Felicia Jadczak is a recognized voice in the field of gender diversity. She has worked in the technology industry for over ten years, specializing in the creation and development of innovative programs and solutions for an R&D audience. She has extensive experience in providing strategic guidance for diversity and gender inclusiveness across cross-functional teams. She holds an MBA and a Masters in Information Systems from the Questrom School of Business at Boston University. Felicia is the product of an entrepreneurial family and continues that tradition with her work on She Geeks Out. Felicia loves street art, fitness and wellness, wine and french fries.
Tell us a bit more about the conversation you had during your panel at HUBweek on being an ally in the workplace. What is one thing you took away from that conversation that you could share with our readers?
One of the things that we talked about during that conversation was the idea that there is no perfection– especially when we think about things like allyship or diversity and inclusion. A lot of times people feel like they have to fix things and that there is a state of perfection that exists out there and if they can just fix things, they’ll be fine. What is a really hard lesson for people to learn and internalize is that there is no perfection and that even with years of experience, you can still make mistakes. One of the things we have to practice, especially when we are having these kinds of conversations, is this idea of forgiveness and growth. This is a journey. There perhaps might never be any closure, but we are continually evolving and learning.
What obstacles do women in tech face that people are not always aware of?
When people think about women in tech, they think of a very specific profile which is a woman or a person who codes and is an engineer or a software developer, but if you really think about it, the term ‘woman in tech’ encompasses a much broader definition. I recently heard of this term called ‘tech adjacent’ and I love it. Nowadays, just by virtue of the way the world currently works, almost every company is a tech company in some way, and there are a lot of women who are actually working in tech but they are ‘tech adjacent’ — they are designers, or project managers. As a society, we tend to have a very narrow definition of what a woman in tech means and I think that leads to many obstacles for women and to things like imposter syndromes
What advice do you have for someone who is trying to take a side project into something bigger?
The advice I would give is that it’s OK to ask for help. A lot of times we think of work and side projects as being such an individually driven effort, but it really ends up being so collaborative. That is something that I have had to hammer into my head over and over again. It sounds dumb, but it’s hard. It’s hard to ask for help, sometimes. Especially with women, we have this mentality where we want to be badass and crush everything, but maybe you don’t have to crush everything. You can be badass and ask for help.
What is one lesson that you have to keep learning over and over?
I have two answers, and the first might be silly.
- Floss and drink water
2. Balance. It is so tempting to dive into work because it never ends and there is always something to be done — and i enjoy it. I love what I do, this is my passion and its my baby, I created this. But I have to continually remind myself to find a balance. I’m big on carving out space for fitness because I think that having a healthy body is just as important as having a healthy mind.
What is the best advice you’ve received?
The best advice I’ve been given was to not be afraid to ask questions. This is something my first boss out of college told me and I’ve taken it to heart and think it’s just so important. Asking questions will never make you look dumb.
The HUBweek Change Maker series showcases the most innovative minds in art, science, and technology making an impact in Boston and around the world.