Beyond the Boys Club
Elise Hernandez has spent her entire career in boys clubs.
In her first position as a sales administrator for a large printer manufacturer, Hernandez, now 41, worked with one other woman in a company almost entirely made up of men.
"She taught me how to be assertive," says Hernandez of her first mentor.
Even after being promoted to manager for Mexico sales at a different U.S. technology company, Hernandez was not allowed to travel alone and her management style was often criticized.Her male boss wanted her to use more masculine tactics like banging her fists on the table to get a point across. When Hernandez refused, her job suffered. "I closed one of the largest sales in the company's history, and then was demoted after being told that a woman had no business managing male-dominant countries
Her Own WayHernandez remained a female minority in the tech field, but she didn't let this become an obstacle when she started her own Minnesota-based technology company,
How She Did ItTen years ago, Hernandez saw very few women at technology seminars and training events. "Even today, you find 75% of the room filled with men," she says. Regardless, women like Hernandez use some simple rules to help them thrive: Know Your Product: Hernandez's first mentor taught her how lethal it can be to give misinformation. Know everything about what you're selling, advises Hernandez. "Most importantly, deliver a high-quality product," says Marsha Firestone, founder of
A New NetworkWomen working in traditionally male fields can draw support from organizations that seek to create female networks. The
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