Blog > Company & Culture > Precisely Women in Technology: Meet Vicki Donoghue

Precisely Women in Technology: Meet Vicki Donoghue

Authors Photo Sydney D'Souza | December 6, 2023

While it’s been mostly recognized as a male-dominated industry, the technology space is evolving to include more and more women. At Precisely, diversity, inclusion, and belonging are extremely important, which is why it’s a priority to recognize and celebrate the women who work at the company. The Precisely Women in Technology (PWIT) program is a network of women at Precisely who come together to offer mentorship, advice, support, and more. Each month, a woman from the program is featured and shares her experience working in tech. Continue reading to learn more about Vicki Donoghue, Director, Shared Services, and her 30+ year career in tech.

Why did you choose to pursue a career in technology?

I luckily stumbled into technology at the start of my career and have never looked back. In my final year of college, I took an internship within a large aerospace company in the IT department. I hadn’t had any prior courses or interest in technology until then, but I loved the work, the people, and the improvements I could see technology made in that organization.

After graduating, I worked at a bank in the loan department, and it was the longest year of life! When the company I had interned with asked me to join their team, I jumped at the chance and have no regrets.

Who has been your greatest professional mentor? What’s one thing you have learned from them?

I’ve been fortunate to have several great mentors throughout my career. Bonni Orlaski was a wonderful manager whom I learned so much from and who also gave me my first opportunity as a manger. With Bonni, I learned that work, regardless of how hard or stressful, can always be fun.

I so respect and admire Romea Smith from whom I learned many lessons. One is that as a manager, your priority is to take care of your team. She showed that by example and was always patient and kind with her team. She was also great at developing her team and stretching their abilities so that everyone excelled.

And finally, Rob Pipe has always been very supportive and has a great breadth and depth of knowledge to learn from. Rob gave me a chance to transition out of customer and product facing roles, bringing my skillset to focus internally.

What’s the biggest risk you took in your career? What was the reward?

My biggest risk was taking my first professional services role with an IBM Business Partner, PSR, who supported an early mainframe data analysis application. I didn’t think I had the technical knowledge the job would require but they took a chance on me and I dove in. I remained in professional services and eventually landed at Sagent, now five acquisitions later, I’m still here!

A big reward that came from that risk was an opportunity to travel to many countries and continents to visit customer sites and our own offices.

As a woman, what challenges have you faced in the technology industry? How have you overcome them?

When I started my career there was more of a ceiling as a technologist to move up unless you wanted to move into a management role. This wasn’t exclusive to women, but I believe it may have affected women to a greater degree. I’m happy to see the career ladder and technical recognition programs in place at Precisely.

I feel lucky that I started in a small consulting company and then a startup. In these smaller teams, we had to work and collaborate closely, and I didn’t feel the distinction of being a woman. My biggest challenge was when I started in professional services, many customers made an initial assumption that the male consultants on the team were the leads, even if I was the senior team member or project manager. The situation always righted itself, but I did feel like I had to make an extra effort to prove myself.

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What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? How do you apply it to your personal and professional life?

I’m an introvert and at one point, I was doing a lot of technical training for our products.  Leading up to the beginning of a class was always stressful for me until my manager advised that I only had to stay one page ahead of the class. In other words, prepare but don’t feel you have to know all before you start.

Something clicked for me with that advice, and it’s helped me realize throughout my career that I don’t have to know everything before I take on something new. I only need to make sure I spend time building my knowledge and asking questions from experts as needed until I’m comfortable and effective.

What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to younger women entering the industry?

Don’t hesitate to try different roles when you have the opportunity and don’t be afraid to proactively ask for a role that sounds interesting to you. With every change you make, you will learn something new and have a chance to learn from different people. You’ll leverage the knowledge that you got from previous roles, and it will help you throughout the rest of your career.

The software industry offers many diverse and interesting roles. Some of the job moves I’ve made over the years in software have been professional services; a project manager in R&D; product management; PMO; renewals; and finally, shared services. I’m not sure that I could pick a favorite if asked; they’ve all been interesting and rewarding in different ways.

As a successful woman in technology, what’s one thing you do to pay it forward and advocate for other women in the field?

I encourage the women I work with to take chances and believe in their abilities. Helping someone see the value they bring to their work and how they can apply their skills in new ways is very satisfying and motivating to me.

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