Kathleen Martin

Well-known member
Mar 16, 2020
Lexington, Kentucky
How did you start your career in technology?
My journey to a career in technology started in an unlikely place—a publishing company.
We started hearing about a new Windows operating system and the associated software packages that were new to the market. I wasn’t familiar with them, but I knew I needed to learn them to excel at my job. So, I went to work for CompUSA as a weekend software trainer, which meant they first trained me. It was a great way to get initial training on all these applications while also helping other students increase their productivity. On weekdays, I continued at my publishing job where I trained my boss and colleagues on how to use the various software programs.
It wasn’t long before the director of the training division at CompUSA noticed my work and convinced me to come on board full time.
I had the opportunity to train big companies, like Boeing and Blue Cross Blue Shield—it was great. Eventually, I began managing the company’s training center where my aptitude for sales became a notable advantage. I became director of sales and it progressed from there. I transitioned from teaching and training people on software and began building a successful career in selling technology and services.  
What is your guidance for girls and women looking at technology as a career?
Technology is a field that touches every industry. Whether your interests gravitate to Fashion, Banking, Music, Retail, or making the world a better place – technology is the backbone essential for all these industries to operate and you can be a part of this exciting business.  Additionally, technology continually evolves creating opportunities to be challenged and continually learning.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about women in technology?
We don’t all carry utility belts and we’re not all highly technical. The beauty of a career in technology is that you can apply your natural strengths in a multitude of positions. If you have a passion for simplifying complex concepts, writing persuasive messages, influencing others, developing step-by-step procedures, following testing processes, working with data – there is a place for you in training, marketing, product demonstrations, analyzing data, statisticians, event planning, influence through social media, communications, and sales. Key attributes to have are curiosity, passion, desire to make a difference, communication skills, and a good business acumen.
If you could be mentored by any women in technology who would it be and why?
Ginni Rometty, as CEO of IBM she was notably recognized as the most powerful woman in business and spent nearly 40 years at IBM. She does have a computer & engineering education. I’d want to know what she saw in IBM that gave her confidence that a BIG, legacy company could pivot into new business models and direction. Typically, large companies are like the Titanic and not easy to maneuver. How did she reimagine IBM? And how did she bring along her team on this journey?
What questions do you have for the AWIT Town Hall in January?
What do you do to keep your skills sharp and relevant?
Where do you get your information to stay informed? What sources do you refer to, what do you read?
What is your prediction for women in technology in 2021?
The events of 2020 impacted women perhaps disproportionally; causing women to re-assess how to balance all the roles they play – Mom, teacher, employee. Two things might be possible:
  • The spotlight on the disproportional impact on women might elevate the value of women in the workforce
  • Employers will likely keep a form of flexibility of working from home as women make conditional requests for flexible work schedules


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