Paving the way for women in technology
Inspired by the strong role models in her own life, see how one technology leader is finding ways to pave the path forward for other women.
By Chelsey Sleator, Senior Manager, Communications
Gizelle R., a Schwabbie of 24 years, has had the support of strong women role models to help her create a successful career in technology. Growing up and attending university in the Philippines, Gizelle was one of just a few women that qualified for the engineering program.
“I definitely felt pressure,” explains Gizelle. “Being one of the first women in the program meant that I had to do well to give others the opportunity to follow.”
Upon graduation, Gizelle worked in the Philippines and then New Zealand before finding her way to San Francisco and to Schwab.
“The biggest difference when I joined Schwab was the culture,” explains Gizelle. “I liked the mission, purpose and strategy of building products through clients’ eyes. And that’s never truer than in the space I’m in today.”
Gizelle is currently a technology leader in the Retail Digital Accelerator program. She describes the program as a startup within the safety net of a big corporation, and that it has its own unique culture—one that involves technology from the very beginning.
“I’ve had the opportunity to interview clients, understand their pain points and then participate in design thinking workshops and storyboarding. And what that does for people like me [engineers], is give us empathy and a visual of the client as we build the product specifically for them.”
Gizelle credits much of her career success to resiliency and willingness to take risks, which she learned from her mother. She explains that in her mother’s era, women were expected to be housewives. But Gizelle’s mother got her PHD in Education and became the Vice President of Academics for two schools for special needs students.
“She was my role model,” says Gizelle. “She wasn’t afraid to try things. She gave others a chance to have a better life and be productive members of society.”
Inspired by her mother, Gizelle looks to find ways to be a role model to other women. One way she is doing this is by serving as a board member and co-chair of the scholarship committee for the Professional BusinessWomen of California (PBWC).
“Every year, I get inspired when I read the applicants’ essays,” says Gizelle. “I can’t believe the amazing things these women are doing at such a young age!”
Gizelle recognizes and appreciates that everyone is going through their own journey of growth and learning in all levels of leadership. She is the first to acknowledge that she is a work in progress, and that there is work to do to help pave the future for women in technology.
“Do I work hard? Yes. Do I have pressure? Yes. But it’s a responsibility that I’m happy to take. I will go the extra mile to make sure I am giving opportunities to women,” says Gizelle.
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