“Every environment benefits from more diversity, so it would be positive to have an ecosystem that was more diverse in STEM.”
CEO and Founder Catherine Tabor was recently featured in JAXenter’s Women in Tech column, a diversity series that is designed to spotlight the most inspirational and powerful women in the tech scene.
In it, she discusses her entrepreneurial career and how her team was one of the first to develop connectivity between media and the point of sale, inventing two issued patents related to tracking mobile media and store loyalty.
Her story includes how she got interested in technology and the many obstacles she’s overcome to create Sparkfly’s Offer Management Platform, including the numerous times people have tried to stop her from advancing, including an anecdote from the early days:
“One venture capitalist looked at me and said, “Catherine, sometimes you just have to know when to quit.” He simply didn’t believe that I could build a technology platform to rapidly evolve technological solutions in the point-of-sale space. This interaction has stuck with me throughout my career.”
Despite the naysayers, Catherine has had a lot of support including from her parents, “My parents have always believed in me, supported me, and have been touchstones for me. They are people of great character who have modeled how to approach life and work with integrity, honesty, and humility.”
Today, Catherine’s days are filled with sales, marketing, business operations, leadership, and more. “I spend time working with the Sparkfly team members. I help them understand that the word “no,” a lot of times just means “not right now,” and I make sure to emphasize that there’s always a solution to any challenge.”
Catherine is dedicated to helping women overcome stigmas to succeed in leadership and technology, “I’m the mom of a 13-year-old daughter and there’s still this perception for young women that math, science and technology are ‘guy things’. I think there’s truly a stigma that men are better in all of these areas. That men are better coders, stronger at math, and natural disruptors.”
Despite that stigma, she is encouraged by “organizations like Girls Who Code or Code With Klossy, that are visibly encouraging young women to be more proactive in technology. My hope is this momentum continues to build and grow.”
Her hope is that this momentum gets us to a turning point, “I think the turning point is when we begin to see larger percentages of women on development teams, women sitting on more boards, women on executive teams, and generally more women with technology careers.”
She hopes her story can inspire other women and bring more diversity to STEM. “The first thing every young woman should ask is – Why not me? They should also be aware that anything is possible, of course they can!”
Read the full column on the JAXenter website here.