Welcome to a world where innovation meets determination and women are not just background participants but pioneers of technology. In this world, every line of code tells a story of an initial dream, continued passion and resilience, and eventually progress and achievement. The realm of Technology isn’t considered a man’s space any longer and hasn’t for quite some time. Women in technology worldwide are proving their ability and worth in the industry and pushing boundaries in this ever-evolving landscape.

Hear wisdom from two influential technology leaders, Kelly Solomon, Vice President of Enterprise Architecture at Vestis Corporation and President of ATP, and Jasmine Grant, Senior Vice President and Head of Treasury Technology at Truist. They share insights, triumphs, and their journey on how they came to be where they are in the business. Their noteworthy experiences in the field allow them to advise those considering a tech career, those just starting, or those who need a mental motivation boost to keep going.


Early inspirations and career trajectory

Early experiences, inspirations, and influences shape the trajectory of our lives. Those formative moments of curiosity and encouragement were pivotal for Kelly Solomon and Jasmine Grant. Reflecting on their younger years and fascination with technology, the women share how embracing STEM experiences and learning opportunities propelled them into remarkable careers.

Solomon shares how it all got started for her:  “Growing up as a geeky kid in the 80s, I was fascinated with video games and computers, though there was limited access. My professional journey into the tech industry began with my first “real job” in Atlanta, where I started by answering phones for a software company. I embraced every task as a learning opportunity. There was no job above or beneath me. I learned so much and was given the opportunity to develop a monetized support model and establish the company’s first service desk, marking the beginning of an incredible career journey.”

Grant describes her early memories:  “I originally was inspired to move into STEM as a Chemical Engineer.  When I was young, my mother would go to these Mary Kay parties, and they would use me as a face model for their products.  I was allured by the image transformation that makeup could make and how it made women feel beautiful and more confident. As I considered college, I decided to major in Chemical Engineering and Minor in Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan.   I was inspired to create a safe, cruelty-free, organic makeup line as, at the time, a lot of makeup was tested on animals, which I felt was inhumane.  That ‘Mary Kay’ inspiration started my STEM journey.”

Furthermore, after completing her MBA, Grant shifted towards a business and financial focus due to a mismatch with chemical engineering culture. She then transitioned to consulting and a role at SunTrust Bank, driving large technology projects. Grant excelled in technology transformation and found fulfillment in leading a tech organization supporting the Treasury side of the business. Ultimately, she learned she was passionate about solving complex needs, staying competitive, and “getting things done” with a great team.

Both women highlight pivotal moments that shaped their career paths and solidified their passion for technology. Not only did their initial experiences with tech and business alter their lives for good, but profound people along their journeys helped pave the way to success.


The lasting impact of mentorship

Mentors are like guiding stars, offering wisdom, support, and perspective.

In an article in Forbes, the author explains how research backs the long-lasting positive effects of being mentored by someone else and being a mentor to others. Mentorship allows for skillset growth, greater job satisfaction, and fulfillment at work. It is also used as a catalyst to grow leaders.

Both Solomon and Grant recognize the transformative power of mentorship, how it has helped them along the way, and how they use it to support others starting in their careers.

“One of the defining moments in my career was meeting Johnnie McKenzie at HDI (Help Desk Institute), who later became a mentor and brought me into The Coca-Cola Company. Johnnie’s mentorship was transformative; she invested her time and knowledge in me and exemplified what it means to be a strong woman in a male-dominated field. Her guidance taught me the importance of self-advocacy and the realization that, ultimately, I am the architect of my own career journey. Learning to advocate for oneself is a skill and a mindset that propels women forward in the tech industry and beyond. A mentee must be prepared to receive and put in the work to get the most out of mentorship,”  explains Solomon of her experience with mentorship, both having and being a mentor. She points out something quite important: mentorship is not just about guidance but also about seizing opportunities and shaping our destinies.

Grant also shares how mentorship looks to her: “I have had many mentors and sponsors. I remember two that were critical in my career. Ron taught me how to run a portfolio and endorsed me into grad school, and Bryce sponsored me into new tech leadership roles. They helped me reach new heights in my career and not let an ‘imposter’ mindset sabotage me from future opportunities.”

Additionally, she explains how she invests in future women in technology. “You recognize your village in helping you by giving back- I have helped many colleagues achieve their academic or career goals. Some of my mentor relationships are twenty years old, and it’s a very fulfilling friendship. I have supported their journey from aspiring consultant to MBA to running a division, and now they are giving me coaching back!  Investing in a person and having them grow is beautiful; over time, they do the same for you.  The relationships count at the end of the day- it’s much easier to be called into an opportunity than to look for one.  The more you give to others and foster meaningful relationships- the opportunities are endless.”


Keys to success for women in tech

In the workplace, especially in tech and other STEM arenas where women sometimes feel outnumbered, women must support each other. It’s about more than advice – it’s more about unleashing the collective power of women to propel each other’s careers forward. When women stand together, they defy norms, smash barriers, and carve out their space with unapologetic determination. Solomon and Grant both work on embracing this sisterhood in the tech world, amplifying others’ voices, and rewriting the narrative of success for themselves.

Solomon encourages aspiring women to embrace challenges and opportunities for growth, highlighting the power of saying “yes” even in the face of uncertainty. The following is advice she’d give women pursuing careers in tech and girls interested in STEM.

“The most invaluable advice I’ve been given and want to pass along is the power of saying ‘yes.’ Even when feeling unqualified, embracing challenges as opportunities for growth has been pivotal in my career. Stretching beyond comfort zones is not just beneficial – it’s essential for personal and professional development.”

Grant shares insightful advice as well, she says, “Your career is a journey; have a vision, but be open to that vision changing as you grow your skill set and pursue what brings you happiness at work. Relationships are critical, so always make sure you establish and invest in your network because as you grow when opportunities surface, you are more successful in having people reach out to you to join them versus posting to roles online and fighting with a recruiter’s job filtering software to translate your value enough to get an interview.”

She also advises women not to succumb to “imposter syndrome” or feelings of inadequacy when presented with opportunities, as those offering the opportunities believe in their qualifications. She suggests establishing a personal Board of Directors (BOD) for genuine feedback and guidance in seizing opportunities. Additionally, she recommends using motivational music to evoke a sense of empowerment and readiness to seize opportunities.


Leading the way in Technology

Women in technology aren’t just joining in; they’re leading the charge, reshaping the story of success with grit and creativity. As Kelly Solomon and Jasmine Grant exemplify, the path to success in tech is marked by early inspiration, resilience, and profound mentorship. Their experiences highlight the transformative power of advocating for themselves, embracing challenges, and nurturing meaningful relationships in propelling careers forward. As women stand together, defy norms, and amplify each other’s voices, they break barriers and create endless opportunities for themselves and future generations in the dynamic landscape of technology.


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