Breaking the Bias: Tech leaders share their stories of how they overcame adversity to find success

CompTIA volunteer leaders were asked by CompTIA to share their experiences and offer encouragement on how to overcome stereotypes and discrimination at work. Here is their advice. This year’s International Women’s Day theme is “Break The Bias”, a nod to overcoming workplace discrimination and stereotypes. CompTIA offers many resources for female workers to support one another and provide guidance to help them advance their careers and businesses. These include the Advancing women in technology Interest Group and Advancing tech talent and diversity community.
We asked several CompTIA volunteer leaders for their stories and encouragement as they tried to bring about positive change. Here’s what they had:
Numbers don’t lie: Promotions that surpass sales goals
“I worked in sales, which can be a great equalizer. Sales requires that you make a number based upon a quota. If you do that, you might be different. In my case, technical sales was accepted because I excelled based on pure numbers. There was no objectivity. It was only subjectivity. When you can deliver 200% or more of your quota, there is no bias. I was fortunate to rise through the ranks of technology sales. It would have been difficult for me in other disciplines, but I am certain it was possible.” – Tina Gravel (senior vice president of channels and alliances, AppGate) and member of CompTIA’s Advancing Tech Talent and Diversity Community’s executive board
Mentorship can bring about change and provide much-needed support
“Women continue making major advances at work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2019, 51.8% of all workers in management, professional and related occupations were women. We must continue to promote the positive progress made by women and be role models for others.
“I am now 10 years into my IT career. I got to where today through quality leadership. It is crucial that we mentor other women who are just starting their careers. Women who have made it to the top in their careers should make an effort to help other women. Give them direction and a voice. We can all work together to break the biases and drive positive change!” – Hannah O’Donnell (director of Sales at Collabrance) and member of CompTIA Managed Services Community executive board
Don’t be afraid to ask for help to find your strength
“When it comes breaking the bias, my greatest piece of advice is to find someone who can help you see your own successes until you can find it. I will always be a cheerleader for anyone who is in need of it because I believe everyone has great potential.
Listen to Your Mother: Keep Learning, Stay Curious
“Educate yourself” was my mom’s best advice. She encouraged me to be curious and have foundational respect. It is important not to shut down open and honest conversations with fear, punishment, or judgment, especially if they are not part of your current echo room.” – Barb Paluszkiewicz CEO of CDN Technologies, an Oakville-based MSP and member of CompTIA’s Canadian Business Technology Community.
If you’re not invited to the table, build a better one
“Unfortunately, I was subject to many gender biases over my 20-year career in technology channel. But I learned how to overcome them. Advocate for yourself and other women to ensure that you don’t let any biases stop your career. If you don’t feel like you’re being invited to the table or are not comfortable with your place at the table, you can create your own table and invite others to join you. Amazing things happen when women support each other.” – Robin Miller (Director of Channel Engagement at Channel Program).
Get more information on #BreaktheBias from CompTIA’s Advancing Women in Technology Interest Group today!

Breaking the Bias: Tech leaders share their stories of how they overcame adversity to find success
Scroll to top