Women in Water – Sarah Young

Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

One of my managers once described me as a “force multiplier,” and my friends and family would tell you that I never sit down. I consistently seek ways to grow, and help others reach their potential personally and professionally. Sitting down is also difficult when I’m running around after our very busy toddler and Bernedoodle, and pursuing other activities such as cycling, traveling, yoga, reading, and scuba diving.  

Were you always interested in working for WW companies? What made you decide to pursue an engineering/tech/WW career?

I have always been passionate about making a meaningful impact with my work. You spend too many hours of your life working to not be doing something important for society. I initially intended to work in non-profit, but ultimately have pursued a career in the private sector with software companies, like Transcend, that are mission driven, focused on empowering public sector organizations.

How does it feel to be a woman working in the WW industry?

I certainly find myself being the only woman in a meeting room more frequently than I’d like, but in comparison to the healthcare and insurance industries that I worked in previously, I have found more opportunities to work with, and network with female leaders.

Do you think that women are underrepresented in WW? If so, why do you think that’s the case?

There are statistically fewer women in the industry than men, and women are especially underrepresented in leadership roles. There seems to be greater emphasis, more so than I have experienced in other industries, to increase representation of women in the industry, which is evident in the slowly increasing rates of women in leadership roles. I’d like to see continued efforts in recruiting women in entry level roles and supporting their growth to ultimately increase the pool of qualified female leadership candidates in the future.  

What’s your role at Transcend? What do you do on a typical day?

As Vice President of Revenue Operations, my primary responsibilities include overseeing our demand generation function, channel partner program, and select enterprise account strategies to drive sales pipeline and customer growth. My day to day is always a bit different, which keeps things interesting. Interviewing and training new team members, developing strategy and process frameworks, and meeting with prospective customers are typical day to day actions.

Why did you choose to work at Transcend?

Transcend is uniquely solving a critical challenge, with a cutting-edge technology solution. The product is fantastic, and it’s backed by an incredible group of people. I was drawn to the authentic, growth minded, fun leaders and the mission the company is aiming to achieve.

What are the challenges at work that you learn from the most?

It’s difficult not to learn from any challenge.  Usually, the learnings that stick with me most are the situations where I failed. It’s the time I didn’t attain a goal that I was responsible for reaching, or a decision I made that didn’t work out well. Or it’s been the challenges that took the most effort and collaboration with others to overcome.

What learning/growth opportunities have impacted you most?

The opportunities that have impacted me most were situations where I had advocates in higher level leadership roles internally, who took the time to empower me to make decisions, involve me in a decision-making process, and share their logic and approach to creating a plan/driving a result. The other opportunities where I’ve learned/grown most are with customer and industry advocates, who know the market far better than I do, and are collaborative in teaching and discussing their views.

What advice would you give to other women wanting to join this industry? What do you wish you had known?

Embrace the Nike motto and “Just Do It.” There are hundreds of reasons to say no to something, but if you let fear and risk aversion stand in your way, you won’t be able to achieve big things. There is so much opportunity in the infrastructure technology space, and the utility sector, globally. Every day, I talk to people who have concerns about recruiting and retaining talent. I wish that I had exposure earlier on (high school and college) to learn about opportunities in water. If you’re looking for a long term career, in a market where you can make a meaningful impact, look no further. If you need a pep talk, call me or reach out to me on LinkedIn.


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