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Spotlight on Women in Tech: Jigyasa Chaturvedi

Spotlight on Women in Tech: Jigyasa Chaturvedi

Tuesday, October 10, 2017/Categories: computer-programmers

Tuesday, October 10, is Ada Lovelace Day, which recognizes the achievements of women in STEM, as well as Ada herself, who is credited with writing the first computer program in 1843. You can learn more about Ada Lovelace in our article "Happy Ada Lovelace Day!"

In honor of Ada and all the women working in STEM today, we are devoting the rest of October to women in tech. We asked several women to talk about what inspired them to pursue a career in tech, the challenges they've faced, and what they think needs to change to encourage more women to choose a career in tech.

First up, we'll hear from Jigyasa Chaturvedi (@JChaturvedi01). She is the founder and CEO of (@82ISM), which enables innovation-as-a-service for enterprises and governments across the world. Jigyasa has more than 14 years of experience in technology and believes technology gives businesses a competitive edge.

The following has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

What Made You Decide to Pursue a Career in Tech?

I enjoyed problem solving; therefore STEM was always attractive to me. After college, I took a year off to volunteer. That experience made me realize the good fortune I had growing up in a family of doctors who were not only encouraging and supportive, but were also excellent role models. It was around that time the power of computer science and the internet was being unleashed in an unprecedented way, and I decided to pursue my master's in computer application studies.

I believe technology is the power that will enable people to do better and be better. My goal is to not only be part of that movement, but continue to enable others to see the power of it through everything I do. That includes the startup I founded, 82ISM, which enables innovation- as-a-service. We're driven to not only use technology to enable outcomes, but also use our money to create social impact.

What Challenges Did You Face Entering a Field with So Few Women?

I was one of 14 women in a class of 85 students in graduate school. I was raised by my parents as an equal to my brother, and equal opportunities existed for both of us in the family, so I grew up with that mindset. In graduate school, I felt culturally that there was little distinction between a female and a male student. But being part of the workforce was a different story. I discovered that stereotypes were alive and well, and the expectation was for women to toe the line – a line of submission. I believe that exists in any industry, not just tech, but with so few of us in tech, it seems a bit more magnified.

What Do You Think Needs to Change to Encourage More Women to Choose Careers in Tech?

Most studies point to gender stereotypes that are ingrained in the female subconscious. There was a time when there were more women in tech than men and then the dynamic changed. There was a systemic wave of women phasing out (or being phased out), and the industry became predominantly male. [Editor's note: According to a report [PDF] compiled by Women and Information Technology, only 26 percent of professional computing occupations were held by women in 2016.]

I believe at the most foundational level women need to believe they're no less [than men]. We have to believe in our potential before anyone else. There are, of course, concrete steps the tech industry can take to create a culture of diversity in hiring. But at this time, it's a supply issue, which will be solved by what I suggested earlier – more girls staying in STEM in school and continuing that education in college and graduate school. This is why I volunteer at Technovation. I believe we need to solve the supply problem to see a change that will outlast me.

For real empowerment to happen, women need to support women across industries and help enable success and opportunities for each other. In the course of building my startup, I have met a cross section of women decision makers and executives across various industries. It is my goal to help them be successful.

At 82ISM, we are launching a campaign for women entrepreneurs who don't have a technology background and want to build a technology product to solve real-life business problems. Our offer to those women is, "We will be your CTO and CIO and help you bring your idea to life using technology."

We want to create a safe haven where they can leave the technology solutions to us and can focus on building their business without worry. The way I also see this working (to the point of enabling women in tech) is that non-tech founders will learn about technology, thereby creating a lateral entry model into tech. They will not become experts in tech, but that's not really the point. The goal is to exponentially increase the number of CEOs / executives at the top-most level at tech or tech-enabled companies. That's the wave we want to create. As a woman CEO and founder, I know it's a tough climb, and I want to make it easier for others like me.

About Jigyasa Chaturvedi

Jigyasa Chaturvedi is the founder and CEO of 82ISM, a marketplace that offers innovation as a service to enterprises and governments. She also advises startups on sales and strategy. Jigyasa has over 14 years of experience in the technology industry and has worked with a diverse client base including Deloitte, Cisco, Barclays, Rabobank, and SEI Investments. Before founding 82ISM, Jigyasa was the head of sales for North America for Bodhtree Solutions Inc., a systems integrator. There she grew the company revenue manifold in a short period of time. Jigyasa has worked and lived in three continents in the last six years, learning from cross-cultural, distributed teams. In her free time, she likes to volunteer, write, and paint. Her lifelong quest is immortality through positive lasting impact in all she does.

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