Patty Wasylchuk, is the Director of Data and Analytics at Stanley Black & Decker and has over 30 years of experience in the tech industry. Like a lot of the women we have spoken to, her career didn't start out in tech. While taking college night courses her employer at the time needed someone to help support the new PCs showing up in the workplace. Patty adjusted her night courses to focus on PC operating systems, networking, database administration, and other tech-related topics. She believes she was in the right place, at the right time, with the right attitude.
Patty's drive and success are a true inspiration for young women looking to make their mark in the industry. She hopes the younger generation of women are aware that there is a lot more to technology than servers, networks, and coding! Technology needs User Interface Designers, Business Analysts, Process Designers, Project Managers, System Architects, and talent with people skills. She believes all technology supports a business and all business involves people.
The best professional advice Patty can give for those starting out is to take ownership of their professional future and to understand that you have to try on a few different experiences to find what you love. "I've tried PC Support, Project Management, ERP Implementation, IT Management, E-commerce, Customer Support, and now Data & Analytics. I've loved aspects of them all, but my thirst for trying new things, and lifelong learning have given me the confidence to keep saying 'YES' to opportunities -even if I was scared I wasn't ready. When a leader you trust says you should consider an opportunity, know that you are ready 'enough' and you should get ready for your next adventure!"
Although technology is still very much a "man's world" it is slowly changing and Patty says she has been lucky to have had some great male teammates over her career. The best ones saw that some of her unique strengths were their areas needing improvement and together they made a successful team! Patty never felt she had to work harder than her male colleagues but she does believe her strong work ethic is what helped to support her career growth.
"Employers are making progress supporting female workers and leaders, but there is more work to be done. Equality isn't always making it the 'same' for different genders, it's about making it fair. As an example: Both men and women have access to parental leave. But what if a company made it more socially acceptable and actually encouraged more men to take parental leave. The exposure to gaps in work experience associated with parental leave would be a bit more balanced among genders."
We asked Patty what was the best professional advice she had ever received and she believes scheduling your work around your life is key! "It was REALLY important to me to be present for my kid's Christmas concerts, soccer games, and gymnastics events. I wanted them to see me in the crowd and know I was their biggest fan. So I worked very hard to schedule travel and after-hours events so it was rare to miss an event instead of it being rare to make an event."
The second piece of advice she has is to just go for it! "Women are typically more likely to wait until they feel ready for the next level opportunity than men. If a leader you trust says " You can do this", take the leap of faith and go for it. It will absolutely be uncomfortable for a while, but growth is never comfortable."
Patty's motivation tips are to always do your best! She knows that she has not always been successful with her first attempts at various challenges, but has learned from them and the subsequent tries always went better. Kindness is another big motivator. "I've been a young single Mom struggling to balance a budget, I've been the 20 something with not a lot of experience, but a lot of ambition, I've been a cashier and a gas station attendant. I am the same person now as I was then, without a fancy title, but no matter where we are in life, we can make sure the people we interact with feel heard and seen, and are treated with kindness."
Join us on March 31st for our Women in Tech webinar. We will be joined by more inspirational women like Patty who discuss their challenges and achievements and answer any questions you may have!