Optimal Networks

Celebrating International Women’s Day! Employee Spotlight

While EVERY day is a great day to celebrate women, we are happy to spend International Women’s Day shining an extra bright spotlight on the incredible women at Optimal.

If you’re a client of ours, you’ve likely worked with the fantastic Katie Stute who has been an Escalation Specialist in our SupportCenter for the past 3 years. What you might not know is that Katie was literal inches away from being an astronaut!

We sat down with Katie to reflect on what her journey through multiple male-dominated industries has looked like, and what advice she would give other women looking to chart their own path forward.

Thank you, Katie, for sharing your story with us, and for being an invaluable asset to our clients and our team!

 

What inspired you to get into technology?

Science and tech have always been my thing. You remember growing up as a kid and wanting to be an astronaut? Well, I never grew out of that! I went to school for astrophysics but unfortunately, I was too short to become an astronaut. So, now I find joy in helping people use technology to succeed in their business, work, school, or personal lives.

What does it mean to you to be a woman in technology?

It feels both normal and a privilege. It feels normal because I could never imagine being anywhere else or doing anything else. It feels like I’m a role model because I often find myself encouraging my children’s friends and encouraging them to go in any direction they want to go.

If you had to pick a biggest accomplishment, what would it be?

The reward is being able to stay in this industry because I truly love making technology a benefit for people in their lives. I take pride in that and it makes me feel successful when I’ve successfully helped others.

Your biggest challenge?

The biggest obstacles I faced were the naysayers. Throughout my life I have experienced many people trying to dissuade me from pursuing my passions and dreams. For example, early on in my education, I found myself at odds with the guidance counselor.  I was told that astrophysics was not “meant for people like me” and that I should look at education.

What advice would you give other women going into technology or another male-dominated field?

Find a community or group with similar beliefs because it can be hard to be ‘different’ when you don’t fit the mold. It is easier to block out the background noise and focus on your passions when you have the right support network.

What are you most looking forward to in the industry?

The continual expansion of projects that empower women to join the field. That representation is what brought me to Optimal after all — this was one of the few places I had seen that had a 50/50 split of women and men on the SupportCenter team. I immediately knew that the culture here aligned with my beliefs.

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