It takes a certain kind of woman to be successful in the world of technology these days; Jess Canady of FavGeek has what it takes to make it in this industry, and as the only female working at FavGeek she proves it to her coworkers, her customers and herself every day. Jess manages one of the most successful repair shops in Northern Alabama, and does everything from customer service to computer repair. Jess purchases repair parts from eTech Parts and I have the pleasure of speaking with her on a regular basis. Recently she took some time to answer a couple questions I had about her and her role in the technology industry.
Q: How long have you worked in the technology industry?
A: I began working in the tech industry almost 3 years ago.
Q: Explain a little bit about what you do at FavGeek.
A: I’m the manager of one of our locations. I’ve worked with FavGeek almost 3 years. I handle any customer service issues, vendor relationships, business customers, and computer repair overflow.
Q: Why did you choose this industry? Or did it choose you?
A: The industry definitely chose me. Before working for FavGeek I was what some would call a “starving artist”. Now I manage one of the fastest growing tech companies in North Alabama. I feel lucky everyday.
Q: What is your favorite part about working in the tech industry?
A: Every day is different. Anyone who works in technology can tell you that. Whenever you think you’ve seen it all, just wait for a customer to walk through your door. You’re always in for a surprise.
Q: What would you change about working in the tech industry?
A: A small percentage of customers are convinced they already know the issue with their devices before they ever bring it to the shop. It’s hard to help someone with that mindset.
Q: Would you say working in a male-dominated industry has caused you to develop a “thick skin”?
A: Not really. I was always “one of the guys” before I started working in tech; this is no different. It’s like I have an awesome group of big brothers!
Q: Why do you think other women in the tech industry might feel the need to develop a “thick skin”?
A: If they are used to being treated delicately, that’s just not going to happen. In a male-dominated field you are going to have to get used to guys! I guess for some that means developing a thicker skin, but I don’t think that is quite the correct terminology. Carry your own desktops (if you physically can), crawl around on the floor, work on your own computers, and for goodness sake don’t be afraid to turn a screwdriver.
Q: Have you encountered any gender-based discrimination at work?
A: It happens and it’s going to happen. I’ve had customers refer to me as a secretary or ask me where my husband is. On the flip side, I’ve had some women relieved to talk to another woman about their tech needs and others uneasy about doing so.
Q: How would you handle this discrimination?
A: You show them you know what you’re talking about. As long as you are knowledgeable in your field, you have nothing to worry about! Know your stuff and their trust will come.
Q: From http://futurewomanintech.com: “There will be generous, supportive people in your industry. May you have the good fortune to make those connections and hold them close. They will define you in ways you could not imagine.” Thoughts?
A: I absolutely agree; I love my job. I have met wonderful people, customers and co-workers alike. Working at FavGeek helps me feel like I make a difference. In the technology world we take things like understanding how to remove viruses or change an LCD for granted. To customers, that computer is their thesis; that iPhone is the only way they can communicate with the people they love; that gaming system is their way of escaping. Take customers’ items seriously and treat them with respect and not only will you have a successful business, you’ll meet awesome people and develop life long friendships along the way.
Q: So what advice would you give to the “Future Woman in Tech”?
A: Like I said before: don’t be afraid to get dirty and don’t be shy! When it comes to talking about computers, game systems, and iDevices with guys you are going to have to know your stuff. You should be able to explain everything and not just on a basic level.
Q: Anything else?
A: I would also like to thank eTech Parts and its awesome staff for helping FavGeek grow! Without an amazing vendor like eTech Parts taking care of our iDevice needs, I have no idea where we would be. You guys make a difference in our business and I feel like I have developed true friendships with you. Thank you!
Jess is one of our favorite customers here at eTech Parts; we receive tons of feedback from her, both good and bad, which is important for any business relationship. She’s even won the hearts of the eTech Parts Returns department with her personalized drawings and words of encouragement included in each one. Jess Canady is just one great example of a woman in technology who won’t let anything stop her from getting the job done and doing it right.