STEM: Industry Professionals Share Tips and Tidbits

A woman stands in a lab coat.

On International Women’s Day, a group of employees from Nike joined us for a discussion on Women in STEM. With high representation from the University of Washington, Columbia University, and UC Berkeley, this webinar provided eager learners with the opportunity to hear from women working in a, typically, homogeneous field.

The Nike panelists spanned a wide array of positions and areas in STEM. Their roles include Process Engineer, Principal Business Architect, and Lead Technology Product Manager, to name a few. Each industry professional was given a topic and breakout room. Topics ranged from Interview Prep and Networking, to How to Be an Ally. 

Missed the event? You can still join in on the fun. Read along to learn more about some of the key takeaways from breakout room sessions on overcoming barriers and working internationally as a woman in STEM.

Overcoming barriers

Nina Lasswell works on the Data Analytics Supply Chain Product Team with big Nike products. She got a foot in the door at Nike by working in retail and, then, moved onto their rotational program. 

Nina Lasswell

During her time in college at Marquette University, she was one of two girls in her Computer Science and Engineering program. Lasswell gives credit for her success in the field to blending “non impressive work experience with education.” She shared some advice on overcoming challenges and barriers in the field, below.

On challenges:

“Hard experiences are what change the future for your narrative and field.”

On barriers like pay and representation:

“If I am not going to stand up for myself, no one will.”

On interacting with colleagues: 

“Find your voice and challenge people. Find trusted allies and supporters.” 

On leadership and getting involved:

“Be the change you want to see. Nike wants to help change the narrative. Think about what the north star is and how you want to get there. Use your soft skills of leading, speaking, and beyond to help propel you.”

On taking chances:

“Every job is different. More often than not it [list of job requirements] is not accurate. If you have alternate experiences, know how to use transferable skills.”

International Women in Tech

Mika Chesnutt

Mika Chesnutt works on the team for Nike’s Training Club and Run Club Apps as an EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) Platform Manager. This is her first position abroad, as she is now living in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and hails from Portland, Oregon. 

Chesnutt formerly had her sights set to work as a software engineer, until she realized that she had a much greater interest in product work.

In her breakout room, Chesnutt uses her own experience, having moved positions within Nike multiple times, to inform attendees on what it is like to work internationally, how to overcome cultural barriers in the workplace, and what Nike tends to look for in candidates [from her perspective].

On Global Languages in Product:

“Make sure your solution is applicable to different geographies with different applications and stakeholders. Even just looking on an app in a different country is unique – the app is built to fit your language, etc.”

On Overcoming Cultural Barriers:

“Different cultures have different work ethics and communication styles – you pick up on different cues as you go. Build one-on-one relationships with people on the team to learn about their unique cultural differences. This helps to interpret communication styles. [It] Takes time, but helps to understand where people are coming from.”

On Nike and Getting Hired:

“Nike looks for passion and interest in sport. At the end of the day Nike’s mission is to build athletes around the globe – looking for people that are part of that greater mission: team players.”

How to Pivot into STEM or Nike:

“I am a big believer that, no matter the experience, it’s all part of your story and you can contribute. Make sure to network!”

For more STEM related resources, check out industry landing pages like Computer Science, Web Development, Data Science, and more!

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Leadership: Industry Professional Shares Tips and Tidbits

A strong advocate for gender equality in the tech industry, Kanksha Masrani co-leads the Women in STEM Recruiting Team at Procter & Gamble. She says that strong leadership is dependent on three things: your principles, leading yourself first, and asking for what you need.

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