March 8, 2023

Celebrating International Women’s Day at Sigma

Christina Yu
Software Engineer
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Celebrating International Women’s Day at Sigma

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, it is important to reflect on the progress made toward gender equality while also acknowledging the challenges women continue to face worldwide and in the workplace. Today brings a tremendous opportunity for us to highlight and recognize the unique, individual contributions that women make to our organizations every day.

As a woman in tech, this day holds a special place in my heart. It reminds me of all the trailblazers who’ve paved the way for female representation in technical roles, where women are often underrepresented.

In honor of International Women’s Day, I’d love to share valuable insights from some of the amazing women I get to work with at Sigma.

What opportunity has had the greatest impact on your career?

“I did an internship during grad school that completely changed my career trajectory. It pivoted me into tech, introduced me to a new function, gave me a book of business to own and freedom to operate at a massive scale, and most importantly, - experience under one of the best managers I've ever worked for. That one opportunity led to a full-time offer, a promotion, 2 out-of-state moves, and colleagues that turned into lifelong friends.” —Karen Mesrobian, Sr. Operations Manager

“My time as a journalist at The Wall Street Journal definitely had the greatest impact. Newsrooms are amazing training grounds, and the sense of teamwork and camaraderie to get the job done is unmatched. There is very little time for ego or politics when breaking news is happening. I spent five years there on the news desk editing content and learned so much.” —Kristi Oloffson, Sr. Product Marketing Manager - Content

“An opportunity where I was hired to lead content and quickly went on to run multiple marketing functions. Grew my team by 3X, made a real impact, and even ended up as a 'Content Marketer of the Year' finalist (blush, blush). I learned that you grow fast when: (1) you push beyond your comfort zone, (2) play to win together, and (3) do whatever it takes to honor your work commitments!” —Chitra Rakesh, Head of Content

What has had the greatest impact on your leadership style?

“There have been leaders and mentors along the way that have had a big impact on how I've developed my own leadership style. I think the key here is not to try to replicate any one person or style but take away a quality that works and make it your own. You will show up as a much more authentic leader. The same applies to the not-so-great managers we've all had - learn how to apply what doesn't work too. My mentors have also helped me get clear on how I define and articulate my own leadership style, which is so important to be able to do well.” —Lorraine Costello, Head of Delivery

“Making mistakes and listening to advice- I had my first management job at 20, and I learned a lot from the other managers around me who had been there for years. I made every mistake and continued to try to improve every day. I'm so grateful to have worked with powerful people who gave me grace and championed me.” —Celeste Brown, Enterprise BDR

“I would say working for great leaders. I am constantly in a growth mindset to learn from the great leaders that I have had the opportunity to work with and see them excel in bringing the best out of people and leading with empathy.” —Teasara Thompson, Sr. Director of Technology Partnerships

What advice would you give young women entering a corporate work environment?

“Be undeniably and unapologetically yourself. Bring your voice, thoughts, and lived experiences to the table and lead with that.” —Neha Chellaney, Director of Talent Acquisition 

“Always try to use your privilege to enable the voices of those at disadvantage. While remembering at the same time that the tech industry is not very kind to women, and hence to learn to stand up for yourself.” —Ankita Shankar, Software Engineer

“Believe in yourself and your abilities, and don't let anyone make you feel less than. Trust your instincts and speak up when you have something to contribute. Be approachable, listen attentively, and communicate effectively. Be proactive, and don't wait for someone to give you an opportunity. Continue to challenge yourself daily and remember to be yourself.” —Anonymous

“You're going to have imposter syndrome, and that's normal. The truth is, no one knows what they're doing and faking it until they make it! Seek help, ask questions, and align yourself with a mentor you can learn from and empower.” —Jacqueline Wang, Customer Marketing Manager

“Ask questions early and often. Build relationships with your peers. Promote yourself: highlight your achievements and their impact; make sure that your work is visible and that the value you bring is seen. Advocate for yourself, seek out opportunities to increase the scope of your contributions and impact, and discuss career growth with your manager early and often.” —Jack Bens, Software Engineer

What does International Women's Day mean to you?

“Empowering one another, elevating the girl next to you, and creating a better future for the generation of women who will come after us.”  —Alli Lucas, Sr. Partner Manager

“It means celebrating women. Celebrating their wins, recognizing their journey, and bringing them up. It's a good time to reflect on what has happened, future goals, and iterate on an action plan to make sure we as women are continuing to work towards an equal playing field.” —Jerrica Nicolas, Renewals Manager

“It is a day to appreciate yourself as a woman and others as women. To reflect the changes and the progress women have made in society from not so long ago. To also continue to push for fair treatment in all aspects and to educate others that being a woman doesn't mean less or more than it should be and that women should stay strong against any odds they may face, whether that be in their relationships, work, public, etc.” —Jade Fleishhacker, Product Designer 

What's an empowering moment that inspired you? 

“Having my twins, Max & Chloe, in 2020. They inspire and empower me to try to have a greater impact beyond myself. To tie it back to IWD, what kind of world and workplace do I want for Chloe in the future? That's what motivates me.” —Lorraine Costello, Head of Delivery

“Everyday moments! The high-five channel here at Sigma is nice because you get to see a lot of people building people up. These small tokens of appreciation are really helpful for company culture, especially when we see women getting praised for all their talent and hard work.” —Tracy Pellington, Senior Designer

“I have often been the only female and often only female of color. I have been inspired by younger women who have expressed how motivating it is to see themselves be represented.” —Sherrylyn Filoteo, RVP of Sales

Why do we need more women in leadership?

“Women are the conduits of culture and learning. When women lead, they build a pipeline of more women who in turn become leaders.” —Chantell Jackson, Workplace Experience Manager

“Being a woman in a male-dominated field can be challenging, and sometimes the office can be an isolating place. I think having more women in leadership can offer different perspectives on problems, which can lead to efficient and unique solutions.” —Celeste Brown, Enterprise BDR

“Women leaders defeat many workplace barriers caused by gender biases and are transformational role models through their journey into leadership.” —Jill Parma, Sr. Enterprise Customer Success Manager

Is there a woman at Sigma that inspires you? Let us know who and why.

Risa Peterson, Head of Field Marketing

  • “As a full-time Marketing leader and part-time hockey mom/coach, Risa is constantly looking out for her own! She recently referenced the great American hockey player + coach, Herb Brooks, at Sales Kick Off saying ‘when you pull on that jersey, the name on the front is a hell of a lot more important than the name on the back.’ I see her embody that ethos in her work every. single. day and she is fierce in protecting her team's expectations, metrics, reputations, and supporting resources. She has always earned her respect, never acting above any level task. She takes time to listen to EVERYONE, all while making great progress and strides on the big rocks/milestones. It's rare to see that at a company of our size and growth. Most importantly, she stays curious and wants to come from a place of understanding even if it's outside of her usual scope of work. I admire her leadership tactics a lot and find myself wanting to work harder for her strictly based on her fair/kind approach to all.” —Anonymous

  • “Risa Peterson all the way. I love her leadership style and how she's a huge advocate for her team and others around her. She pushes me to get out of my comfort zone and inspires me to be a more balanced leader & Mom to my kiddos. Thank you, Risa!” —Lorraine Costello

Orla Clifford, VP of Operations

  • “Orla's ability to be transparent, down to earth, and just a real human while leading with purpose and intention is inspiring.” —Chantell Jackson

  • “I always say Orla Clifford would be my spirit animal if she wasn't already a person.” —Karen Mesrobian

  • “So many to mention. One woman that is at the top of the list is Orla Clifford. Is there anything that she can't do? She is smart, dedicated, thoughtful, thorough, uplifting, and honest. Everything that I strive to be.” —Jerrica Nicolas

  • “Orla! She's a one-woman show doing 10 jobs, all with a positive attitude.” —Sherrlyn Filoteo

  • “Orla Clifford. She walks into a room and immediately commands respect. It is easy to feel as if you must lessen your femininity in order to evade the unfortunate experiences of pioneer women in the workplace. Orla unapologetically embraces who she is and what she brings to the table. I really admire her ability to navigate the corporate arena as a badass woman in tech!” —Alli Lucas

Heather Burt, Principal Designer - Brand

  • “Heather is never afraid to speak her mind and balances that with the careful consideration of others' thoughts/opinions. She recognizes her team members' strengths and helps to build them up. At every step of my professional journey with her, she has had a thoughtful approach. Each decision she makes is informed- a model Sigmanaut.” —Tracy Pellington

Sam Watts, Enterprise Product Designer 

  • “Sam really inspires me because she does so much to make sure she performs the best and doesn't let anything stop her. She's really helpful and super kind, and in general, she's my model in how I should work as a professional.” —Jade Fleishhacker

Women Across Sigma

  • “I haven't been here that long, but I have many women who inspire me at Sigma. Chantell, Karen, Julie, Maeve, Sydney. Maeve reached out to me during my first couple of weeks and is so warm, open, and honest with me. Sydney has been helping to mentor me on top of her very busy schedule! Chantell shows up every day (looking fabulous) and deals with so many unseen challenges with such grace and determination. Karen saw me struggling with concepts in my onboarding- and put me in touch with people who could help while also being helpful and kind. Julie- I don't know her very well yet, but I'm inspired by her leadership, and can't wait to learn more!” —Celeste Brown
  • “Catherine Geewax and Jerrica Nicolas: On the sales side, one bringing in new business, one going after NRR, and both CRUSHING IT!” —Neha Chellaney
  • “I would say women. The women on the partnership team inspire me every day and push me to be a better leader. Their passion, work ethic, and energy they bring day in and day out inspire me to do more and be better.”  —Teasara Thompson

Let’s take today to recognize the achievements of women and commit ourselves to creating a more inclusive, equitable workplace that empowers all individuals to succeed and thrive. 

Thank you to the incredible women at Sigma, especially my teammates Rohini and Julie, who show that it’s possible to contribute and rise up in an organization like Sigma—and to the entire team who continues to make Sigma a remarkable and diverse place to learn, grow, and be. The inclusivity of our team and opportunities to join women-focused communities encourages more females, including myself, to participate and flourish in our roles.

We’re just getting started, so if you’re interested in paving the new way of self-service analytics, we’re hiring and would love to hear from you!

We are Sigma.

Sigma is a cloud analytics platform that uses a familiar spreadsheet interface to give business users instant access to explore and get insights from their cloud data warehouse. It requires no code or special training to explore billions or rows, augment with new data, or perform “what if” analysis on all data in realtime.