Interview with Jen McFarland, Chief Boss Lady at Marit Digital
Today we are excited to sit down with Jen McFarland, founder and CEO of Marit Digital. Jen is an experienced technology partner for small businesses and teams, providing support and consulting for a variety of IT needs including web, analytics, email and communication tools, and service management. As a woman in tech, Jen has faced challenges throughout her career, but she remains dedicated to encouraging other women to pursue careers in technology.
Q: Jen, can you tell us a bit about what your job entails?
Jen: Marit Digital was created to be a technology partner for small businesses and teams. I provide support and consulting for an array of IT needs including web, analytics, email and communication tools, and service management.
Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in the tech industry, and how did you get your start in the field?
Jen: I started by working part-time at the NC State IT Help Desk. I really enjoyed learning new tools and building services for the campus and wound up spending more than 15 years working in a variety of IT roles for NC State.
Q: As a woman founder in tech, what challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Jen: Even after many years in IT, it feels like I need to prove myself over and over. I think it takes a bit more effort to convince some people that you can be a technology partner. And of course, imposter syndrome is always there to help you with the process. I have to remind myself many days that I have a career in this industry and I’m helping people. Those days when you offer an insight or an answer that someone really needs – and you can see the understanding, gratitude, and relief on their faces – that’s worth all the challenges.
Q: How do you think we can encourage more women to pursue careers in tech, and what can companies do to create a more inclusive and diverse culture in the industry?
Jen: Getting women exposed to technology early is key. I would not have considered a tech career if I hadn’t stumbled into it, but I think many girls and young women would find a lot to like about this industry once they get a good look. I also think companies need to do a better job of appreciating the unique aspects of female – and minority – employees and managers. Company leaders need to take the time to talk to their employees and really hear their needs and experiences. And they should be educating themselves through reading and networking (and by going to events like this one!). Minorities have been taking on the labor of educating their management for a long time; the responsibility needs to shift.
Q: What woman inspires you and why? (past or present)
Jen: I have to say Sarah Glova is a huge inspiration to me. I’ve known her a long time and watched her career, and she does such a good job of targeting what needs to be done or said and making the connection. I want to be as successful as she is when I grow up!
We want to thank Jen for sharing her insights and experiences with us today. She serves as an inspiration for other women looking to pursue careers in technology and reminds us of the importance of creating a more inclusive and diverse industry.