In recognition of Women’s History Month, IT Services is proud to acknowledge the women in its ranks.
From business analysts to database administrators, software architects to project managers, service desk analysts to academic instructional technologists, the women in IT Services at Northeastern are diverse, exceptionally talented, and highly engaged. Day after day, their contributions are vital to Team ITS’ efforts to sustain continuous improvement, achieve operational excellence, and advance digital transformation across the university’s global campus network.
As of early March, ITS boasted 77 full-time women employees (and a handful of women contractors), accounting for 32.2% of its 239 total full-time employees, up from 24.6% women employees in 2018.
In light of Northeastern’s global reach and commitment to building a diverse and inclusive university community, the healthy percentage of women in ITS is not unexpected.
According to a mid-2022 article released by Gartner, a respected technological research and consulting firm, its 2021 survey of some 18,000 employees worldwide, including some 1,800 in IT functions, found the average number of women in IT organizations to be 26%, a benchmark that ITS betters—and for good reason.
Citing research conducted by McKinsey & Company, Gartner observes that diversity among employees strengthens the workforce and “is correlated with better business performance as measured by increased revenue, increased profits, and more innovation.” In a nutshell, the article says, “diversity is good for business.”
In celebration of Women’s History Month, meet a few of the outstanding women in ITS who, in their own words, share what they think about their positions, their colleagues, and their experiences at Northeastern.
Marlena Bravender, senior instructional design consultant, Academic Technologies
“I’ve worked in IT departments previously, but none of my supervisors were ever women. In ATS, my direct supervisor is a woman as is the supervisor above her. I think often that the lens through which we have conversations is different and one that really makes me feel heard and valued. I may need to pause and really think about a well-crafted response to a question instead of being the loudest and first voice to respond. They wait for those paused responses, and I think the entire team feels that. They know that I lead employees and projects, but they also take time to ask about the external forces in my life (family, outside interests, etc.) that may impact my daily life. Taking extra time to know more personal information allows our one-on-one meetings to have a deeper level of conversation. It also makes me feel like it is a safe space to openly express emotions from joy to sadness. … I enjoy the ATS team individually and as a whole unit. We are all very different, but work well in a way I can’t describe.”
Jessica Carter, business analysis manager, Project and Service Management
“The organization provides me with a work-life balance that enables me to be able to focus on not only my work but also my family. I also appreciate the feedback and mentorship of some of the senior leadership of ITS. They have an open-door policy and are very approachable and engaged in the day-to-day work of ITS. … I was basically given a clean slate to make the Business Analysis organization what I would want and that was a challenge I wanted to take. I also feel proud that the work that we do at Northeastern is helping build the future of not just our country but globally.”
Kristin Chan, digital communications specialist, ITS Communications
“ITS promotes a safe and inclusive environment for all my colleagues and me to feel valued as individuals. Regardless of our different identities, there’s a sense of belonging that makes you feel valued; and in return, I’m able to be my best self in the workplace. I’m mentored and supported by empowered women who uplift, support, and recognize one another every day.
“Throughout my interview process, I recognized that this is a unique organization that fosters the importance of inclusive leadership. There’s a great sense of empathy, humility, appreciation, and respect across the entire department, regardless of your job title. Day in and day out, I’m surrounded by leaders who seek to break the norm and to not reinvent the wheel; instead, they empower their teams to be doers and to take actionable steps that will allow organizational growth to occur.”
Sanna Hussain, research technology analyst, ITS Customer Experience
“ITS does a good job to make everyone feel equal. As it should be. I look up to all women in ITS; they are smart, honorable, and support each other. I was interviewed by four awesome people who did a wonderful job getting to know me as a person, as well as my skills. That made me feel seen and cared for and helped me decide to join Northeastern University.”
“In the few months I’ve been here, I can see how ITS supports individual identities—as well as the intersectionality of these identities—by creating spaces where members can be their whole, authentic selves.”
– Heather Starkel, academic instructional technologist
Manasvita Joshi, data scientist, Research Computing
“Our group is highly collaborative, and ITS has provided a very flexible environment for women to work, grow, and succeed. The team was very welcoming, transparent. The position offered a lot of potential for growth. The other peers came across as a group of warm people. The overall combination attracted me to this position.”
Anjali Pradhan, IT services delivery manager, Project and Service Management
“The ability to work remotely has been a game changer. As a mother of a school-going kid, flexibility to drop him to school and being able to be at work by 8 a.m. is not a struggle anymore. Annual visits to the dentist or medical appointments, which normally fall during office hours, work out as well, with prior notice to the team. I was never made to feel sorry to take my earned time off, which is so different than my previous corporate experience where you felt guilty for taking your earned time off due to the unhealthy culture. … I felt at home from the get-go. I am looking forward to a long and fruitful stint with the university.”
Megan Reinle, instructional design consultant, Academic Technologies
“From every aspect of my job, I have been supported by all the amazing women in the Academic Technologies department. I love that if someone is sick or going through a rough time, we, as women, support one another and all our colleagues. We are all so different and are at different life stages, but everyone is amazing and supportive. Lindsey Sudbury, Clair Waterbury, and Marlena Bravender are the most amazing role models and mentors of how to lead a successful team here within ITS. These three women do so much for our department and are fierce woman fighters for our time, boundaries, and jobs.
Heather Starkel, academic instructional technologist, Academic Technologies
“I feel supported as a person in ITS in so many ways! Primarily, the Academic Technologies team is an incredibly high-functioning and welcoming group. It’s been such an honor to work with them and to see them serving the Northeastern community. In the few months I’ve been here, I can see how ITS supports individual identities—as well as the intersectionality of these identities—by creating spaces where members can be their whole, authentic selves. I was struck by the value that a centralized technology department can bring to a growing organization, and I wanted to be part of it.”
Clair Waterbury, assistant director of teaching and learning with technology, Academic Technologies
“Being a woman in ITS, a historically male-dominated field, can come with various challenges. However, since day one of working in ITS at Northeastern, I have felt welcomed, supported, and as if I belonged. … Not only am I a woman, but I am a working parent of young children. ITS leadership’s support of a flexible, remote work environment has been revolutionary for me! The time I save commuting allows me to invest in my family and being a parent rather than feeling the burden of choosing between work or family.
“The most powerful thing I love about working at ITS is that I feel supported by everyone in ITS and especially feel supported and uplifted by the women at ITS. … I feel a sense of camaraderie, respect, inspiration, and encouragement from my women colleagues, and I am beyond grateful for that.
“When I interviewed at Northeastern seven years ago, I was interviewed by a team that was diverse in age, gender, and ideas, and also happened to be a team led by a woman and, to this day, is still led by a strong and empathetic woman. That significantly impacted me as I was still early on in my career. … Seven years later, I know I made the right decision. Northeastern ITS is where I’ve found amazing women mentors and colleagues that have helped me thrive and shine!”
Northeastern University’s Women Who Empower Initiative
Grounded in the belief that diverse and inclusive communities empower a better world, the Women Who Empower network is composed of strong, aspiring, and distinguished individuals dedicated to fostering positive environments, building lasting connections, and providing meaningful experiences where all people thrive.
Two very different stories, one powerful message. Female leaders inspire Northeastern community at Women Who Empower event in Dubai
March 2023 story from Northeastern Global News
NU Parents is a new faculty and staff affinity group for working parents at Northeastern. Membership is open to all faculty and staff who are parents or expecting parents.
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