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December 13, 2022 By Melissa Beck

How female leaders find their path to career success

Women of Sumo: Creating your own path - skilup and moveup

Advancing your career at any stage has its challenges, but transitioning into a leadership role (particularly for women) comes with a whole new set of challenges to navigate. While strides have been made in gender diversity in the technology industry, women leaders in tech are growing at a much slower pace.

According to a McKinsey and Company 2021 Women in the Workforce study, “Women continue to face a “broken rung” at the first step up to manager: for every 100 men promoted to manager, only 86 women are promoted. As a result, men significantly outnumber women at the manager level, which means there are far fewer women to promote to higher levels.”

Representation of technical women by career level

*2022 Top Companies for Women Technologists from

This year’s Women of Sumo session “Creating your own path - SkilUp and MoveUp” at Sumo Logic’s Illuminate user conference focused on how one group of female technology leaders created their own career path and the lessons they learned along the way.

This year’s panelists included Abby Pagliaro, Director of Security and Endpoint Platforms with MassMutual, Michelle Gruener, Sr. Manager of Cybersecurity at SailPoint, Nikki Saliaris, Sr. Security Engineer at Upstart, Libby Christensen, Principle Program Manager with Sumo Logic and moderator Stacy Kornluebke, Director of Education with Sumo Logic. Here are some of the key takeaways:

A career is not a linear journey

Many panelists revealed that their path to technology leadership roles was not necessarily traditional.

Quote - Michelle Gruener - Abby Pagliaro

Cultural expectations still exist for women in the workplace

Whether you are a leader or not, there are still cultural expectations and microaggressions for women that exist in the workplace.

Quote Libby Christensen Michelle Gruener

There’s a lot of bad advice out there…but good advice too

We’ve all received some advice that perhaps was not particularly helpful or even hurtful. The panelists shared some of the good, bad and ugly advice they’ve received along the way in their careers.

Quote Libby Christensen - Nikki Saliaris - Abby Pagliaro

As companies continue to diversify their workforces, understanding the value of female employees and providing opportunities to grow into the next generation of leaders will be critical in order to limit beliefs and biases in the workplace. And bonus, creating this talent pipeline can also increase business performance, employee satisfaction and culture.

Check out the video above to hear more from the panelists.

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Melissa Beck

Melissa Beck

Sr. Director of Global Communications

Melissa is a strategic communications professional with 20+ years of experience developing and scaling global communications and influencer programs. Currently, she leads global communications for Sumo Logic focusing on corporate thought leadership, customer advocacy, employee communications and social media. In addition, she runs Sumo Logic's Customer Advisory Board.

More posts by Melissa Beck.

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