As a manager at Accenture, Kathy Cohen works with a client/colleague team finding new, innovative ways of working. Their co-creation and storytelling method to help answer consulting questions is a departure from the typical consulting approach of having the right answer or producing the perfect product.
Kathy was first introduced to WTF and met Terri Brax at a Technori event. After a short conversation with Terri she found herself totally on board to volunteer. At the time, her project at work wasn’t totally fulfilling, and she was looking to expand her skillset and the type of people she interacted with. She wanted to add more meaning to her daily life and feel like she was making a difference. And so began her relationship with WTF.
Kathy’s first impression of WTF was excitement that there was no barrier to entry! Coming from corporate America, it is hard to create a network inside the startup community. She was used to working with people who knew her worth, where she didn’t have to prove herself. But at WTF she was coming into a new world. It wasn’t long before she was building credibility in the community as the co-chair of the annual Women in Tech awards.
An immediate impact of WTF, was getting to meet many different types of people who think so differently than the people Kathy usually works with. It makes her think differently and put her Accenture world in a broader context where people are doing cool things that her company at the time wasn’t involved in. Now her worlds have merged. Accenture is seeing itself in the middle, recognizing that they need to work with startups, but don’t know where to begin and startups who want to work with corporations but don’t know how to navigate the bureaucracy. Working as a general contractor role, they guide these two together, by helping to solve big corporation’s open-ended problems with the help of one or more startups.
The WTF community is a solid, must-have group of support. Members simply support and get each other in a way. The support system wins a close second to the WTF name for favorite aspects among just about everyone. You are more willing to take risks knowing that someone has your back. It is nice to know that you have a variety of different people that can help you when you need it.
As a new mom she finds herself at an interesting point where she’s happy that her professional identity is the same as before her child. But she now finds herself in a world where the path of being the kind of parent and being the kind of professional that she wants to be isn’t something she sees anyone living. So it is a time to forge a path that hasn’t been created yet, living up to values in both places at the same time. She wants the big job. Whatever that is. Running a department of a corporation or one day maybe her own company…or who knows, but she’s won’t sacrifice family to get there and doesn’t think that is asking for too much. We need women at the top, and she’s going to get there and wants other women to see her progression and feel like they can do the same and be proud of their accomplishments.
And — some advice to keep in mind — the tech world is not a subset of our world; tech is the world and you are in it and are qualified to be in it just by virtue of the fact that you own a mobile phone. So don’t count yourself out of this economy or group of people just because you don’t know how to write code.
Terri Brax is the Creator and Co-Force behind Women Tech Founders and TeacherCare. Her passion is advancing those around her.