Women in Data Management: Interview with Loretta Mahon Smith

Inspired to write an article on women in data management, we interviewed several women to compile an article on the topic. This interview is with Loretta Mahon Smith, CDMP, CBIP.

DATAVERSITY (DV): How long have you been in the data management / technology industry?

Loretta Mahon Smith (LMS): 23 years

DV: How did you get into the industry?

LMS: See: http://www.modernanalyst.com/Community/AnalystDiaries/tabid/167/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/469/Data-Architect-Loretta-Mahon-Smith-CDMP-CBIP.aspx

DV: What do you consider your career specialty to be?

LMS: Data architecture, strategic data management

DV: Do you consider yourself as having been a geek in school?

LMS: Absolutely!

DV: Growing up?

LMS: Definitely

DV: Today?

LMS: Yes..a chic geek, but a data geek never-the-less. I prefer calling myself a life-long-learner

DV: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career so far?

LMS: Finding and keeping an authentic professional persona that balances at a whole-life level with personal priorities.

DV: Were you ever told you couldn’t do it because you’re a woman?

LMS: Yes, professionally…and when I was young, I believed it…age brings insight.  Now I know I can do many things, and have no talent for others.  Has nothing to do with gender.

DV: Have you faced adversity being a woman in technology?

LMS: Yes.  Inequity in pay.

DV: If yes, how did you overcome it? (can be general or state a specific example)

LMS: I realized that in order for me to understand my value proposition I needed to find what my skills were worth on the general market…and when necessary be willing to leave rather than accept inequitable pay.  I built network, found mentors externally and advocates internally—and invested in myself.  I self-funded training, certifications and an executive coach.

And when opportunity came, I took a risk and made a change.

I’ve never as professionally challenged, valued, and compensated as I am now!

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