Stephanie Cook has worked in tech for 25 years. In that time she has built two sales careers — a feat forced by necessity.
“At a previous company, I had to start from the bottom up after taking time out to have children even though I still had the skills and was dedicated to the role,” said Cook, now a sales manager at Redgate Software.
The tech industry has by no means closed its cavernous gender gap, but much has changed since Cook first started out. Talent Acquisition Partner Kendra Dupree can also mark the industry’s evolution through her own experience. Earlier in her career, after two-and-a-half years with her previous employer, Dupree’s request for a 3-percent raise and more responsibilities was denied by the company’s two owners.
“This was a huge blow because I knew I was getting paid almost $40,000 less than my male coworkers,” said Dupree. “Months later, I was offered my dream job at another company with a $95,000 salary increase — that was enough data to show that the gender pay gap is very real.”
“Months later, I was offered my dream job at another company with a $95,000 salary increase. That was enough data to show that the gender pay gap is very real.”
Fortunately, Event Specialist Dasia Mendez did not have such jarring experiences. Mendez’s mother was a full-stack developer and her career has been filled with strong women who were leaders in their fields. It was only after getting more involved with the Kansas City tech scene that she became fully aware of the barriers women face.
“Once I discovered how little my environment mirrored others, it became clear that I needed to contribute whatever resources I had to make my current work environment more commonplace,” said Mendez.
For Mendez, Dupree and Cook, that current environment is Redgate Software, a database software company that has committed itself to supporting women in tech, both inside and outside of its offices.
For women just entering the tech industry, having to reset their careers to start a family is a daunting prospect. Fortunately, maternity leave has been standardized by law, and return-to-work programs for new mothers are becoming more popular. Redgate has been carefully watching developments in the benefits space — not to keep up with the competition but to stay ahead.
Redgate offers enhanced paternity and maternity leave as well as shared parental pay, said Mendez. The UK enhanced package consists of 52 weeks of maternity leave, 16 full pay, 23 statutory maternity pay and 13 unpaid. Two weeks of fully paid paternity leave are also available.
In total, Redgate’s maternity leave is neck-and-neck with its industry competition. That said, Mendez called out a benefit of Redgate’s that is raising the bar for parental support.
“We offer maternity coaching, where anyone going on maternity leave receives support from an external coach before, during and after their leave,” said Mendez. “There is even a guide to help support individuals in managing perimenopause and menopause symptoms at work.”
What Is Maternity Coaching?
Through one-on-one sessions, maternity coaches provide mothers a safe space to discuss their feelings, a partner in strategizing their career post-maternity leave and support in adapting to life as a working mother. Although relatively niche in general, maternity coaching is a more common benefit in the United Kingdom, which is where Redgate has its corporate headquarters.
When Cook thinks back on her decision to join Redgate, one person stands out in particular: CRO Cassi Roper. Roper’s presence, along with the strong women representation on the executive board, drew Cook to the company. What Cook didn’t know was that she would soon be following in her new CRO’s footsteps.
Roper joined the company as a renewal sales rep and climbed the ladder to the C-suite, and like her, Cook quickly began rising up the ranks.
“I joined as an account executive and was soon promoted to sales manager of the BDR team and then the named team,” said Cook. “I’ve had lots of management and sales training here.”
“At Redgate, your career is in your hands no matter what your gender,” she added.
“Your career is in your own hands” is not a figure of speech. Dupree, who plays a major role in recruiting, said all employees can build personal development plans, choosing which skills they want to acquire and how. Additionally, roles are designed to fit individuals, a philosophy influenced by the company’s core value: “We do our best work in teams.”
The idea is that teams are stronger — and happier — when individual expertise is maximized. When speaking with candidates, Dupree doesn’t have to look far for an example of the benefits of this personalized approach to career development.
“Being at Redgate has given me the ability to almost co-create my dream role that blends my love for storytelling and connection,” said Dupree. “I’ve been given the space, support and empowerment to trust in myself.”
To ensure its culture of promoting from within and customized career development plans is driving results, Redgate has dedicated itself to data. Recent results indicate it’s on the right track, achieving a 13 percent year-over-year increase of women in the company’s upper-middle pay quartile.
Redgate can only do so much to close tech’s gender gap on its own, which is why it’s formed partnerships with SheCanCode and Rate My Placement to grow its impact. SheCanCode provides tools and resources to help women break into and grow their careers in the tech industry, while Rate My Placement is a student internship and job board.
Since partnering with the two organizations, the gender imbalance of the company’s engineering internship program has begun to shift, with women making up 25 percent of interns in 2021, up from 17 percent in years prior.
Along with partnerships, Redgate is also active in the events space. As an events marketing specialist, Mendez spoke with pride about Redgate’s DevOps workshops, which are free and open to every skill set and experience level. In addition, Mendez herself has been given the opportunity to go from marketing events to running them.
“I’m hosting ‘Shaking It Up with SQL,’ which will be held this fall in cities across the country,” said Mendez. “The courses are free and designed to help women learn about a new skill set that could benefit their career growth within the tech industry.”
“The courses are free and designed to help women learn about a new skill set that could benefit their career growth within the tech industry.”
After more than two decades in the industry, the scope of Redgate’s internal and external efforts to support women in tech come as a welcome refresher to Cook.
“Redgate is one of the best equal opportunity companies I have worked for and a breath of fresh air,” said Cook.