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A Day in the Life of Shantel Smallwood

What is your current role, and how long have you been with Direct Line?
I am a Design Liaison, and I’ve been with Direct Line for over 5 years. I joined in July of 2018.

What kind of education and training did your career require? What do you think is needed to be successful in your role?
I received most of my education and training in the field with the help of my fellow managers and co-workers. To be successful in my role, I keep an open mind and an eagerness to learn more and go above and beyond.

What does a typical day look like for you working at Direct Line?
First, I check my calendar to prepare for the meetings I have scheduled. Then, I review design packages, compare them to what is being done in the field, and capture any necessary changes. I also conduct on-site surveys at least two to three times per week and provide on-site support for underway projects.

What would you like to say to someone interested in applying at Direct Line?
I would highly recommend others to join Direct Line! We are goal-driven, very supportive, and overall, a great company to work for.

Tell us about your career path at Direct Line.
I would love to further my career at Direct Line. I enjoy the training and guidance that Direct Line provides, and with my manager’s support, I know there is always room to level up.

What inspired you to pursue a career in technology?
When I first got into the field, I did not know much about it. Technology intrigued me because it was new and exciting, and I just wanted to learn more. The IT field is big and forever changing, and I love every minute of being a part of the growth in telecom.

Can you share some of the challenges you’ve faced as a woman in the tech industry? How did you overcome them?
It was challenging to have fellow peers challenge my intelligence when trying to complete tasks. I overcame this challenge by being persistent and reassuring my peers that I knew what it took to complete my tasks effectively.

Who are some of the women who have inspired or mentored you throughout your career?
My mother and grandmother are my biggest inspirations. I watched them work hard ever since I was a child, and I promised myself I would work hard to make them both proud of my accomplishments.

What advice would you give to young women aspiring to enter the tech field?
Don’t ever limit yourself while trying to pursue a career. Always ask questions, take initiative, and be consistent. Show up and show out.

What achievements in your career are you most proud of?
Becoming part of the design team, being involved in customer and kick-off projects, and being able to successfully see them through to the finish.

How do you think the tech industry has evolved regarding gender diversity and inclusion since you began your career?
I’ve seen a significant increase in women joining the field. When I first started, I was usually the only woman in the room. This is no longer the case.

In your opinion, what changes could companies make to help encourage more gender diversity in tech?

Companies should focus their advertising efforts on women’s empowerment. This can include the achievements of women and what it took to get to where we are today.

What steps do you take to advocate for gender equality and diversity in tech, both within the organization and in the broader industry?
I’ve been very vocal about my career and experience over the years. Moreover, I always try to encourage other females to join the field.

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