Precisely Women in Technology: Meet Brenda
At Precisely, recognizing individuality is a key value of our organization. This week, we’re introducing you to Brenda Wylie-Kay who is the Global VP of Software sales. Brenda is a tenured woman in technology with over 25 years in the industry.
How did you get into the technology field?
I started with IBM as a co-op being introduced to the company by a high school teacher who encouraged me to go interview for a summer job. The teacher set up the interview, helped me prepare, and knew that I was interested in technology. I was hired for the summer prior to college, fell in love with technology, and set a goal to get hired full time by the technology giant after completing my college degree. Sure enough, I was hired full time, never looked back, and worked for IBM for over 25 years.
Who has had the greatest impact on your career?
I had a third line manager that I started working for when I first went into management and she was beyond tough on me. She would push me to do things that I thought were impossible; encourage me to push back on her and others; and she placed me in stretch projects that caused me to lose my mind. Just when I thought, “this is over — my career is gone,” she would step in and coach me in a very supportive way. I ended up working directly for her and upon her retirement, she told me that she saw the talent but knew I needed a little “Boston” toughness and overall development. She said that she saw me struggle and knew there were days she was not my favorite person, but she never would have let me go under. I think of her often and giggle when I find myself coaching an employee in a tough business situation.
What do you love most about technology?
I love the fast pace and I love to learn new things. It is constantly changing, and you have to stay on the cutting-edge or you are left behind in an industry that never sleeps.
How have you managed to create work/life balance throughout your career?
I managed to create work/life balance throughout my career by establishing it as a priority and using my time wisely. The technology industry can consume your work/life balance, so you have to figure out what is considered balance to you and your family. As I emerged through the technology industry, we did not have as much flexibility as companies provide now with working at home or flexible work schedules, however, I was fortunate to always work for management that understood my family priorities and our children came first. I delivered results and never missed a deadline so there was mutual respect. For so much of my career, I was a working mom, and we are creative and use time wisely. I used to take my kids to daycare sometimes on my vacation days so I could get birthday shopping done, get a manicure, and clean the house! I did take vacation days and take my kids out of school for fun days, which they still talk about to this day. My work/life balance has changed now with grown children, but it is still a priority that I approach with fun, focus, and creativity.
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What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
“If you want to be a manager, take care of the people because they are the most important asset you will ever work with. If you take care of them, they will take care of the business.”
What are your hopes for other women in the technology field?
I want to see more women get into the technical side of technology in the fields of engineering, coding, data science, and product management. For the women that are in technology from sales to engineering to operations, I want to see them helping each other and moving into key leadership roles. Technology is such an amazing field, and I want to see these women make a difference and lead with impact.
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