Working in this industry should focus more on passion, and less on gender. That was part of Blend CEO Karla Santi’s message during her panel appearance with Kristi Noem at this week’s Women of Influence conference.
The conference, billed as a networking and education opportunity for women across South Dakota, took place at Central Baptist Church in Sioux Falls, and had an attendance of nearly 600 people.
From Prairie Business Magazine’s write-up:
Santi’s company focuses on “complicated Web and content problems,” according to its website. And while she acknowledged the tech industry is strongly male-dominated, she doesn’t want to be singled out as a female. She pursued her career because it was a passion, and never saw her gender as an obstacle, noting she has had strong mentors and business partnerships with men and women.
“I didn’t really care if I was a girl. I had people that didn’t treat me any different, anyway,” she said. “I just really had a passion for the work and the industry, and I still find it fascinating.”
She does, however, admit that women who choose to study in male-dominated fields may feel like outsiders from time to time. She hopes her role in the industry will help inspire other young women to pursue their passions — wherever that may be.
“I think it’s really neat to be working in tech, whether I’m a female or not,” she said. “We shouldn’t care that it’s a male-led industry, because you could be the next one encouraging other girls to start.”