Breaking Through Impostor Syndrome

Interview with Melonie de Guzman for the Women in STEM, Reimagined masterclass.

Melonie is what can only be described as an “OG” in high profile digital projects. She has been in the tech industry since 2005 (before Twitter!) and has managed over 40 websites, 80 apps, and spearheaded the Women in Technology Association Across Canada.

And not unlike many women in tech, she has faced her fair share of imposter syndrome. 

Imposter Syndrome

Many women may have dreams or ideas and hopes for the world and how to make it better but maybe fear is holding them back; fear that they are not deserving of recognition for their work, or that not downplaying their contribution will come off as “braggy”.

Melonie had that fear too until she decided enough is enough.

After fourteen or fifteen years in the industry, Melonie realized that she was not getting the promotions or raises that she wanted, even though she was producing great results and earning all the extra certifications. 

The Breakthrough

“I was doing all the things I thought I needed to,” Melonie shared. “I couldn’t get the promotion or raise, but I was getting more and more responsibility.” 

The sticking point? She was waiting for promotions and permission to grow her career. When she stopped putting that control in the hands of the people above her in the organizational structure everything changed. 

But how do you get past the imposter syndrome preventing you from fully sharing your worth? 

  1. Listening to podcasts, mentors and coaches

Listening is one way to spark the motivation to find who you are. As a woman in STEM, you likely do not have a large community around you that understands your struggle or situation. By consuming content of people who can relate, you’ll be reminded that you are not alone. That support can give you the push to know that you can do this!

  1. Know your worth

Knowing your worth doesn’t come naturally. That’s because imposter syndrome is real. It is all too easy to downplay your contribution to big projects and big clients, but really you should be proud of that. “I worked hard, got great results,” Melonie summarizes. “I should be proud.”

  1. Advocating for myself

Melonie shares what herself and so many women in STEM have done, “I was doing things quietly behind the scenes, waiting to be recognized. Nothing happened.” It was once she started talking about what she knew, her work and what she has done that it started connecting her to many opportunities. It’s about taking responsibility for yourself, instead of waiting for recognition.

Where to Start

Melonie started on LinkedIn. “In the first post I did, I worked an hour on the paragraph making sure it was professional and would come off the right way,” she laughs. What helped her click the share button was thinking that no one was really looking. “Plus, if they don’t care, they’ll keep scrolling, and if they do care, then we will see where that goes”. 

She started sharing her passions for different types of leadership and changing the workplace, not the people. “When I started talking about my passions, I realized that so many people are craving that information”. She got a lot of engagement. People reached out to share that they could relate. 

“You can feel very alone as a woman in tech. But when you speak up, you find that your experience is actually more universal,” Melonie shares. “And it’s motivating to keep going and help each other with these universal problems.”

It can be scary when you put yourself out there. You hear a lot of stories about people getting really mean in the comments. But you can be professional and kind without giving in.  

One last reminder from Melonie; “Posting one or two posts won’t make the world come down.” 

At the end of the day, sharing a post can only help distinguish yourself in your field and connect you to a like-minded support network.

Missed Women in STEM, Reimagined? 

Melonie de Guzman is a digital media maven, working on high profile digital projects since 2005, before Twitter was even a thing. Today, she manages over 40 websites, 80 apps and has spearheaded a Women in Technology association across Canada. Connect with Melonie on LinkedIn here.

Dr. Nicole Tschierske is a positive psychology coach who helps women in STEM get noticed in their company so they attract their next opportunity with total ease.

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