Ashley Kramer has been working at data analytics software company Alteryx for less than a year, but has been very impressed by the number of women she's seen in leadership positions.
“One thing I noticed about Alteryx was one of their three co-founders was a woman, Libby Duane Adams. That seemed rare to me. Two of our board members are women, which is really rare. And out of the seven executive team members that report directly to the CEO, three of us are women,” she said. Kramer also name checked Langley Eide, the chief strategy officer as another woman leading the way at Alteryx
"Out of the seven executive team members, three of us are women."
.Kramer has also noticed a change over the last two to three years. In the past, she used to walk into big meetings and be the only female in the room, whereas now that is no longer the case.
The VP is a firm believer in hiring and promoting “the right people for the job” and practices what she preaches with her team, which is a mix of men and women. She said this strategy makes good business sense, as she can draw on people with a range of skills and abilities, although women may be more suited to certain analytical tasks.
“Companies want to win. They want the right people in place for the job."
She said: “Companies want to win. They want the right people in place for the job and nobody will deny that in certain cases women think differently. The way that they think differently is a perfect fit for the analytics and data science world. Finally, that is being more recognised.”
In an effort to support women in the company to reach their full potential, Kramer said that Alteryx has good career and personal development programmes that are accessible to everyone. For International Women’s Day last week, it brought in Heather Harris, data scientist and solutions architect at Alaska Airlines, to record a podcast on building a data and analytics culture and how women can help drive that.
To help encourage more girls to consider pursuing a career in data so that, in the future, there are even more women in data leadership positions, several of the women working at Alteryx support different branches of Girls Who Code. In April, Kramer will give a presentation at a Colorado high school and will also volunteer with other women in development to present at extra-curricular programmes.
"Girls are our next data scientists."
She said: “The programmes have been very successful in teaching girls at a young age how to code. They are our next data scientists. That’s our next generation and they are always really great with questions and really interested in what Alteryx does in the data and analytics space.”
Kramer studied Computer Science at university believing she was destined to be a coder. However, her career took an interesting turn when the first job she landed after graduation was at NASA’s Langley Space Centre in Virginia.
“It was interesting because I was part of a virtual reality software project and they kept making me manager of the project.” Kramer said it took her a while and a few more jobs to realise that they did that because she was able to see how the technical piece and the business value piece tied together.
When she moved to Amazon, things really came into focus. “When I got a job working as the technical programme manager for Amazon Kindle, that's when I really realised that my life was meant to be a part of data and analytics,” she said.