International Women’s Day 2019: the women of tentree
tentree’s push to become the most eco-progressive company on the planet usually has our initiatives reaching outward, extending branches of environmentally conscious stories in an effort to inspire new communities to see the world a bit differently, and with new appreciation for an environment they could have been taking for granted.
Today, in honour of International Women’s Day, instead of branching out to bring appreciation and awareness, we’re reaching within for inspiration and looking to the women who make up more than half of tentree’s workforce and work so hard to help us protect the world we play in.
We interviewed four women from four different departments, backgrounds and ages to get a sense of their personal drive, and how they draw their individual strengths to help elevate the impact of their role.
Web Development Manager
"The assumption a lot of the time is that developers are male; when I introduce myself, the response usually is "oh, you're a female dev!". I am never just a developer."
Christine is our Web Development Manager, and ensures your web experience at tentree is an amazing one. With a growing team of developers under her leadership, her vibrant personality, quick wit, and perseverance deftly steers them through every project successfully.
Traditionally, this industry can be very male-dominated, with women only representing 20% of all tech jobs with only 5% of women owning their own tech start-ups. (Forbes).
What are some of the challenges you have faced?
“I feel lucky in my a career at tentree, I haven’t had to deal with sexism related to my role. However, I have felt it in previous jobs. As an example, I was on an email thread for work that needed to be done for a client, and even though my email said ‘Christine’, they assumed my name was Chris and directed me as a male. The assumption a lot of the time is that developers are male; when I introduce myself, the response usually is "oh, you're a female dev!". I am never just a developer."
What strengths as a woman do you find most valuable to your role?
“My confidence has helped me the most in my role. There is a lot of decision-making, calls I need to make, and being confident in myself helps me and my team work better. It can be seen as a “masculine trait”, or have feedback that you’re being too aggressive, but I feel really blessed for my team who are respectful and have never given me that kind of feedback.”
What is your personal mantra?
“This year, ‘it’s self-care’. Really eating well, listening to my body and just understanding that when I don’t listen to my body, my work suffers, personal relationship suffers, and when I take care of myself inside out, everything works so much better and I flourish.”
The tech industry is still rife with gender bias, stereotypical stigma, and underrepresentation of women in STEM programs, women like Christine who are unequivocally confident, and adamantly talented should be celebrated and brought closer to the surface, because the future generation of girls who dream to become coders, or web designers should see that women can and should succeed in this industry. Which is why we’re proud to have our web team led by such a talented woman like Christine.
“It can be intimidating being in a room filled with confident men speaking their mind. Having the courage to speak up is huge and only gets easier each time.”
You may have seen Laurie’s work in more ways than one. While she provides her creative talents every week designing our email campaigns, she’s also our office star model, occasionally stepping in for photoshoots, and overall helping us look good in every medium and platform. In the office, there isn’t a soul who is immune to her infectious laugh and kind demeanor. Laurie actually began as an intern two and a half years ago, and we knew we couldn’t do without her since day one.
What's your own personal mantra?
“I sometimes have troubles remembering that I don’t need to please everyone around me. My mantra to myself is that not everyone is going to like you and not everyone will be happy with your choices – and that is okay. At the end of the day, always do what makes you happy and work hard to get to where you want to be. Because it’s your life that you will be remembering at the end. Make sure it makes you smile.”
What three strengths as a woman do you find most valuable to your role?
“Confidence: You don’t have to know everything, but if you can be confident in your own ideas and yourself that can take you a long way.
Self Awareness: "It’s easy to have words put into your mouth and just go along with the flow. But If you know who you are, what you believe in and what you stand for it’s easier to find your voice in the field and be confident when among your peers."
Courage: "It can be intimidating being in a room filled with confident men speaking their mind. Having the courage to speak up is huge and only gets easier each time.”
With women constantly facing backlash and denigration whenever they speak up, it’s easy to get discouraged, or submissive. Laurie’s courage to voice her opinions and ideas may seem inconsequential, but it sets a balanced standard in the office: that everyone’s voice is valued and should be heard.
Beca Marroquin Rodriguez
Customer Experience Coordinator
“Don’t get discouraged. Just keep trying hard and going for that position you always dreamed of.”
Have you ever called into our Customer Care line at tentree? Chatted about our products on Messenger? Or emailed our customer care inbox? Chances are you’ve been helped by Beca, our Customer Experience Coordinator. Some people were meant to be a voice of a brand, and ours is Beca. Her warm personality, and helpful demeanor ensures our customers always feel they’re being heard and taken care of. She’s also the in-house expert of our various warehouses, distribution centres, delivery partners, and product information.
What strength do you have as a woman that’s valuable to your role?
“My positive attitude. It’s always important to just cool down, really analyse the situation, and make sure your employees who are going to help you through are stress-free, so you can all tackle the issue with a very good mindset.”
Who do you look up to as a role model?
“My biggest role model is my sister. Because she is so strong, confident—super smart and just unapologetically herself.”
Having been with tentree for almost two years (a year and seven months to be exact), what advice would you give women just starting out in the workplace?
“I would say just be confident, be yourself, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. And if you do make mistakes, own up to them but don’t get discouraged. Just keep trying hard and going for that position you always dreamed of.”
When roughly 60% of women say they want to be a top executive compared to 72% of men, Beca provides a refreshing motivation for young women. Believe in your dreams, believe in your capabilities to achieve, and keep striving for the top.
“You are better than you think you are. And always ask for more.”
Sasha Bricel is our Marketing Manager, making sure tentree’s story is told and heard around the world. A passionate feminist, advocate for female empowerment and strong voice, she can be seen and heard inspiring women in our community by giving talks and encouragement on overcoming everyday obstacles.
So with Sasha being such a strong female leader, we couldn’t think of a better person to ask this question: what advice would you give women just starting out in the workplace?
“Don’t take things personally. You’re better than you think you are. And always ask for more.”
What is the number one strength as a woman you find most valuable to your role?
“Resilience. When you’re in leadership position in a corporate world, you’re dealing with a lot of difficult conversations, gender bias, and ignorance around the realities of what we have to deal with around the workplace. It’s not about how you win or how you succeed, it’s how you fail and how you get back up."
With women continually making less than men in almost any industry, the key is not only to survive, but to learn to thrive in the workplace. Facing these looming obstacles and boundaries, a woman’s resilience is crucial for it eventually lets them build the confidence to vocalize their worth and capabilities—that women are just as valuable as men. There are generations of challenging gender biases to overcome, and will be generations further before the world sees parities in the workplace. But with women like Sasha representing the power of women, the journey to balance and equality is a triumph in of itself. Because, as Sasha says,
“It’s not about if you fail, it’s about how you get back up.”
It’s easy for us at tentree to highlight the strengths and accomplishments of women when we have such wealth of talented women to showcase on a daily basis. But the unfortunate truth remains women are still being actively held back from their true potential.
- Roughly 4 in 10 women (42%) in the US say they face discrimination on the job due to their gender
- 25% earn less than a man doing the same job
- 15% receive less support from senior leaders than their male coworkers
- 10% have been passed over for important assignments
- 7% been denied a promotion
And further studies show that these numbers don’t improve with age, or education.
Since tentree’s beginnings, we have grown as a company into an organization that actively celebrates inclusiveness, and we pride ourselves by building an environment that’s sustainable and nurturing for everybody. Yet, we know there is still work to be done. And by elevating our women employees, it’s one step closer to an equal and balanced world. We’re proud to celebrate International Women’s Day, and we’re even more proud to make equality a standard in our workplace every day of the year.
Happy International Women’s Day,