180227-IngridVanderveldt-2.jpg

Women Who Tech Are Dangerous: Portraits and Stories in the Age of #metoo

All portraits and interviews by John Davidson

johndavidson-photography.com

Leigh Christie

Leigh Christie

 
180123-LeighChristie-1.jpg
 

Leigh Christie

Job Title: Senior Vice President, Global Technology and Innovation at Austin Chamber of Commerce

Company Website: http://www.austinchamber.com

Years working in the tech industry: 8.5

On the preveleance of gender bias across industries:

I’ve worked in law, nonprofit management and tech and I’ve found the gender bias to be more or less the same.

On whether corporate gender bias can be addressed at the city level, or whether it’s the responsibiliy of individual companies to create inclusive work communities:

Interesting question. Though the City of Austin can promote a more diverse workforce and communities, at the end of the day, it’s up to our community and company leaders and their work cultures and hiring practices to create the reality.

On whether someone in her professional position can influence the issues of gender and ethnic bias in tech:

ALL community members are able to advocate for a more inclusive work place for our current and future workforce.

On evidence of tech leaders in Austin addressing the issue:

Austin is fortunate to have a large number of tech and community leaders actively engaged on this topic. Continuing to bring this subject to the table will hopefully continue to promote action.

On role-models:

Women who are close to me and those whom I’ve watched from afar have played a significant part in mentoring me throughout my career. These women have included Ellen Wood, Heather Brunner, Elizabeth Davis, Margaret Keys, Nancy Graves and Heather McKissick.

On role-model commonalities:

All women I admire have a few things in common … they are authentic, resourceful and strategic.

On mentoring stategies:

I enjoy mentoring other women and believe it’s extremely important for women to mentor other women. In the mentoring role, it’s been important for me to listen, show support and encouragement and be available.

I don’t know that “significant” change IS taking place. There is significant conversation and desire for change to take place, but whether that has yet translated into significant action and results is unclear to me.

On whether professional opportunities for women have increased in recent years:

I sincerely hope that opportunities for career advancement for women has increased over the years, but my guess is that regardless of any increase, the reality is far different than the prediction.

On whether sufficient pressure is being exerted in public life to change work culture and opportunities for women:

Yes, there are societal pressures to change work cultures and increase opportunities for women; however, cultures are not easily or quickly changed. The pressure is partly based on a demand by funders, the entering workforce and the significant potential that exits with promoting women.

On all talk, no affirmative action:

I don’t know that “significant” change IS taking place. There is significant conversation and desire for change to take place, but whether that has yet translated into significant action and results is unclear to me.

On what women can do to contribute to lasting change:

Continue to advocate. Continue the conversation. Continue to push the boundaries. Continue to educate and stand up.

 
180123-LeighChristie-2.jpg
 
Sarah Sharif

Sarah Sharif

Lauren Browning

Lauren Browning