice would you give to a new female graduate today looking for a job in this field?
Be open to opportunities. Sometimes it may not be the exact role you desired or envisioned yourself in, but in this industry there is room to create your own.

7. Lastly, for fun, if you could have any group of women (real or fictional) come out for an International Women’s Day brunch with you, who would you choose?
Cleopatra, Oprah Winfrey, Frida Khalo, and Lady Gaga.

Next up, we have our Director of Recruitment, Elly Bradley:

p.s. she’s the one you should talk to about our available positions

1.What was your first professional job? Which field/industry was it in?
McDonalds — food industry (“would you like to upsize your fries?” 🙂). My first professional job was at Sunlife. It was so long ago I can’t even remember my exact title but it was something like Financial Systems Analyst.

2. Was it difficult to find a job in that field? How many companies did you interview with before landing it?
This was not a field I intended on getting into. My initial career path was going to be a high school teacher. I am very fortunate in that every job I have ever had has been through my network.

3. If the field that you started out in is different than your current field, what made you change? Other than the free food, wine bar and massages, of course.
I switched to HR around 2001 as everyone said I was a “people person” and should give it a try. HR was something I stereotypically “fell” into.

4. In your experience, what has been the biggest difference between men and women in the workplace? Do you think these are specific to your field, or widespread?
There are traditionally more women in HR than men but that is starting to change. The biggest difference for me isn’t field dependent. I have always felt that assertive behaviour is perceived differently for men and women. For men, it is acceptable, even praised. For women, we are sometimes perceived as being bitchy or aggressive. It can be deemed powerful for men but negative for women. I do believe this is different at TextNow than at other companies I have worked at. I feel I can be true to myself here. I have a voice at TextNow and I believe my peers appreciate what I have to say.

5. What support system (if any) do you have that helps you succeed in your role?
I go back to my network here, both internal to TextNow and external. My network is who I rely on for information, support, advice and sometimes a new job 😀

6. What advice would you give to a new female graduate today looking for a job in this field?
Stay true to yourself, ask for help when you need it, assume positive intent and speak your truth.

7. Lastly, for fun, if you could have any group of women (real or fictional) come out for an International Women’s Day brunch with you, who would you choose?
The women from Book Club or The Women.


We hope you feel encouraged to join the team here at TextNow! Check out our most recent openings 👈

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