There’s a Place for You – Women in Fiber at #FiberConnect2023

“There’s a place for you,” states Alexa Edens, U.S. Industry Committee Chair for Women in Fiber. Edens, who is also Senior Director of Cloud Strategy and Business Development for KGPCo, explains that the fiber optics industry has a variety of jobs for women of all skills and interests. Part of the purpose of the Women in Fiber organization is to spread the word about the opportunities that are available.

Another aim of the Women in Fiber group is to provide mentorship, points out Teresa McGaughey, AVP of Field and Segment Marketing for Calix. McGaughey describes their approach as one of matching mentor and mentee based on what they both want to accomplish. She encourages women to sign up for this program, regardless of where they are in their careers.

Speaking at Fiber Connect 2023, Martha Galley, Executive Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility of Calix, says “Women in Fiber helps attract, develop, and retain great women in technology. And, I am so happy to be part of the organization.”

Mentorship of the Next Generation

At Fiber Connect 2023, this mentorship extended to the 6th to 12th-grade level, as Women in Fiber partnered with Tech Sassy Girlz. This Orlando-based nonprofit is empowering “middle and high school girls to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields through college preparation, career readiness, mentoring, and entrepreneurship.” Women in Fiber exposed fifteen of the Tech Sassy Girlz cohort to the trade show floor and to future career opportunities, as briefly seen in the above video.

Fiber Connect provides the perfect venue for face-to-face networking and education that is helping to propel the growth of Women in Fiber. Founded only three years ago, the Women in Fiber LinkedIn group now has over 1,000 members and its Fiber Connect 2023 luncheon has grown from 100 to 300 participants.

This is more than a once-a-year event, as Taylor Trewyn, Territory Manager for the Broadband Technology Group, indicates that “Women in Fiber are coming to each regional event and have meet-ups and get everyone connected in every city we come to.”

It is still early in its life and potential, but it has the feel of other past grassroots professional groups (e.g., SCTE) that have been critical to the growth of the telecommunications industry.

Interview Highlights

00:10 – Alexa Edens provides an overview of Women in Fiber and their annual luncheon which has seen enormous growth.

00:44 – Teresa McGaughey explains that the luncheons provide multiple growth opportunities.

01:15 – Edens provides an overview of how WIF provided a unique mentoring experience to the Tech Sassy Girlz at Fiber Connect.

03:35 – What are the possibilities for Women in Fiber to be organized in regional and local chapters (perhaps at the operator level)?

04:18 – There are many opportunities in this growing industry.

05:15 – In many ways, this is still at the beginning of something much larger.

06:09 – The mentoring program is one of the examples of how WIF is helping its members.

ViodiTV coverage of FBA’s Fiber Connect 2023 courtesy of Calix.

Special thanks to Brett Heier for filming.

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