You’re thinking about working in tech? Go for it!
Are you wondering whether tech is the right field of business for your career? Feel uncertain, whether you have the right skills? Nancy Wang, General Manager of Data Protection Services at Amazon Web Services in Seattle, is familiar with these kinds of doubts – and she hears them especially from women. That's why, alongside her job, she developed a virtual mentoring program that provides relevant know-how to start, or advance, your career – and won this year's Digital Female Leader Award in the category "Digital Leadership". We talked to her about how she wants to encourage more women to confidently tackle a career in the IT industry.
"I want to enable others to learn from the experiences of my professional career," says Nancy – and her passion is infectious! More than 16,000 people have already joined her online seminars on Coursera, which are offered in cooperation with AWS. Building expertise in tech product management, the 55 hours of video material offer valuable insights for anyone looking to enter or advance in the field. From general information about the industry to innovation trends, finance, and data privacy, all topics are covered. Also included: training for the next job interview.
Nancy's digital mentoring program is dear to her heart: She founded and developed the non-profit organization Advancing Women in Tech, or AWIT for short. AWIT's goal is to provide women with both technical and personal skills that help to diminish barriers. The vision of AWIT and Nancy's Coursera program: create equal opportunities in the tech industry.
AWIT imparts knowledge in three different ways: with competency-based training, mentoring for managers, and online and offline trainings. In Nancy's Coursera Specializations, participants complete a number of courses, design their own product and, in the end, receive a certificate that earns them extra points in their next job application. Graduates benefit not only from technical lectures, but above all from the personal insights of their course instructors. "Along with me, more than 20 executives from AWS and other large technology companies help to train women and encourage them with their own stories and tried-and-tested advice," Nancy explains.
Equality can only be achieved together. Therefore, at Amazon we are committed to fostering girls and women through various initiatives. Internally, we’re supported by Women@Amazon, one of our affinity groups. One example of an external partnership with the goal to inspiring and preparing young women for digital professions is BayFiD - Bavaria's Women in Digital Professions. In addition, AWS initiates programs such as re/Start and GetIT to promote and develop talent from all backgrounds. At Amazon, we want everyone to be heard and every idea to be valued – no matter whom it comes from. Why? Among other reasons, because diverse teams reflect diverse customers best, which leads to better innovations. These values are anchored in Amazon’s Leadership Principles.
For Nancy, leadership is also "an iterative process of setting ambitious goals for myself and my organization, and never giving up. Once we reach our goals, we're ready to move forward and think even more ambitiously”. Challenging herself has often led Nancy to success. For example, she convinced Coursera professors of the value of her course concept and took on a leading role in the field of data protection at AWS.
Networking is where you find inspiring individuals who can make even more of a difference together.
The Digital Female Leader Award means a lot to Nancy: "I am happy that organizations like Global Digital Women offer a stage to highlight great projects by successful women. I'm grateful and proud that the jury awarded my project and that I can contribute to creating more visibility for women in tech professions."