By Hannah Giles from Women in Identity
Tracey Nyholt has had an unconventional career path. After graduating in 1990 with a degree in English Literature, she used her literacy skills to teach herself IT skills. Despite her dedication to learning, she had a tough time getting a job in IT. At one point, an HR manager even told her she didn’t look smart enough to be in IT. So, she changed her look up to appear a little more stereotypical (complete with fake glasses) and landed her first IT job. She used her writing skills to offer to document people's jobs in exchange for them teaching her the skills they knew, which helped her climb the ladder even further.
Tracey, now founder and CEO of TechJutsu, has led an amazing career in the IT space so far, which is why we sat down with her for this week’s Women in Identity interview.
Question 1: With a 60% female workforce, why is it so important to have the majority of the company’s employee base be made up of women?
We employ 60% women for two reasons.
First, I have a vision to prove that IT can be feminine. When I decided to show my face in the TechJutsu logo, I was told that having a woman's face made it look like an escort agency. This steeled my determination to make a woman's face recognizable as a symbol of success in IT.
Second, we heavily leverage the communication skills that women are taught in our society to communicate complex concepts into easy to understand words and pictures. We are the only company in our industry to employ a technical communications specialist whose job it is to boil technical benefits into the essence of the value they provide to the business.
We credit our feminine approach with being able to double in size since the pandemic began.
Question 2: What advice do you have for women who are in the field of technology experiencing imposter syndrome?
Accept that reaching for the stars means you will feel stretched. Embrace that imposter syndrome is your mind’s way of telling you that you are on the path to growth and reaching your full potential.
Question 3: Speaking of imposter syndrome, do you think women need to “act and think like a man” to be successful in tech or as a woman in identity?
No. While I often communicate in a way that men can easily digest, I differentiate myself by acting and thinking like a woman. For example, I think about the well-being of my employees above all else. Feeling cared for and trusted by my employees has helped me grow the business by 50% this year.