Hybrid Work is Encouraging More Women to Continue Careers in IT

We have seen a significant increase in the number of women entering the technology field and rising to leadership positions. According to Deloitte Insights, “Women in tech are cracking the industry’s glass ceiling, achieving double-digit gains in leadership roles.” These women have made meaningful contributions to the industry, shaping the way technology is developed, marketed, consumed and supported.

NWN Carousel has made a strong commitment to gender diversity and inclusion especially with the onset of flexible work models – which in turn has better outcomes for all employees to prosper and contribute in significant ways. These benefits include higher productivity for employees and cost savings for employers, according to Forbes. In fact, Gartner forecasts that 51% of US knowledge workers will continue under hybrid work styles by the end of 2023. The current workforce comprises of 50% of women work in hybrid offices, compared to 44% of men

We’re thrilled to highlight several NWN Carousel women leaders from a variety of backgrounds and roles. We delve into their career paths, the challenges they faced and the impact they’ve made. They have achieved success in both their professional and personal lives serving as inspirations to others and demonstrating the importance of dedication and hard work!

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Andrea Morrison, SVP, Human Resources

Andrea Morrison, SVP, Human Resources

What was your dream job as a child? Astronaut, soldier or FBI agent. I am proud to be an Army Veteran. 

Tell us a little about your career in tech leading up to your position at NWN Carousel. Explain what you do now. In 2019, I was asked to lead the Talent Acquisition team at my former employer as we spun to become an independent company. We didn’t have the talent in infrastructure, cyber, cloud, enterprise business systems or a myriad of other skills. Alongside the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) and the Chief Information Officer (CIO) we built an entire function from scratch in under 8 months to ensure we could spin and run our systems effectively. In the end, once the project was complete in 2020, I was asked to become the HRBP for Digital and Engineering and had functional HR responsibility for 5,000 employees globally. Today, I lead our amazing team of HR professionals who dedicate their time and energy each day to ensuring NWN Carousel is an Employer of Choice.

What is the best professional advice you’ve ever received? Feedback is a gift. You can keep it and treasure it, you can re-gift it or you can throw it away. 

What if you don’t have a tech-savvy support system? How do you get the mentors or the help you need? Call me! I will reach out into the tech network available between my contacts in industry and those in the ELT to ensure you have a mentor. Jim Sullivan, NWN Carousel’s CEO, has done that for me and I will gladly pay it forward 10x for you. 

What should we be telling younger generations of women? The tough, hard assignments will grow you more than the fun and easy ones. Building resiliency, being able to take feedback and pivot, and learning how to actively listen to your employees and your leaders are vital keys to success. 

What motivates you every day? Our HR team. Each day we have these little interactions that fuel my energy. We solve problems, we grow, and we fail together as a team. 

Kristin Scheidmantel, VP, Customer Experience

Kristin Scheidmantel, VP, Customer Experience

What was your dream job as a child? My dream job as a child was to be a Forensic Scientist. While it was an early-on major, what I discovered was biology/chemistry were not my gifts.  

Tell us a little about your career in tech leading up to your position at NWN Carousel. Explain what you do now. I started my IT Career at the California Independent System Operator (ISO). The ISO ran the utility grid for Northern CA. I held many roles over my 5 year tenure; I had a wonderful mentor, whom I remain in contact with today. This mentor challenged me every day to be the best version of myself. I was young in my career, and he challenged me with minor goals such as correcting spelling and grammar in emails to public speaking and becoming an owner for company objectives!  At this point in my career, I was a sponge for knowledge. I asked a ton of questions and for anyone who knows me currently, not much has changed!! After Cal ISO, I pivoted to my new adventure at Delta Dental of California. At Delta Dental, I began as an Infrastructure Project Manager and shortly after pivoted into software development, where I managed deployments of core applications to process dental claims. I decided my next pursuit was people management; while I worked in a very matrixed environment, I realized managing people was my passion.  I stayed at Delta Dental for 9 years where I managed various IT Teams. 

I’ve been at NWN Carousel now for 6 years and today I serve as the Vice President of Customer Experience as well as head of Dedicated Staffing.

What is the best professional advice you’ve ever received?  

The best professional advice I have received over my careers is to “be comfortable working outside of your comfort zone” and “always consider oneself as a lifelong learner!” I encourage you to find a mentor, ask lots of questions, focus on outcomes and talk in terms of results. Take what your mentor offers as feedback and practice it until you perfect it! Then seek more feedback until incrementally, your skills are sharpened.

What if you don’t have a tech-savvy support system? How do you get the mentors or the help you need? To the next generation of women, I would encourage you to be proactive in seizing career opportunities which push your comfort level – desire to grow incrementally, be accountable (even if you make a mistake), operate with integrity and always honor your instincts. 

How has hybrid work changed your life? I am often asked, how I accomplish work/life balance, as I am a professional, a mother and a wife. It is achievable and can be met with joy! Where I find success is focusing on my time management, setting realistic expectations, appreciating priorities and being agile as those priorities adjust. Balance requires flexibility. My last piece of advice here is to carve out a small piece of your day to focus on something that brings you joy – for me, it’s working out!

What should we be telling younger generations of women? The final piece of advice I would offer is be open to feedback and practice it. 

What motivates you every day? The few things that motivate me is mentoring and coaching others; watching them grow in something that pushes their comfort.

Shannon Ludwig, SVP, Sales

Shannon Ludwig, SVP, Sales

What was your dream job as a child? To make money and have fun doing it.  I used to have neighborhood lemonade stands where I would differentiate myself by having dancers and chocolate cake.  I also used to have neighborhood talent shows and skating rinks.  Anything I could do to hustle and make a buck. 

Tell us a little about your career in tech leading up to your position at NWN Carousel. Explain what you do now. My initial inception into IT was for a  company called Indelible Blue. After that, I joined a team of seven others and started 4Front Systems.  4Front was then later acquired by a company called Xcelecom – then acquired by NWN – now known as NWN Carousel.  I have been a part of a team that has built the region from $0 – over $100M in Annual Contract Value.  My role titles have been Account Executive, to Sales Director, to VP, to SVP.  My role functions have been everything from sweeping the warehouse, delivering equipment, configuring equipment, managed the P & L, customer engager, problem solver, culture enhancer and team builder.  

What is the best professional advice you’ve ever received? Don’t be so excited for the next phase, that you forget to celebrate your current one. 

What if you don’t have a tech-savvy support system? How do you get the mentors or the help you need? Study, study, and study.  Take time to invest in yourself.  Listen to podcasts, watch YouTube and attend as many networking events as you can.   Nothing substitutes being in person – regardless of the technology that allows us to be virtual.  Just show up.  

What should we be telling younger generations of women? That there is no more exciting place to be than in technology.  We are now in the forefront and have influence on everything in the world.  We are no longer tech geeks sitting behind a computer, but innovators and problem solvers that are constantly adapting to what the world throws at us.  It is fun, exciting, and sexy to be in IT.  

How has hybrid work changed your life? Overall, it has improved my work-life balance. I have seen several benefits with the hybrid work style.  Some include greater flexibility and reduced commute times.  It does however present some challenges as well.  It is sometimes difficult to separate work and personal life, and I miss the lack of social interaction.  I work hard to set clear boundaries to ensure a healthy and productive work-life balance.   I really enjoy what I do, so that is my driver! Balancing work and personal life can be a challenging task.  I find that if I follow these guidelines, I have a better outcome.

  1. Make lists and prioritize tasks focusing on the most important ones and delegating some.
  2. Establish boundaries between personal and professional life. 
  3. Take regular mental breaks to walk or get fresh air to avoid burnout.
  4. Practice self-care by taking care of one’s physical and mental well being.

What motivates you every day? My daughter and my team.

NWN Carousel is a proud participant of The Channel Company’s Women of the Channel, a networking group to advance organizational diversity, make unparalleled connections, and empower women.

Register for Part II of The Rise of Women in Tech Leadership