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Meet Gabrielle Blackwell

Gabrielle Blackwell is a Business Development Leader at Cloudability. We asked how she got involved with PDXWIT.

“I heard about PDXWIT from my co-workers who are PDXWIT volunteers. When I missed the first event I signed up for I never heard the end of it, so I was more or less guilted into making an effort to redeem myself and follow through on my commitment!

When I finally attended a Happy Hour I loved seeing my co-workers participating in something purposeful to them. I remember walking into the “Bro Culture” event at Cambia Health and cheering on my friends as they sported their lime green PDXWIT t-shirts. I keep coming back because I’m proud to be associated with women who are all about supporting other women.”

We asked Gabrielle how she found herself in a tech career and the pros and cons of being in the tech space:

“My grandfather started a family-owned IT consulting firm and built the company into one of the Midwest’s largest businesses. My uncle is a serial entrepreneur and my mother has her own small business practice. All of these businesses revolve around tech. In essence, I was born into tech. 

However, I never imagined that I would find myself in tech sales and business development. I stumbled into this career path.

The biggest benefit I’ve experienced in this industry is having measurable results so I know I’ve made a quantifiable impact to the business. Regardless of the region, the role, or even the culture, numbers seem to be a language everyone understands, especially when there’s a theme in the numbers showing my results are 100% over expectations. 

Even though I am intrigued and engaged by the speed and pacing that drives the industry, I also experience the strain caused by the fact that people and teams are always-on, always-running. The danger is that we stop appreciating our careers and the people who shape our experiences, and instead see ourselves and others as cogs within a machine.”

We also wanted to get Gabrielle’s take on women in the workplace in light of changes underway in our culture.

"I am not exaggerating when I say working in tech changed my life. I went from nothing--living out of a suitcase in my uncle’s basement--to being able to afford my own place within 6 months of starting my tech career. I also see the mistreatment of under-represented groups and experience discrimination and harassment because of the black, female body I was born into. But I have to believe that this industry has the ability to once again change my life and inspire others to believe that their lives can be changed as well. 

With the advent of the #metoo and #timesup movements, I believe women’s voices will no longer be stifled. I believe the days of women not standing up for themselves because of the threat of retaliation are limited. I truly believe time’s up and women will no longer bear in silence the maltreatment stemming from ingrained chauvinism and misogyny. 

But none of this comes over night. The ability to reach that day - a day where everyone must compete equally, where everyone must perform, behave and be held to the same standard - that comes with more women speaking up and speaking out against discrimination and harassment. 

I believe that 2018 will be a Year of the Woman. I can’t wait to see how the conversations and movements traditionally confined to news media and marches will spill over into our daily lives at work."