How to be an effective self-advocate technology leader in a typically male-dominated space.

Built In Chicago asked eight professional women in Chicago tech what has helped them overcome fears or doubts that accompany advocating for themselves in a typically male-dominated space.

Here’s what SDI’s Senior Delivery Executive Shanna Rahming has to say: 

Shanna Rahming, a senior delivery executive, doesn’t let herself accept “good enough.” She shared an experience from her time as the CIO of the state of Nevada that inspires the work she does at IT consultancy and managed services provider at SDI Presence

How have you gotten past any fears or doubts about advocating for and promoting yourself, your accomplishments, and your abilities?

You must know and believe that you are doing the right thing for your client, employer, community, etc. It’s not simply a matter of subject matter expertise. Passion and drive make you successful. Share your passion with your boss and other stakeholders to show that you are the right person to accomplish the work.

What advice do you have for women who may feel like their contributions are being overlooked in the workplace?

Share your passion for what you are doing, whether it be through status reports, one-on-one conversations or newsletters. If your company has expert groups that meet to educate each other or new staff members, join one. Attend local group meetings. This will allow people outside of your organization to see your expertise.

Share an example of a time when self-advocacy paid off. What did you learn from this experience?

When I was the CIO of the state of Nevada, I wanted to get involved with a state-level cybersecurity project. I worked hard to learn the information I needed to know to make sure that we could participate. I filled out surveys and applications, explaining information succinctly and thoroughly. I made sure that my higher-ups understood the benefits the opportunity would bring us.

I then confirmed that the application was top-notch and that my team was ready to perform at a high level. I was rewarded with the knowledge that I had made the project happen.