71. Carol Smith (she/her – UX Researcher

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“Find people who believe in you and keep in touch with them.”

Tell us a little bit about what a typical day looks like for you.

My days vary greatly. I might be planning a study, observing or interviewing people to learn about their work, analyzing research and/or working with colleagues to identify issues or solve problems.

How do you stay passionate in your career?

I am lucky in that I love what I do. I get energy from reading articles on social media and I find conferences and local events to be a great source of camaraderie and fun.

Did you have a traditional path into tech (i.e.: CS/IT degree transitioned into tech job)?

I stared out as a photojournalist, then moved into customer service. I wanted a more fulfilling role, and while looking for an MBA program I was lucky enough to come across the Human-Computer Interaction program at DePaul University where I completed my MS.

Are there any apps, software, or tools you cannot live without?

I’m agnostic when it comes to tools and I switch graphic related applications every few years. I rely most frequently on paper and pencil/pen/marker, a powerful spreadsheet tool (Excel) and a PDF reader (Adobe Acrobat Pro).

It’s common knowledge that women and femmes often face obstacles in the tech industry based on their gender. Have you ever had to deal with this type of experience and if so how did you handle it?

My entire career I’ve worked in majority male organizations, with limited female leadership. Due to being “different” and probably unconscious biases, I believe I’ve been passed over for opportunities. This has resulted in my choosing to change companies and pursue new opportunities rather than wait to find out if I was right.

What’s your favorite thing about being a part of the #womenintech community?

My favorite thing is meeting people new to the field and helping them feel welcomed! I love connecting people to our great community in Pittsburgh and showing it off!

If applicable, how have you given back to the WIT community?

I love mentoring people who are new to their careers (regardless of stage of life) and I speak at events regularly to share knowledge and to represent women on stage. When I organize events (which is frequently) I initiate efforts to have representation in the program of women, people of color, people with disabilities and other groups.

What is a piece of advice you would give to others wanting to or currently pursuing a career in tech?

Be persistent, do informational interviews with people who are willing. Find people who believe in you and keep in touch with them. If you like to learn, attend conferences and local events – offer to volunteer if money is tight. If you like to speak, submit proposals to conferences and local events.

Tell us about a time you felt extremely accomplished in the past year. 

I’ve been invited to speak at 2 events outside the USA this month (Montreal in Feb and Austria in Oct)!

Favorite quote:

I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.

—Rebecca West, author and journalist (21 Dec 1892-1983)


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Pittsburgh headquartered global technology firm, Accion Labs specializes in helping technology firms and IT organizations implement their digital transformation initiatives using emerging technologies such as Cloud, Web, Mobile, ML/AI, data analytics, and Big Data.

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