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 Lily Luo, Owner/Operator, XLO Electric.
Name: Lily Luo
Job Title: Owner/Operator , XLO Electric
Years in the Industry: 23 years
The Quote That Most Inspires You: "Your name and your word are the most important asset in your business."
What drew you to a career in consumer electronics?
The fast pace and interesting people.
Have you encountered any roadblocks along the way that were related to your gender?
What unique characteristics or perspective do you feel you bring to your organization as a woman?
I have a high level of energy, and the power of networking and teamwork.
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?
It is really up to women themselves to believe that they can take on any job and in any level of the technology industry. I feel, ironically, that women receive better treatment and support from men when they are in weaker positions. With more power, the labels get stronger. I believe it is due to the male ego. And I understand that it is a psychological effect that most men have. So I try to tell myself not to be let down by their comments. Respect will be earned eventually. At the same time, I also try to learn to be diplomatic to avoid hurting the "male ego," which is sometimes not an easy task.
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?
It's challenging, but it's also fun, and very satisfying.
Are there other women in the tech industry who inspire you?
There are many women who have inspired me, but they are not necessarily from tech industry.
What are some of the misconceptions/myths about women working in the technology space that you'd like to dispel?
Successful women in tech, or other industries for that matter, are often seen as pushy, aggressive, and ruthless instead of the more positive terms that are often used to describe men who exhibit the same or similar characteristics, like determined, talented, and leader.