Written by Stacey Miller, Co-Chair of the Open Mainframe Project Marketing Committee and Global Product Marketing Manager at SUSE
March is Women’s History Month, so we invited Open Mainframe Project community leaders and contributors to share their personal stories. Today, Stacey Miller C0-Chair of the Open Mainframe Project Marketing and Global Product Marketing Manager at SUSE, shares how not having volleyball skills ultimately pushed her into a career path she loved and women she really admires.
Growing up I always knew I was going to college. There was never a question. So, I studied hard and received a scholarship to Arizona State University. Of course, then the question was: What should I study? The answer was social work or teaching. These were, after all, the acceptable careers for women.
So that is what I did. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Education (with a minor in Communications). And I went off to look for a job. Well at that time (unlike today), everyone seemed to want to teach. The last straw for me was not receiving a job because I could not coach volleyball. Huh?
Now what? Thankfully, my mother found a program that would provide me with a certification in computer operations. And my eyes were opened.
I got my first job in a huge data center as a printer operator for an IBM systemZ. I loved that job and learned everything I could about the operations. I also discovered a thirst for more knowledge about the mainframe and what it could do. I went on to work in technical support and finally became a technical writer. That led me to a career in Product Marketing where I can bring my love of storytelling together with my love of technology.
So why did I just tell this story?
Because when I was asked to write this blog it was supposed to be about the woman that I admire most in the mainframe world. And when I thought about it, there are so many pioneers, like Grace Hopper and Ada Lovelace, that certainly have my total respect; women that have really made their mark on technology.
But really the women who I admire the most are the women growing up today.
These women have incredible opportunities before them and must be taught that every career is open to them – especially the exciting fields of technology. This includes the mainframe which brings to bear innovative technology like AI/ML and quantum safe computing. The security and power of the mainframe is truly magical for these technologies.
We must nurture our young women and help them find their confidence. We must encourage their curiosity and help them find the spark to drive innovative ideas.
There is no doubt that there are amazing organizations that encourage this curiosity. Three of my favorites are:
You can find a more comprehensive list here.
It Starts with Us
Organizations are great and mentorship is wonderful, but it starts with you. If you are reading this, you have to help the young women in your life feel empowered. Give them the tools they need to succeed – not only in tech but in life. Nurture their innovative spirit and do not let it die out at an early age. Teach them to speak up and help them to find their voice. And help them continue to be curious, so they ask themselves: What if?
You never know you could be nurturing the next Grace Hopper.