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Houston Business Journal Conference Call: Women in Technology

Anne Tülek, President and CEO of Access Sciences was recently featured in an interview by Nora Olabi of the Houston Business Journal.  This special feature highlighted three of the women who are leading companies recognized among the Fastest Growing Technology Businesses in Houston.  Access Sciences was ranked #22 on this prestigious list.

If you are a subscriber of the Houston Business Journal, you can access the full article by logging into the site at this link.  For your convenience, Anne's interview* is recapped below. 

 

Conference Call:  Women in Tech, Houston Business Journal, November 28, 2014

Anne Tülek
President and CEO
Access Sciences Corp., No. 22 on The List


How has the business environment been in Houston for women in technology?

I read national statistics saying that the percentage of women in technology has declined from 37 percent in 1985 to as low as 18 percent in 2009. Those numbers shock me because I don't experience the Houston business environment that way. Generally I find that clients want the best value for their dollar, and they couldn't care less about gender.
Anne Tülek, President and CEO of Access Sciences
Do you think women in technology face unique challenges?

The root causes of the challenges start at a young age, and the effects ripple for years. Young girls don't embrace math and science as much as boys do; this reflects issues with confidence, social pressure and teaching styles. Therefore young women don't enter STEM university programs in large numbers. Therefore women are only a minority of the people in the field as professionals. Being part of a minority group in the workplace can lead to additional hurdles of belonging, networking, confidence, and communicating their own value.

What do you think could be viable ways of attracting more women in technology?

The first place to start is to help employers see how attracting more women into technology fields will help their bottom line. Once they see that evidence, the rest will take care of itself, because they will follow the lead of companies like Exxon Mobil and others that are pouring significant resources into STEM programs of many kinds.

I love the idea of starting clubs in middle schools and high schools with organizations like GirlsWhoCode.com. Creating community and belonging for young girls early in the context of STEM fields can only help.

How has Houston supported its female professionals in technology?

Houston has a vibrant community of female leaders. To name a few professional groups: The Greater Houston Partnership's Executive Women's Council, The Greater Houston Women's Chamber of Commerce, the Women's Business Enterprise Association, Women In Technology and Women in Energy.

What advice would you give to other women wanting to make it to the top in technology?

With two exceptions, I would advise them in the same way I advise men. Find things to do that align with your personal values and mission. Work well with people you enjoy and with people who can cause you to grow. Never stop learning and always bring your very best. Be grateful and use that gratitude to give back to others.

The exceptions are that I also tell women to be brave enough to volunteer or apply for that next job, and confident enough to tell people about how you have made their life easier or their business more profitable.
 

*These interviews have been edited for length and clarity.