4 mins

10 stories from inspirational women you don't want to miss this International Women’s Day.

LeadDev is celebrating some of the incredible women we’ve worked with over the past year. No stone has been left unturned, as we tackle themes such as navigating parenthood, dealing with unfulfilling work, tips for successful leadership, and how to support the next generation of engineers.

In no particular order, here are 10 stories from 11 amazing women:

1. Iccha Sethi, Navigating parental leave as a senior leader

In this talk, Iccha shares the learnings from her two periods of parental leave and breaks down what you should consider doing before, during, and after it. If you’re planning a period of extended leave or supporting a team member who will be away from work for a while, this talk is a go-to guide for navigating the transition. 

2. Cassidy Williams, Being available, the secret to great leadership 

Ever wondered what makes a great engineering leader? In this article Cassidy hones in on one principle that is often left out of the commonly recited list: being available. “Being there for people is about building relationships with your teams and your community”, she writes. This can make a huge impact on the culture, influencing how people work and act, in addition to the wider industry as a whole.

3. Sara Sparrow, The surprisingly high cost of multitasking (and how to avoid it)

Challenging the stereotype that multitasking is an effective way to work, Sara Sparrow explains how multitasking impedes productivity in engineering teams, providing tips on how you can kick the habit.

4. Krys Flores, How becoming a parent accelerated my path to staff engineer

“An unfortunate but common narrative presented to women is that a successful career and parenthood are in opposition.” Having already faced many challenges, Krys Flores disregarded this narrative and became a better leader because of it. In this article, she shares how becoming a parent taught her many things and helped her fast-track her career as an individual contributor (IC). 

5. Plum Ertz, You’re not lacking passion, you’re lacking energy

We’ve all heard of the common phrase “your reputation precedes you”. Yet what do you do when your reputation not only precedes you, but starts to engulf you too? This article covers the necessary steps to take when your energy for doing the things you love starts to wane. The key takeaway? Energy and passion are not interchangeable! 

6. Swati Swoboda, How to lead when you’re going through a personal crisis 

It’s hard for leaders to be vulnerable when experiencing a personal crisis, often because they’re typically the support system for individuals facing challenges. Minimizing personal situations may feel like the noble thing to do; but vulnerability is not a failure, ignorance of what’s going on is. In this poignant read, Swati Swoboda explores how she navigated a difficult time in her life whilst also showing up as a leader, and shares how you can too. 

7. Leslie Chapman, Why you should be a mentor (yes, even you!)

“It’s never too early to learn how to give back as a mentor, because being a mentor is about sharing your experiences, as well as what worked well for you and what you would have done differently,” Leslie Chapman writes. This article details what mentorship looks like in practice, how to become a great mentor, and why you should give it a go (yes, even you!). 

8. Vaidehi Joshi, Three strategies for building trust with your engineering teams

Trust is the backdrop for building successful teams and is often the difference between an effective manager and…well, just a manager. Most leaders will already know the importance of establishing trust in the workplace, so Vaidehi Joshi cuts the preamble in this article and gets straight to the “how” with her three proven strategies for building trust within the teams that you lead. 

9. Jessie Auguste and Amber Shand, Be the catalyst in a junior engineer’s career 

Juniors need leaders to guide, support, and upskill them. In this short talk, Amber and Jessie share the four key areas of a junior’s journey that you should bear in mind. From research and community conversations to lived experience as non-STEM background engineers, they highlight the benefits of hiring engineers from non-traditional backgrounds and the skill sets they can bring to your organization. Considering hiring juniors? Watch this video before you start looking for candidates. 

10. Taylor Poindexter, Fostering psychological safety in distributed teams 

Have you ever watched Matilda? Taylor draws reference between the young character and individuals within the workplace to help define and characterize what a lack of psychological security looks like. Drawing from her experience as an engineering manager, Taylor explains what fostering psychological safety in distributed teams looks like in practice. She highlights how you can ensure you are building happy and healthy teams where trust, boundaries, and constructive feedback are woven into the fabric of your team. 


Happy International Women’s Day from the LeadDev team! We can’t wait to hear the stories you share with us this year. 

If you’ve got a story to share with our community of engineering leaders, we’d love to hear from you. Submit your idea for a conference talk or published article here