Julia Maher: Why Women in Tech Should Strive to Rise Above the Rest
Samsung is continuing to make progress on our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) journey towards driving meaningful change. And we want to spotlight the DE&I champions within our organization that have been and continue to be instrumental in enabling us to make an impact and helping to create a rich sense of belonging where everyone can thrive.
We sat down with Julia Maher, Senior Director of our People Team, a member of our DE&I Council, and a Women+ in Samsung Electronics (WISE+) employee resource group (ERG) member. Here’s what she had to say about DE&I…
1. What does diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) mean to you, both personally and professionally?
When I think about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the lines between personal and professional blend. My kids are my “meaning.” I want them to grow up where they can be who they are, wherever they are, and where differences are accepted and embraced. Simply put, it’s about respect and empowerment.
2. What obstacles have you overcome as a woman in the technology industry?
Actually, this is a primary motivator for me. As a female in the technology industry, I consider this a challenge to stand out and apart from others. I have worked hard to be judged on the merits of my contributions and to be taken seriously by those around me. This is a big reason why I keep pushing myself further each and every day – to create space for me and my fellow women in technology.
3. Can you share a little about what’s shaped your passion for creating a more equitable workplace?
I grew up in Brooklyn, NY and was exposed to the beauty of diversity at such an early age. But while I learned to appreciate varied perspectives, beliefs, and cultures, I also witnessed the challenges and disparities faced by many. This experience shaped my DE&I views and values. I have been given the privilege of being on Samsung Electronics America’s DEI Council and my hope is to help create a workplace where people are able to bring their true, authentic selves to work and where differences are not only accepted but are sought out.
4. How have the views of diverse people enhanced your work or work experience?
We would not be successful were it not for diversity of thought which can only come from diverse cultures, backgrounds, experiences, and influences. Being open to diverse perspectives enables us to expand our minds, enhance our critical thinking skills, and spur new ideas, ultimately preventing stagnation and leading to innovation and growth. Genuinely valuing others’ experiences is essential for harnessing the true power of diversity.
5. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Educate yourself as much as possible. If you don’t understand something, then ask and listen intently to the response. If there’s an opportunity to experience a new culture, take it. Empathize with those who do not have it as “easy” as you do and use your voice as an ally to speak up for them. I would tell myself not to be fearful of being too bold.