Celebrating International Women’s Day
Insights and advice from the women of NETSCOUT
Part 1 of a two-part series
Happy International Women’s Day! Recognized annually on March 8, International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. The IWD community asks us to “Imagine a gender-equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #EmbraceEquity.”
With that in mind, we asked some of the women working at NETSCOUT to share their career and life experiences and offer advice for other professional women.
How did you get into the field in which you’re currently working?
“I liked my computer science classes in high school. They were about solving a problem, almost like playing a game or solving a puzzle. I found that it came naturally to me, and I enjoyed helping others who were struggling with the classes. I originally thought of studying bioengineering, because I wanted to work on prosthetics, but I thought I’d have more flexibility with a background in computer science and mechanical engineering, so I chose to pursue my major in this area. Once at university, I was sought out by companies needing software engineers as part of their coop/intern program, which is what led me into the telecommunications industry. I enjoyed the industry and the people I worked with, so I finished my degree in computer science and went to work full-time in telecommunications.”—A. Gutierrez, Program Manager, Engineering Operations, Allen, Texas
“Once I got back from traveling [after being made redundant at her first post-graduate job], I needed to start again. It was quite daunting. Many of my friends were already moving up the career ladder, and I was just starting at the bottom again! Finance was still an option; I enjoyed the industry and had done a few courses to improve my skill set within that industry. However, fate intervened, and I ended up being invited for an interview day. After eight hours of various types of interviews—from one-to-ones to group tasks and challenges—I was offered the job as a graduate renewal rep! That was almost seven years ago, and now I work as the renewals manager after progressing from rep to team lead to security manager to international manager.”—Elizabeth Wilde, International Renewals Manager, Bracknell, England
“I had to learn computers during my senior year in high school and was mesmerized when I realized how writing a few lines of code can make a huge change. That was the start of my liking for computers.”—Raji Srinivasan, Director, Business Systems, Westford, Massachusetts
“A friend of mine left the job and asked me to cover for her.”—Stefania Santunione, Office Administrator, Modena, Italy
What is one thing companies could do to support working women or attract more women to their workforces?
“The main thing I can think of is having women in senior positions within the department they are applying for. Often when you question how many women are in senior positions and so forth, the women are all in HR or finance. Having women leaders that can provide role models for women in all areas shows what you can achieve and that these areas are also an option. Also asking for a variety of CVs, 50/50 men, and women, so that the starting pool is even, no matter the outcome.”—Elizabeth Wilde, International Renewals Manager, Bracknell, England
“Equal pay is the single most important thing. Flexible working hours and training come directly after it.”—Elena Peev, Account Manager, Government, Schwalbach, Germany
“Encourage and hire more women and provide opportunities outside their area of work to see how new leaders can be developed.”—Raji Srinivasan, Director, Business Systems, Westford, Massachusetts
“Open nurseries inside their offices.”—Stefania Santunione, Office Administrator, Modena, Italy
“Stop considering that hiring a woman could be a risk because she could be pregnant (in France we have around three months off for the birth of a child) or that she could be less focused on work because she must juggle between family life and work life. When I was hired, being a woman was seen as a positive point. However, after my marriage, at a former company, my French manager asked me regularly during our yearly evaluation if I was planning to have children in the coming year. Conversely, when I was pregnant with my second daughter and told my German manager at a subsequent job, I saw he needed a few minutes but then he told me he was happy for me and that he and the team would manage my time off. This kind of reaction motivated me to do good work with this team. As for the [perceived] risk, now in Germany fathers can also have long paternity leave.
Also, what helped me to have a good work/life balance was the flexibility to work from the office and from home and organize my time. I could organize myself to juggle with kids’ constraints and still focus on my work. I loved the attitude of my first n+2 manager: Diversity in gender and culture is enrichment, even if this sometimes requires effort to understand and adapt to each other’s reactions linked to different cultures or genders.”—Claire Baron, Principal Sales Proposal Engineer, France
What do you do just for joy? Just for you?
“I love to watch movies, shop, walk outside on trails, and listen to music. Being outside on a beautiful day as the sun sets, hearing the birds, smelling the air, it’s magic.”—Heather Broughton, Area Vice President, Product Marketing, Allen, Texas
“I love the outdoors, spending lots of time hiking, running, and cycling in the mountains whenever I can. I’m part of a running group that helped me get to know the town I recently moved to as it’s so far away from friends and family. Traveling is also one of my favorite things to do, be it a new city or a new country. Just getting to go away and experience new food, new places, and new people even just for a weekend is a great way to wind down after a hectic week!”—Elizabeth Wilde, International Renewals Manager, Bracknell, England
“When I am not diving or hiking, I spend most of my time in my garden if I am at home.”—Elena Peev, Account Manager, Government, Schwalbach, Germany
“I love to cook and walk on trails.”—Raji Srinivasan, Director, Business Systems, Westford, Massachusetts
“Sports—running and Yoga—and watching movies.”—Stefania Santunione, Office Administrator, Modena, Italy
“Have time with my daughters, meet friends and family, read, Nordic walk with a group, music. I also love to travel.”—Claire Baron, Principal Sales Proposal Engineer, France
Any life pro tips for other women?
“Don’t work for the weekend. Choose to balance your life every day and spend time with those you love. Every day is a gift, and if you just think about the weekend, you will be missing a lot of time you can spend living.”—Heather Broughton, Area Vice President, Product Marketing, Allen, Texas
“What you have to offer is just as good or better than some men may want you to think or believe. Don’t ever give up or fall into their false perception. There are some good men that will lift you up, support you, allow you to grow to your full potential, and give credit where credit is due… ignore the others. Support other women.”—A. Gutierrez, Program Manager, Engineering Operations, Allen, Texas
“If you’re being made redundant, take the money and have fun. The next job will always be there, but the life experiences from travelling or trying out a new hobby or region are unmatched!”—Elizabeth Wilde, International Renewals Manager, Bracknell, England
“Always be a problem solver. Walk in others’ shoes to understand and help.”—Raji Srinivasan, Director, Business Systems, Westford, Massachusetts
“Feel free to do what makes you happy; make your dreams come true, at work or in your life, always respecting other people.”—Stefania Santunione, Office Administrator, Modena, Italy
“Don’t think you cannot do something because you are a woman: If you want to do it, you can. It’s a matter of choice.”— Claire Baron, Principal Sales Proposal Engineer, France
Read Part 2 here.
Learn more about International Women’s Day.