Did you know that women currently make up just 26% of tech jobs in the US? As part of our Tech Inclusion Program’s Women in Tech Series, we want to address this gender disparity, encourage more females to consider a role in technology and celebrate the female role models here at Smoothwall. Which is why we’re running a series of interviews with our own women working in tech.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, including your current role and what you like to do in your spare time
My name is Kaleigh Earle, and I am the Regional Sales Manager here at Smoothwall for Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. I’ve been with Smoothwall a little over 2 years, since May 2016.
I’m a big TV/movie buff, so most nights you can find me kicking my feet up, watching Academy Award winners or the newest Netflix documentary. I also have a passion for food which lead me to start a local food blog here in Charlotte. As a result, I love to try new restaurants and attend media preview events to highlight local businesses and their new menus.
Briefly explain your career to date, including any pivotal moments along the way
I graduated from the University of Alabama with a Marketing Major concentrating in a Sales Specialization. My first job out of college was as a Technical Recruiter for an IT-focused staffing firm. Then after a brief time in website sales, I joined Smoothwall as the Northeast Regional Sales Manager.
Did you always know that you would work in technology?
I always knew I wanted to be in Sales, but it became very clear after graduation that technology was the way to go. All the companies I was drawn to were in the IT field. I knew I wanted to be a part of a company that was innovative and forward-thinking, and Tech companies tend to exude that.
Women make up only 26% of all tech jobs in the US, what’s your opinion on this?
It’s a shame because there’s really no reason women can’t be a part of and excel in this industry. My direct manager, Claire Nemeth, is proof of this. Claire has been with Smoothwall for over 10 years, working and being promoted in all aspects of the business – customer service, account management, sales, and most recently, the North American Sales Manager.
What do you think is the best part of being a woman in the tech industry?
It’s very empowering to be in an industry that historically has been lead by men. The Charlotte Business Journal released an article a few years ago, saying 1 in 3 workers in technology in North Carolina is a woman. At the time, that was the best ratio in the nation! Our office is very diverse, and women are no exception to roughly 50/50 men versus women employees. It’s also very neat that Smoothwall is contributing to the state of North Carolina giving women a path to success in this industry.
What has been your greatest moment of success?
In March of 2018, Smoothwall created an Employee of the Month award to be decided upon by all employees. I was very honored and humbled to be voted by my peers as the first company-wide recipient of this award.
Who inspires you and why?
My grandmother, Pat (Grammy) Earle, has been an inspirational source all my life. When Grammy was accepted to the University of Virginia in 1944, women were only allowed to continue their higher education in the fields of Nursing and Education. After her first semester in Education, my grandmother applied to transfer to the school of Commerce, and she was accepted. In 1947, she was the only woman in her graduating class. Today, she is the oldest living woman graduate of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia. She has taught me that persistence and determination go a long way, and you can always pave your own path.
How do you achieve your own work/life balance?
I lean on my family a lot. I like to leave my work at the office when I head home on the nights and weekends. With that being said, I feel a great deal of pride in helping and being available to my customers, so I sometimes work off hours (a little too much) to get the job done
What career advice would you give a young person who wanted to join the IT profession?
This is such a fast-growing industry that IT that is not going away anytime soon. If you like constantly learning and expanding your skill set, then this is the profession for you!
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