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Advice for Young Women Beginning a Career in Design or Technology

Written By Nick Mendez | Mar 6, 2015

HUB Collective COO Kate Ertmann is a passionate advocate for diversity in the technology space, and spent 14 years directing a team of animators at Animation Dynamics Inc. When it comes to young women entering an often-challenging work environment, I couldn’t think of a better person to ask for advice.

Her feedback hinges on a common war cry of “speak up!” but more precisely, Kate says young creative women should confidently know their point of view, and not leave the conversation until they’ve clearly expressed that perspective.

That process begins in the interview. Not only will insightful, assertive questions demonstrate your inquisitive skills to the hiring manager, but you can stride out of the room confident that you voiced your opinions–on the creative process, and your vision for the position.

The numbers tell us that, in the design and technology fields, most meeting rooms will be dominated by men. In Kate’s experience, the most common symptom of that imbalance is silence; both literal and ideological.

She’s found that young women are more likely to assume that their opinions are too obvious, or their point of view too common, to stand behind it with force and panache.

When everyone on a team, regardless of its demographics, feels confident that their point of view will be heard and respected, only then will they maximize their creative potential.

Kate Ertmann is a former partner at Animation Dynamics Inc., founded the Portland chapter of Women in Animation, and now serves as COO at HUB Collective.

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