The PAR/Punchh Women in Technology (WIT) program seeks to provide like-minded individuals with support and professional development. We strive to create a diverse workplace, and with this intention, launched WIT in August of 2020, on Women’s Equality Day. The WIT mission is to provide a resource that addresses diversity, professional development, and mentorship for the women of our organization. Our goal is to empower our peers to positively influence the betterment of our organization and the tech industry.
In 2021 PAR and Punchh launched the “Get Inspired” series, which features women in technology across a broad range of fields and backgrounds. Each speaker shares about their career path, professional goals and insights on tech trends via an informal fireside chat. Attendees include Punchh and PAR employees, as well as customers and partners of the brands.
The Get Inspired Series Featuring Laura Marino
On Wednesday, September 15th, PAR and Punchh kicked off their first “Get Inspired” speaker event and the guest speaker was none other than Laura Marino, the Chief Product Officer at TrueAccord. Hailing from Columbia, Marino holds two Master of Science degrees from Stanford and is a regular guest speaker at the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, as well as a member of the extended teaching team in the Stanford Management Science and Engineering Department, lecturing on Entrepreneurship and Product Management. She has been a guest lecturer at UC Santa Barbara, NYU Stern School of Business, and Los Andes University, Bogota. She also regularly speaks at conferences, including the annual Women in Product conference. In 2020, she was honored with the Technology Up-and-Comers award by Business Insider and Okta.com.
On Professional Advancement
During the one-hour session, Marino spoke about many critical milestones of her life. She expressed that one crucial element that helped in her success was that you have to have passion for your work. That this is the fundamental driving force behind accomplishing any goal that an individual might want to attain. She found her passion for helping companies scale and innovate during the early professional years of her career. Looking back, she shared that at some point in time, all of us unveil the curtain of utter desire that can guide us in shaping our lives in a certain way. Even if few of us are ready to take the risks required to achieve what we are passionate about.
Yet, life can be uncertain at times and downright hard at others, and this was no different for Marino. She faced many uphill battles and challenges and readily admits to making mistakes. These challenges afforded her the opportunity to learn and grow, and during this session of WIT’s “Get Inspired” series, she shared with us many of her key lessons in life and in her professional career:
- At times the plans that we make for the future do not turn out and may not be what you expect. One should be ready to accommodate changes at every point of life. Do not be rigid and stay open to opportunities.
- Be ready to take risks, particularly if you strongly feel positive about a decision.
- Most decisions made about you are made in a room you’re not in. Have strong allies who can advocate for you.
- Developing a bond with your co-workers opens you up and allows them to know about your expertise, interests, qualifications, etc. This is critical as that becomes the basis of advocacy in the present and future.
Far more often than men, women tend to feel less confident and can even experience “imposter syndrome” – a perceived fraudulence, involving feelings of self-doubt and personal incompetence that persist despite education, experience, and accomplishments. When this occurs, they may struggle when faced with the decision to pursue career advancement. These mental boundaries have been built over a period of time and often can feel debilitating.
Marino suggests silencing the inner “mean girl.” The voice that says you can’t do it, because YOU CAN.
“One of my favorite quotes is from the great Melinda Gates, and she says, ‘A woman with a voice, by definition, is a strong woman.’”- Laura Marino
Expression is a quality that helps individuals stand out in the crowd, and Marino suggests finding your own path to express your interests and professional pursuits. Don’t be afraid to lead, she says, because leadership is your best first step in building a healthy work environment for you and those around you.
On leadership, Marino shared these thoughts:
- Diversity: Brings so much potential to teams and organizations. Through diversity and inclusion, leaders are able to cover the majority of blind spots that may get overlooked by a non-diverse team. Support diversity, and you will truly build a winning team.
- Ability to Delegate: Delegation is a quality that just makes things easier on an organizational level, but in order for it to be successful, you must first build trust. Trust is the prime factor that facilitates delegation, and you have to trust those around you and yourself that you have built a team ready to take on anything.
- Networking: Stay in touch with people you have worked with in the past because you never know how they may fit in your future career. They may bring to the table specific skills and competencies that can support you down the road. Also, in a pinch, they are great advocates and can help provide insight into making complex decisions and support you in tough times.
Clearly, Marino’s message is that understanding the power and capabilities of oneself is paramount, and the moment you take the steering wheels of your destiny into your own hands, your life gets driven in the way you want.
We here at PAR and Punchh want to express our heartiest gratitude to Laura for taking the time to share her journey and provide such memorable insights into life and professional advancement.
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