Don’t hesitate to take a chance on yourself, a local technology leader said Nov. 11 at St. Mary’s University.
Crystal Allbritton, the Senior Vice President and Director at Frost Bank’s IT Projection Management office, was the keynote speaker at the Women in Technology Symposium, with an audience of about 50 women. The symposium’s organizers invited faculty, staff and students from Texas A&M University-San Antonio to attend, and the event was promoted on JagSync.
“That discipline to wake up every day and be hungry for something new and to not be afraid to say, ‘I don’t know but I’ll find out and I’ll get back to you,’ is one of the single most valuable skills you will take with you into the workforce as a woman,” Allbritton said.
She discussed workplace harassment, warning the women “that day is coming, the question is when. How are you going to be prepared?”
She asked if any women in the room experienced harassment before and the room filled with raised hands.
She encouraged women to get comfortable being themselves even when they’re the only woman in the room.
Allbritton described how important it is for women to get comfortable in leadership positions.
“Find your thing – start honing your leadership chops today,” she said
Allbritton said a true leader “should never be too tired to help their folks do what needs to be done” She then recalled a moment when her mentor took off his coat to assist workers at an event.
“Leadership is a thing. It’s what you do. It’s not who you are or what you say or how many people you lead. It’s how you behave when you are given the opportunity to contribute,” she said.
Allbritton applauded the coordinator of the symposium, Dr. Barbara Hewitt.
“This woman right here on the wall, who built this organization, is a leader,” Allbritton said.
She also praised the way volunteers work alongside Hewitt to help young women interested in technology.
Allbritton reflected on her life experience.
“I wish that someone would’ve told me that learning doesn’t end in school. It’s a lifelong profession. I wish that someone would’ve told me that your career path doesn’t have to be a straight line — circles are OK and so are sidecars. I wish that someone would’ve told me the cold hard truth about being a woman in a predominantly male field, so that I would’ve been prepared in advance.”
“I wish that somebody would’ve told me how important it is to refine my leadership skills — before I ever had the opportunity to be officially a leader — and I really wish someone would’ve told me how important relationship capital is as a woman in the workforce.
“If I had known this at 18, maybe I would’ve been a CEO instead of SVP.”