Interview by Brooke Lazar
Tricia Gressle, vice president of Randstad Technologies' delivery, knows what it is like to juggle many tasks on a daily basis. She explains what her job entails and what she enjoys most about it.
Brooke Lazar (BL): What does being the vice president of Randstad Technologies' delivery entail?
Tricia Gressle (TG):
I work in Randstad Technologies' national strategic organization where I perform multiple jobs. My main job is to lead our project plans and manage the implementation when we bring new accounts into our strategic portfolio (that we use to organize accounts).
Another key responsibility of mine is to lead a team of managers who focus on retention and redeployment of our talent within strategic accounts. My management team monitors deadlines and works with consultants and managers to extend an assignment or help place them in their next assignment.
I also work on special projects, like requests for proposals (RFPs) or requests for information (RFIs), for supplier services within the national strategic portfolio, and specific customer projects around awareness, compliance needs, or campaigns.
I prefer to keep busy, so I ask for more projects. I have a wonderful boss who I have worked with for many years. He knows I will raise my hand and say "enough" when I am overwhelmed.
BL: What do you like most about working in the technology industry?
One of the best things about the technology industry is that it is always changing. I have worked in other industries but have found that I enjoy a more fast-paced, changing industry where you have to keep your skills updated because of growth over the years. The technology industry has great career opportunities.
BL: What obstacles have you had to overcome throughout your career?
I see them as opportunities rather than obstacles. Early in my career, I applied for a promotion, but my boss told me I was too young. He did not feel that I could manage people older than me. Since then I decided to take more responsibility and add more to my skills and experience.
Several years ago, in a position at another company, I was at a conference with a new manager. We were doing a presentation to 100 sales employees in the company. During the presentation, my boss made a few derogatory comments toward women and minorities. It was difficult because I had only worked for him a short time. I kept my composure, and I pulled him aside after the meeting and said, "Please don't put me in that situation again." I went to my hotel room, called our travel department, and booked a ticket home. When I got to the office the next morning, HR greeted me, and our general council asked me what happened because many people already called with complaints.
I took this situation as a learning experience about what is acceptable and what is not. I have never been put in a situation again where anyone would say those comments.
BL: Was that the only situation that has discouraged you or been an issue when it comes to gender?
It was. I have always embraced different roles. I am the only female on the strategic accounts leadership team within Randstad Technologies, but I do not feel like I am. We treat each other as equals, we trust each other, and we respect each other. We put all challenges on the table, and we work together to drive results for customers, our talent, and Randstad. It had been refreshing.
BL: Do you think we will ever see a resolution to the inequality between men and women in tech?
We are on our way to having it resolved. I do not see how we cannot be; more than half the population is female. To overcome the challenges, we must bring more awareness to the issue. We have to continue to encourage our daughters, nieces, and other young ladies that we come in contact with that it is okay to study science and technology, engineering, and math. We need the creativity, the empathetic listener, and the manager who hears what we are saying.
BL: What are some things you value about working at an organization like Randstad?
It is the only company I have worked in where we constantly think about our core values. In doing so, we respect each other, we trust each other, and it allows us to always be thinking about what is right.
A female leads Randstad North America, and about 50% of her leadership team is also female. I see this leadership as an advantage for women in Randstad as we are fostering equality within the company. Randstad has always made me feel comfortable, and my career has progressed. I have been here seven years, and I have been in four different roles, all of which were career progression.
At Randstad, we have a strong commitment to social responsibility, and with that responsibility we also offer mentoring and training opportunities, both internal and external. We do a lot of partnering with different organizations to help women grow their careers. We stand behind what we say. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Randstad is a company that expects equality and diversity and embraces it.
BL: Why would you say that being in a network like WITI is important for women in technology?
As women in technology we need to support each other. We need to make sure that we are building a network of talented leaders. That is important for all companies. We have that expectation to train, lead, guide, and mentor others, and that is what WITI does.
Brooke Lazar is the multimedia strategist, digital editor, and content manager for WITI. She has a BA in Professional and Technical Writing from Youngstown State University. To immerse herself in the writing world, she spends her free time reading and researching writing styles to edit individual manuscripts accordingly.
Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.
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