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SimuWIT Spotlight: Katie Lally

SimuTech Group is an organization that strongly values and appreciates the voices of our people and every diverse point of view. We believe it is important to open the dialogue and have conversations about diversity, inclusion, and equal opportunity so we can grow together and have a clearer picture of success. To put this into practice, we launched our first Employee Resource Group in May 2021, focused on Women in Technology – SimuWIT.

The SimuWIT mission is to inspire, empower, and promote women to stand up and stand out in this incredible industry. We choose to take the lead and be an example, we strive to make an impact, we aspire to be a voice to influence and enable women everywhere.

Each month we will spotlight an inspiring woman in technology to hear about their experience and the advice they have to offer women and men of all ages. For our first SimuWIT spotlight, we sat down with SimuTech Group’s Owner and Chief Revenue Officer, Katie Lally.

Tell me about you! Who is Katie Lally? I’m a hardworking mom, wife, daughter, sister, and business owner. Family is so important to me! My two little girls are super fun to spend time with and absolutely my number one priority. We love to spend time with our golden retriever, play, travel, exercise, as well as enjoy the lake and the outdoors. Our business is family owned and operated so I also have the unique, and complicated at times, opportunity to work with my father, husband, and brother.

What did your career journey look like to get you to Owner and Chief Revenue Officer? It wasn’t a very obvious path, but the background I have ended up being a perfect fit. I started in Sales & Marketing and spent 11 years selling new residential construction, a little over a year selling business insurance, and the last 6 ½ years at SimuTech. I think it’s important for people to know that you don’t have to pursue a career specifically in the field you went to school for or take the obvious path – you can find yourself in a completely different space and still thrive if you’re passionate about what you are doing and have a desire to learn.

What advice would you give to women trying to break into engineering and technology fields? Find inspiration from as many people as you can around you – find mentors. Don’t be intimidated by the overwhelming male presence. Women bring so much value to the table and we belong here so believe in yourself. You’ll stand out in a great way!

What female leader has been an inspiration to you in your career and why? I’m actually not inspired by one particular woman or person. I think that we should look for inspiration and support from a spectrum of people to help guide and inspire us. When I think back on my life and career, there are many people who have influenced who I am today. My Mom – for her empathy, kindness, and generosity. My dance teachers growing up – who taught me the importance of being passionate about things. A great manager, Lauren McCarthy, from early on in my career, who taught me several important lessons like, ‘don’t ride the sales roller-coaster’ and that ‘being a manager isn’t glamorous or easy – you have to answer to the people who work for you and the people you work for’. Ruth Bader Ginsburg – for fighting for women’s rights in the workplace and asserting important notions like ‘women belong in all places where decisions are being made.’ Women I work alongside today in leadership positions, like the ones asking me these interview questions, and others I have the privilege of working with. People like Bethenny Frankel who utilizes her platform and devotes a large portion of her time to helping those in crisis dealing with natural disasters for example. My two little girls, who inspire me to be a great leader so that they have a role model to look up to. I feel as though I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my father and my grandfather. Both have always lifted me up, supported me, and never put barriers in front of me.

What advice would you give to the younger generation of women? Have confidence, think big, you can do whatever you set your mind to. Don’t be afraid of hard work or to learn something new. A great quote that has always resonated with me is ‘I want every little girl who’s told she’s bossy to be told instead she has leadership skills.’ -Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. I would much rather little girls hear the word “leader” instead of “bossy”. My Mom will tell you that at 2 years old I was running around telling everyone ‘I be the leader’ and guess what, here I am today, the leader, and not ‘bossy,’ a ‘leader.’

What are some best practices that you believe in from your experience? Be genuine, listen, have empathy – IQ is important, but EQ gets you the furthest. Work hard, you have to earn respect. Find balance and keep priorities in check. Think big picture and keep things in perspective. Form a diverse team – people with different perspectives make a stronger team, especially a woman’s perspective. You don’t need to know it all, leverage other people’s strengths alongside yours.

What are some challenges or barriers that you have faced as a woman in your field and how did you overcome them? It can feel challenging at times navigating in a male dominated industry. There are not a lot of women role-models in this space. It can feel intimidating, but you need to have confidence along the way that you belong and exude that as you are working on achieving your goals. I worked hard to gain respect. While I was at times afraid to screw up, I tried new things and learned from mistakes to propel forward.

What advice would you give other companies that are trying to be more inclusive? Creating Employee Resource Groups like SimuWIT promote awareness and create an inclusive environment so I would recommend similar initiatives to other companies. At the simplest level, communicate often and support your people. Talk about ways to be more inclusive, make a concerted effort to have a well-rounded team at your company, which means a mix of people from all different backgrounds. Find ways to lift other women, really anyone else around you, up. Get women in leadership positions, you won’t regret it!

 

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