In the April 2018 issue of WiFi HiFi Magazine, we highlighted excerpts from our interviews with several influential women in the tech industry in Canada. Every Friday, we'll be publishing our full Q&As with each of these women, as well as additional women in Canadian tech. Here, we chat with Jinny Lam, Vice President, Marketing, Circle Media, the company behind Circle with Disney, which manufactures a device that helps limit kids' usage of tech.
Name: Jinny Lam
Job Title: Vice President, Marketing, Circle Media
Years in the Industry: 18 years in marketing, two years in tech
The Quote That Most Inspires You: "People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it." - Simon Sinek
What drew you to a career in consumer electronics?
I joined Circle because I believe in what the organization has the potential of doing for families. And it just happens to be in consumer electronics.
Have you encountered any roadblocks along the way that were related to your gender?
No roadblocks, but over time, I have noticed that communication styles with me tend to be softer than with my male counterparts.
What unique characteristics or perspective do you feel you bring to your organization as a woman?
Empathy, passion, a sense of relatability, and a focus on people, not just the business.
Technology is historically a male-dominated industry, yet the use of tech is fully embraced by women, and many studies even suggest that females are the primary buyers of tech in the home. What do you feel the technology industry needs in order to attract more women, particularly into high-level positions?
Two things: 1) truly giving women executives a voice at the table; and 2) recruiting women into junior level positions and mentoring/nurturing them through their career progression.
If you had to sum up what it is like being a woman in this male-dominated technology industry in just a few words, what would you say?
Overall, it's awesome to be a pioneer and experiment with ways to demonstrate a personal style, confidence, and thick skin. There are moments when it can be lonely though, and finding "friends" either at work or in the industry is extremely helpful.
Are there other women in the tech industry who inspire you?
I have always admired Meg Whitman [former President and CEO of HP Enterprise]. I love her action-orientedness and leadership traits. She has led successful companies, while focusing on people and team.
What are some of the misconceptions/myths about women working in the technology space that you'd like to dispel?
You don't need to know how to code or you don't have to be engineer. You don't have to be aggressive and pushy. You do have plenty of career opportunities. You just need to find an environment that supports women.
What's one thing you wish was done differently in the industry, and why?
My confidence was shaky when I first started in the industry because I didn't really understand APIs and SDKs and developer language, and I thought that was so important. I realize now that the value I bring is much more strategic than that, and I wish I embraced that sooner.
Are you optimistic for the future in general and for the industry?
Yes! While the ‘old boys club' lives on, here comes the new girls club, and it's strong. More and more females are starting their own companies and entering the venture capital world, too.