Since inception, Shellye Archambeau has served as the CEO of MetricStream, a Silicon Valley-based Governance, Risk, Compliance (GRC) and Quality Management software company. MetricStream enables organizations to improve risk management, compliance with regulations, corporate governance, and overall business performance amidst an increasingly complex global business environment. Built on a flexible GRC platform, MetricStream’s innovative apps power the GRC and Quality Management programs for leading organizations, including the most reputable Fortune 500 and Global 2000 companies across industries. Under Shellye’s leadership, MetricStream has become a recognized global market leader in GRC, with offices on nearly every continent and over 1500 employees worldwide. Every year since 2008, MetricStream has been named a global leader in GRC by leading independent analyst firms.
Ms. Archambeau is a leader both in business and in the community, demonstrated through decades of involvement on several Boards of Directors and committees. Since 2002, Ms. Archambeau has served on the Board of Directors for Watermark, a non-profit organization for women executives that helps accelerate their careers and tap into the power of networking. Since 2003, she has served on the Board of Directors for the IT Senior Management Forum, a nonprofit focused on cultivating African American leaders in IT, and in 2010 she was awarded the President’s Award for her impact on the organization’s mission. Since 2007, Ms. Archambeau has served on the board of directors for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, an organization focused on fostering a cooperative effort between business and government officials to address major public policy issues affecting Silicon Valley. She also served on the Board of Directors, and the Audit and Technology committees for media research company, Arbitron, Inc. [NYSE: ARB] from 2005 until acquired by Nielsen in 2013. She currently serves on the board of directors of Nordstrom Inc., and Verizon Communications Inc.
MetricStream is simplifying Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) for modern and digital enterprises. Our market-leading enterprise and cloud Apps for GRC enable organizations to strengthen risk management, regulatory compliance, vendor governance, and quality management while driving business performance. The MetricStream GRC Journey methodology integrates GRC technologies and programs across business, IT, and security functions to organizations to realize the vision of Pervasive GRC. Rich content from GRCIntelligence.com, as well as MetricStream Special Interest Groups (mSIGs) support the ongoing success of our customers through real-time content feeds and best practices. Leading companies across industries are benefiting from MetricStream’s simple and modular approach to GRC in a business environment that is increasingly mobile, social, global, and virtual. MetricStream is consistently rated as a market leader by leading analysts, and has received awards and recognitions for product innovation and customer success. MetricStream is headquartered in Palo Alto, California, and has offices across the globe.
As the CEO of MetricStream, I often get asked, “How difficult was it to become a leader of a successful tech company, being (1) a woman and (2) an African-American?”
Unlike some who don’t know what career they want at a young age, I knew I wanted to run a business in high school. Every club or organization I was involved with, I’d eventually end up leading. I enjoyed leading teams focused on a common purpose to achieve their goals and I dreamed of being able to build a great team, create a trusted brand, and make a significant impact. However, when I began my professional journey, I knew that because of my gender and ethnicity, the odds were not entirely in my favor. But I didn’t let that get in the way.
So, why should you consider technology as a career path? What is it about tech that presents such tremendous opportunities for you to do incredible work?
Technology is pervasive – in our cars, homes, workplaces, appliances, even jewelry. It’s hard to remember a time when there wasn’t any technology — no smartphones, or PCs, or Internet. Another great thing about tech – it’s disrupting every industry. The fastest growing and most profitable industries in the US, as profiled on Inc.com include: peer-to-peer lending platforms, tele-health services, motion capture software developers, urban planning software, payroll software, online survey software. Recently, career website, Glassdoor released its report on the “Best Jobs in America for 2016.” Among the top 25 jobs, 10 were in tech – more than any other industry.
I believe there’s never been a better time for minorities and women in tech than right now. Technology is the greatest agent of change, transforming our lives, societies, and world. From robotic exoskeletons that allow paraplegics to walk again, to 3-D bio-printers that fashion human tissue and organs from a single cell, to autonomous cars that dramatically reduce the risk of road accidents — and this is just the beginning!
But where are all the women and minorities in tech? A 2013 survey by the American Association of University Women (or AAUW) found the number of women in computing has fallen since 1990 from 35% to 26%. Only 12% of engineers are women. The numbers are lower for different ethnicities; black women make up just 1% of the engineering workforce and 3% of the computing workforce, while Hispanic women hold just 1% of the jobs in each field.
Another survey by the Girl Scout Research Institute found that 74% of teen girls expressed interest in STEM subjects or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. However, just 0.4% of female college freshmen say they intend to major in computer science.
So, why do many women turn away from a career in tech? For years, pop culture has perpetuated stereotypes of “male techies,” fortunately we have Sheryl Sandberg, Virginia Rometty, Susan Wojcicki, Meg Whitman, and Marissa Mayer — strong, passionate, and intelligent women role models who have built and run successful tech companies.
The good news is we’re bringing attention to challenges and coming together to support each other. Today, we have communities like Girls Who Code and Women Who Code, as well as StemConnector, Women in Technology, and Tech LadyMafia who are doing incredible work around nurturing and mentoring STEM talent.
Why do we need more women in tech? Women are an incredible asset to any workforce. Here are the facts:
- A 2015 survey from McKinsey found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
- In 2012, the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) found that IT patents produced by mixed-gender teams in the US were cited 30%-40% more frequently than other similar patents.
Gender-diverse teams bring more skills, breed innovation, and drive better performance. When you have a homogenous group and you give them a problem to solve, they’re likely to come up with a relatively homogenous solution. A diverse group is more likely to offer multiple perspectives and solutions to the problem.
So, what can women do to capitalize on the career opportunities available in tech and improve their odds for success? Here’s my advice — Make a PACT with yourself.
- The “P” stands for Planning
- The “A” stands for Action
- The “C” stands for Confidence
- The “T” stands for Tools
It’s a simple 4-step mantra:
- Plan your path
- Take Action to differentiate yourself
- Lead with Confidence
- Leverage the right Tools
I also believe in mentors – especially for women. Good mentors not only give needed advice and guidance, but will also be there to back up your credentials, and help you reach out to the right people as you move ahead in your career.
There’s never been a better time for women in tech than now. Technology is disrupting every industry, and transforming our lives and our world, which means that the career opportunities available in technology are just tremendous. And yes, there are still challenges, but things are changing for the better. There has never been a better moment in time for you to make your mark.