Bloomington, IL,
09
March
2020
|
06:33 PM
America/Chicago

Be Bold. Be at the table. Be you.

Women in tech reveal steps to business success, and why you can do it, too.

Meet Sudha, Deborah, Collette and Ines. Four women. Four different backgrounds. Each united by a passion for challenge, teamwork and testing the limits. They’re women in technology – and collectively, they’re empowering a new generation to seize the potential within themselves.

In honor of International Women’s Day, here’s how they’re doing it.

 

Sudha Nandam  _______________________________________________

State Farm® Software Developer

(Tenure: 2 years)

“I grew up in South India (Ponnur).There were 32 of us living under one roof! My parents, their siblings, grandparents, brothers, sisters, cousins. I always liked math and science – and wanted to pursue higher education. This took many by surprise. In those days women often stayed home. My father told me, 'If this is what you want to do, do it with all your heart.' I was the first woman in my family to go to college. I attended a technical university (JNTU, Kakinada) and studied engineering. During this journey I met my husband, who’s also in information technology. We came to the United States in 2008. As a software developer at State Farm, my focus is Java. I work on web services for agency marketing and customer care data. I love working here. No matter who you are, there are opportunities to develop your skills. It’s exciting to be part of a tech company dedicated to forward thinking and new ways of working."

The impact:

"My pursuit of technology inspired the younger women in my family to go to college. ‘We want to study like you!’ they said. Today, they work in IT. My 18-year-old son also plans to study IT in college. No matter who you are, or where you come from – if you’re committed to learning, you can accomplish anything.”

 

Deborah Hallick  ______________________________________________

State Farm® Scrum Master

(Tenure: 14 years)

“I’ve been in IT my entire career and worked for a variety of companies. Nothing compares to State Farm and its zest for learning. As a scrum master, it’s about data, communication and progress. In IT you can impact hundreds, if not thousands, of people with one key stroke. That’s incredible! To top it off, when I discover something the computer doesn’t know, I get a huge rush."

The impact:

"There’s always room for more women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Here in Texas, I’m involved in the Apollo Coding Club. I started working with the program in 2018 to give middle school girls the chance to code. Each week State Farm volunteers teach the students JavaScript and web development. At the end of the semester we host a showcase at CityLine, where the girls present their work to State Farm leadership, teachers, families and friends. I love seeing these young ladies blossom. They come to us with a desire to learn – but many are also quiet, reserved. As the weeks go by and their knowledge increases, so does their confidence. By the time the showcase arrives, they’re comfortable on the computer and speaking in front of a room. Those who’ve been through the program have chosen to pursue this education in high school and beyond. If you have a desire to learn, and you follow through on that desire – you will excel. The Apollo Coding Club is proof of that. I’m honored to give back in this way.”

 

Collette Fung _________________________________________________

State Farm® Technology Director

(Tenure: 15 years)

“I grew up in Jamaica. One of five children. My parents knew an education was the way to a better future. My mom relocated to the United States, where she knew we would have multiple opportunities. She earned her LPN in nursing and worked two jobs to ensure we had an education. I went to Fordham University in New York and earned a degree in computer science. I had a knack for math and science, started as pre-med then quickly switched to computer science. My older brother had just earned his master’s degree in computer science, so it was an easy decision. State Farm is actually my third job after college. The minute I came to State Farm, I knew this was a great place to work. When we say, ‘Like a Good Neighbor,’ it’s not a tagline. It’s the truth. Here it’s family.”

The impact:

"My philosophy has always been, when you learn, teach. When you get, give. People saw potential in me. They said, ‘You CAN do this.’ I stayed on the path. As a leader in tech, my focus is on the workforce – identifying talent, building skillsets, extending our brand to colleges and universities across the country and sponsoring STEM programs like Girls Who Code in Atlanta. When I look at my grandma, mother, myself and my two strong, intelligent daughters, I’m thrilled by the progress we’ve made and what’s to come. Ten years ago, when I attended tech conferences there was no line for the ladies restroom. Today, there’s a line! As women we’re blazing a trail. It’s about goals, not excuses. Remember, you are not a victim. You are in control. If my story helps inspire more women to make their dreams a reality, it’s my responsibility to share it."

 

Ines Halloran  _________________________________________________

State Farm® Technology Executive

(Tenure: 29 years)

"The harder the issue, the better. Give me the tough stuff. I like challenge! I’ve had a passion for math and science since I was little. I grew up in Germany, near Munich and met my husband when he was stationed here. We moved to the United States in the '80s, and I began an internship with State Farm in 1990. The moment I walked in the door, I realized this place is special. In Europe, business is formal, structured and traditional. The State Farm culture is creative, friendly and open to ideas. Originally, I thought this would be a short-term way to get experience. I had no intention of being an executive. But people pulled me in, gave me opportunities – and I seized them. As technology evolves, we need more people in the industry, including women. Just as my peers said to me, 'You CAN do this, we BELIEVE in you,' – today, I’m mentoring the next generation – helping them see themselves as a true competitor in this field. By sharing our stories, we inspire more women to come into the pipeline.”

The impact:

In April, Ines will be honored as one of this year’s Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Tech. The award, presented by the National Diversity Council, recognizes the achievements of women with a proven track record for breaking barriers, driving change and inspiring others to succeed.

“I’m thrilled to receive this honor and represent State Farm,” said Ines. “It’s awesome to show the rest of the world State Farm is part of the technology conversation. To all the women out there: Be bold. Be at the table. Challenge your own bias and celebrate success. You can do this.”

 

State Farm is proud to celebrate International Women’s Day and encourages all people to follow their dreams.
https://www.statefarm.com/careers