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Pivoting in the Technology Sector

Last month, we attended the fourth annual Villanova Women in Tech conference, sponsored by Villanova's School of Business (VSB). From hearing the amazing story of Eloise Young, Philadelphia Gas Works SVP, during the keynote, to presenting on and participating in panel discussions, to connecting with others from the VU student, alumni, and faculty body - all made for a memorable experience with much anticipated follow-up to occur as a result of our attendance.

The conference's theme of 'pivot' served as a dual reference to both the physical basketball move and analogous workplace moves that one takes throughout the course of a career. On the basketball front, we even received a live demonstration from a recent VU alum and former women's basketball player, Megan Quinn, on how to pivot in basketball. We also watched a short video clip of current VU women's basketball players and their reasons for pivoting during game time. These reasons included:

  • To change directions

  • To create space

  • To pass

  • To create opportunity

  • To keep the competition guessing

Thanks to Moore's law, the exponential rate of change in technology makes 'pivoting' an absolute must for anyone working in the technology sector. When thinking of how or why one might pivot while working within the collective set of 'wares' coined as soft, hard, and middle, the items included in the above list are probably not too far off. Perhaps of equal or more importance to the act of pivoting itself, however, is knowing *when* to pivot, which requires an outward, peripheral look at and grasping of the entire 'court' at any given point in time.

Like playing basketball, it takes years to develop the skills required to both time and carry out the act of pivoting in tech. Until then, the importance of working for and with strong, technical leadership that has mastered the pivot cannot be understated - leaders just like Eloise Young, Carla Small of Boston Children's Innovation Directorate, Dean Russell and Sue Metzger of VSB, Kathleen Malone of VU's computer science department, Norris Heintzelman of Lockheed Martin Corporation, and many others who participated in this year's Women in Tech event. Until next year's conference, may pivoting go well whenever needed to be performed - both on and off the basketball court.

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