In the early days of my career, women were often not supportive of each other in the workplace. One of my wise female colleagues pointed out that it was because there were fewer positions in the industry for women, which made for a highly competitive environment.

Thankfully those days are behind us. Today, women lift each other up and instead of competing for a seat at the table, women make room at the table. This literally happened to me earlier this week when I arrived late for a large group meeting and tried to sit discretely in the back of the room. One of the female executives at Itron saw me and shifted in her chair, encouraging others to do the same. She literally made a place for me at the table.

Still, more progress must be made to encourage and support women, especially in industries where there are fewer women. Particularly in the technology, engineering and energy industries, women suffer from isolation. There is a consistent trend of women graduating with STEM degrees, but not retaining careers in STEM. For example, the National Science Foundation found that only 38% of women who majored in computer science are working in the field, compared to 53% of men.

A few years ago, before my time at Itron, when I worked in the automotive industry, I co-founded a networking group called Women in Automotive Technology (WAT) to support women in the auto industry. WAT has grown from two people to a member-led organization of almost 200 women. Our mission is to connect, educate and increase participation for women in a very male-dominated industry.

While organizations like WAT are important, supporting women can be integrated into daily work life. Lifting up women cannot only come from female executives and women’s professional groups. I see this every day working with women at Itron. One woman specifically is always keeping an eye open for opportunities for her female colleagues. She’s an inspiration to others in the way she tackles her own professional development, always challenging herself to do things that are new to her. She leads by example and serves as a reminder to me that growth happens when we do things that might be a bit scary or uncomfortable.

The evolution of women in the workplace doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Progress for women depends not only on support from other women, but on the men with whom we work. It’s not an “us versus them” situation, there is room for all of us. When we ALL work together to lift each other up, we create better teams and better outcomes for women, men and the organizations we serve.

For International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, let’s take time to lift each other up.

Linda Campbell
Director of Partner Management - Itron
As director of partner management for Itron’s technical enablement team, Linda Campbell manages a team focused on building technology partnerships to provide Itron’s customers with access to a wide variety of complementary products and applications that integrate to Itron’s networking and metering platforms.

Prior to Itron, Ms. Campbell relocated with BlackBerry to Silicon Valley from Ottawa, Canada - where she was responsible for bridging partnerships and ecosystems in the mobile, automotive and IoT segments. Ms. Campbell was part of a startup called QNX Software Systems which was subsequently purchased by Harman International and later, BlackBerry. She held a variety of leadership roles in all three organizations, but is primarily recognized for building a world class alliances practice and an award-winning ecosystem of 100’s of companies in support of QNX’s automotive and other IoT business lines.

Ms. Campbell is an active advocate for women in business at a grass roots level. She has co-founded the Silicon Valley-based Women in Automotive Technology, and most recently, became a charter member of the Canadian Womens Network in Silicon Valley.

Ms. Campbell holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Ottawa.