New Year, New Insights: Inspirational Quotes from Women in Tech for 2024

A list of some of our favorite quotes about career growth, leadership, and navigating the job search from our Office Hours series.

To kick off the new year with a burst of inspiration and motivation, we've curated a collection of quotes with advice from the brilliant women featured in our Office Hours series .

These quotes address the challenges and celebrate the opportunities that exist for women in tech to find success in both career and personal growth.

From overcoming impostor syndrome to discovering different leadership styles, from balancing motherhood and career growth to navigating the highs and lows of the job search, from launching a startup and redefining failure and success, these quotes encapsulate the diverse experiences of women in tech.

This resource is dedicated to the remarkable women who continuously share their stories and advice to help others navigate and succeed in their careers.

Career Growth

On "climbing the ladder"

Treat your career like a playground rather than a career ladder. Can you prioritize taking on new experiences based on how they'll round out your skill set, scratch your itches, or give you energy, rather than try to just march up a career ladder? A lot of early career people put too much worth on climbing the ladder. Play on the slide, try the seesaw, move around, try different things, figure out what fills your cup, and your career progress will feel more meaningful, more purposeful, more you!”

🎙 From our Office Hours with Nickey Skarstad , Director of Product Management at Duolingo

On career strategy

I’ve since embraced thinking about careers as a process of discovery versus strategy. You’re accumulating skills and experiences that will become your building blocks, and you can later put those building blocks together in whatever way you want. In the near-term, that means optimizing for learning—letting yourself feel the pull of curiosity, and not worrying yet about what that next step will be.” 

✨ From our Office Hours with Ashley Mayer , Co-founder and GP at Coalition Operators

On discovering your flow

“Flow is where you experience high skill and high challenge. Musicians and artists often understand getting into flow state! Knowing that I wanted to have a job where more of my time was spent in flow state, I started finding activities/moments across all past jobs to understand what those times were and then see if I could make a job out of it.”

💡 From our Office Hours with Jessica Talbert , UX Research Manager at Chime

Personal Growth

On learning to say no

“When you grow up as a generalist and can flex into other areas, or are known as a "fixer" it can be very hard to say no. Learning to say no means you are able to say yes to what is really for you. This sounds overly simple, but it is so hard. My best advice in scaling communities and my career is learning how to get great at saying yes to the highest potential things and then being ok with "strategically underachieving" in things that don't require my A-game.”

⭐️ From our Office Hours with Colleen Curtis , Head of Community Experience at Reddit

On avoiding burnout

“Burnout is also known as “the cost of caring too much”. The biggest takeaway from my burnout experience was not to care less but to care differently. To avoid burnout, we need to care about ourselves “too much”. Not in a selfish way, but in a self-protective way. When we deeply know our worth and how much we have to bring to the table, we can set better boundaries, put our own oxygen mask first, and approach achievement and career growth with a self-compassionate mindset.”

🚀 From our Office Hours with Irina Stanescu , Engineering Leader

On public speaking

Never forget, you deserve to be where you are, and people came there to listen to you. Not a perfect version of you. Sometimes things go wrong, and they do (technical issues, or you stumble on your words). If you do, pause. Take a deep breath and laugh about it. People remember memorable 3-4 quotes from talks, not your mistakes and inconsistencies. Nail those.”

🎙 From our Office Hours with Leah Tharin , Product Leader

On dealing with impostor syndrome

The root of imposter syndrome is a worthiness issue. I don't feel worthy to be here. I don't feel worthy enough to be in this role. I don't feel good enough. I'm not enough. Once I understood that, it changed my relationship to imposter syndrome. Of course, I'm worthy. Of course, I'm enough. Of course I deserve to be here like everyone else. Of course, I'm worthy enough to be in this role. Instead, when that feeling comes up, I shift it to ‘What about this moment is making me uncomfortable?’ vs. ‘I don't feel like I belong here’. Switching it to discomfort is easier to solve for – maybe I feel like I don't understand the topic enough....well that's an easy fix – ask questions, say you don't understand or go gain knowledge.” 

✨ From our Office Hours with Maya Watson , Co-founder and CEO at Manual

On receiving feedback

“Not (always) taking feedback personally: I've been given contrary feedback on the same program or situation so many times! However, (a) if people are walking up to you and giving their feedback, accept it as a gift, then (b) choose what to do with that gift - open it immediately, store it in your cubby for later, pass it on immediately - all of those are actions. As hard as it is, the one thing I refuse to do is believe it’s about me. I try my hardest to peel the layers to get to the core issue and, only then, make a determination to move forward, especially if there is a realization of an error. In doing this, I hope to lead by example.”

⭐️ From our Office Hours with Nupur Sinha , Director of People Ops at Mekonos

Management and leadership

On leadership expectations

“Don't be afraid to ask questions or ask for help. Leaders are not expected to have all the answers, but they are expected to not be fazed by the unknown and go solve for it.” 

🎙 From our Office Hours with Shailvi Wakhlu , former Head of Data at Strava

“I learned quickly that while you cannot be loved by all especially when you move up the leadership ladder, you can certainly strive to be respected by most for what you stand for.” 

✨ From our Office Hours with Chetana Deorah , Fellowship Partner at Coho

Being an "executive" does not mean working day and night. To me, it means having an owner mentality versus an employee one, which ultimately comes down to accountability. An owner feels accountability for the performance of an overall company, business unit, or product, whereas an employee primarily feels accountability for themselves and their goals.”

⭐️ From our Office Hours with Jameelah Calhoun , Global Head of Product and Consumer Marketing at Eventbrite

On key leadership skills

“I'll combine inquisitiveness and assuming nothing, if you can call the latter a skill. Assuming nothing means that I like to start understanding scenarios from the beginning, and when it comes to identifying customer problems, that's helpful because it ensures we get to the core problem and that we're not landing on the wrong hypothesis that's actually standing on an assumption that we didn't validate. The inquisitiveness is somewhat related because it means that I religiously practice asking the 5 whys (or 7? however many it takes) to get to the bottom of the core problem statement.”

🚀 From our Office Hours with Sarah Koo , Head of Product at Gem

On values-led leadership

“If I try to draw a parallel between building a team and building a house, then values are the foundation of this building. We can indeed form a building without a foundation - but how long will it last? And how big and strong can you keep this building, how many floors will you add there, and will everything not fly away with the slightest wind? I think values-led leadership helps you achieve common goals effectively by ensuring that the same core principles drive every team member, but at the same time isn't limited by a defined written process.

🎙 From our Office Hours with Anna Glukhova , Engineering Manager at Grammarly

On leadership styles

“Familiarize yourself with the idea of situational leadership. You want to understand the difference between telling/directing and coaching/guiding. Certain situations call for different approaches, but if you spend too much time on the "directing/telling" area, you're probably not giving your team enough room to grow and find their own answers.

✨ From our Office Hours with Abbie Kouzmanoff , Director of Product Management at Amplitude

“There are many ways to get results through different leadership styles. A visionary leader can inspire a large team to follow her vision. While that same visionary leader can't focus on the details needed to get a software release delivered to a customer. My advice is to adapt your leadership to fit the situation and stay true to your values. Also, learn the tradeoffs of different leadership styles to add to your leadership skills.”

⭐️ From our Office Hours with Amy Mitchell , Product Director at Dell

Startups & Venture Capital

On fundraising

“Be relentless in articulating why the world needs your business and demonstrate a path towards building a scalable business. Also, know that if fundraising is not going well, sometimes you need to hit the pause button and try again when market dynamics and things that are outside of your control are better aligned with the business you are pitching.

👉 From our Office Hours with Ritu Narayan , Founder & CEO of Zūm

 “I would encourage everyone to build your network before you need it. I started Cake with a really strong network and that carried me through to successfully closing the fund. Fundraises fail on two things: you run out of intros or you run out of money.”

🎙 From our Office Hours with Monique Woodard , Founding Partner and Managing Director at Cake VC

On success

“Ultimately, my marker for a good idea is that the further you dig, the more potential you see in it. No company gets it 100% right the first time — pivoting Amazon or AirBnB, for example. You can’t always anticipate success—but you CAN believe in the product you’re building. If you think it’s got a lot to offer the world, go for it. The worst that can happen is you get some pretty powerful career experience.

💡 From our Office Hours with Adrienne Hatter , Head of Recruiting at Volley

Your superpower as an entrepreneur is not that you failed or succeeded. It is "how" you did it. It's important that you position yourself through the difficulties that you went through and how you approached the solution to them.” 

⭐️ From our Office Hours with Leah Tharin , Product Leader

Job Hunting

On making it easy to connect the dots

“Do the things that will get you the next job. Be the obvious choice. Let there be a trail of breadcrumbs that make you the obvious person. Write blog posts or build a website, even if they’re just for a future hiring manager. Want a chief of staff role? Interview 5 chiefs of staff and throw out a substack analysis of what you learned. It’s not about making sure everyone knows you did it, it’s about proving to the people that matter that you clearly get it. Are you applying for those jobs? If not, do it. Keep on doing it. You’ll get better at it over time, and eventually you’ll get the interviews. Take each bullet on the job description, and show how you’ve done that before. (Literally, make it as easy as possible for them to say “we need X, she has done X.”

🚀 From our Office Hours with Erzsi Souza , Brand Consultant for climate companies

“If you can, make yourself a thought leader in some form or another: write blog posts, join local networking groups (shoutout Elpha!), write about causes you care about, share them on your profiles. Make yourself a candidate with the right experience, and a unique voice. Ultimately, recruiters are reaching out to people who fit the parameters that the Hiring Managers are asking for—that could be years of experience, industry-related work, a certain tech stack, niche product spaces, anything. You can’t do much about not fitting the exact parameters of an unknown hiring manager — but you can put yourself out there in as many places as possible…and ensure that when people visit your profile, it’s clean, strong & up to date.”

💡 From our Office Hours with Adrienne Hatter , Head of Recruiting at Volley

Navigating Career Transitions

On having non-traditional background in tech

“Entering the tech world with a non-technical background was undoubtedly a challenge, not only because I had to gain the trust of those who had to see me as a technical person, but also because I had to overcome my own self-imposed limitations. Throughout my career, I've approached every opportunity with the awareness that there are unknowns, and it'll be hella foolish to pretend I know it all.[...] This is the beauty of tech; what’s new and fresh now may not be that tomorrow…a testament to the idea that continuous learning and a fearless approach can bridge gaps and enable personal growth in the tech industry, regardless of one's initial background.”

🎙 From our Office Hours with Andrea Griffiths , Senior Product Manager at Github

On pivoting to engineering

“My take on who should go into engineering is everyone who is interested! Why? Technology benefits from diverse teams and tech companies are struggling to find diverse engineers, so in short: we need you! What I advise to folks who have expertise in a different field is to find a tech company (startup or more consolidated) that would benefit from that domain expertise. That way, you can come in as an SME while you start / continue to get better at programming, if that’s what’s calling you.”

✨ From our Office Hours with Ariadna Font Llitjos , former Senior Director of Engineering at Twitter

Balancing motherhood and a career

On valuing time with yourself

I've noticed that I'm a better parent when I make self-care a priority. Things like time blocking, learning to delegate, and ensuring I do activities that keep me sane (like yoga or spending quality time with my partner) are just as crucial as being fully present with my kids. In fact, these things help me be more present because I value my time as much as theirs.”

✨ From our Office Hours with Andrea Griffiths , Senior Product Manager at Github

On redefining your “100%"

“Some days will be a blur and you may not feel "good enough" in any of your roles at home or at work. So I think it's important to remember that your 100% now may be different than your 100% before kids and will be different again 1 year from now. No matter what, doing your best is always enough. Lots of grace and compassion.”

⭐️ From our Office Hours with Ashley Pare , CEO and Founder at Own Your Worth

On asking for help

If you have a village to lean on, don't hesitate to reach out to them. It doesn't make you any less of a good mother, and your kids will love you just as much. I've personally struggled with asking for help, even from my partner, but I eventually learned the hard way that there's bravery in seeking assistance. Growing up in a rather dysfunctional Latin family where roles were defined in what I consider a toxic manner, I'm now raising two boys. I hope that if they choose to become parents with a partner one day, they do it as true equals and without guilt.”

🚀 From our Office Hours with Andrea Griffiths , Senior Product Manager at Github


On speaking up

“Speak up, speak out, be bold in naming things for what they are. Call out biases, misogyny, inequity. Many ways to do it BTW. You can do it in a way that is bold and angry or in a way that feels like you're guiding a meditation. Whatever suits your vibe. Generally - you'll make enemies. But then again - did you even want them as friends in the first place? Lesson: this felt empowering to me and helped me understand I am not everyone's cup of tea. Question for you: what could that look like for you?”

✨ From our Office Hours with Maria Potoroczyn , Director of Product at Visa

We hope this collection of quotes helps guide and inspire you in your career so that you can navigate it with clarity and confidence. 💜

👀  For more insights like these, join us for Office Hours to access expert advice from our featured guests on Elpha every week.

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