We hear a lot today about STEM initiatives, Girls Who Code, and many other efforts to get girls and young women excited about technology. How about developing those women leaders in tech? That’s where today’s Fit List Woman, Tiffany Roesler comes in. Tiffany is the President of ISPOSSIBLE IN TECH, a technology staffing firm based in NYC with a satellite office in Chicago. She is also the founder of ISPOSSIBLE WOMEN WHO ROCK which is a monthly meetup designed to foster community for women in tech with the mission to increase the number of women leaders in tech by inspiring and celebrating women in tech who are rocking, and we are very sure that she is Fit to Lead. Welcome to the Fit List, Tiffany.
1. Tell us about your career path. How did you get interested in technology staffing?
In college, I had an internship at a staffing agency; that experience surprisingly had a lasting impression. After graduation, I tried a few different sales positions in various industries before returning to staffing. I find staffing to be dynamic, using a combination of skills from building relationships, marketing, journalism, interviewing skills, to using cooperative negotiation. I chose tech because when I entered the industry it felt like the gold rush of the Wild West! I saw the tech space as ripe for big dreams with less red tape than the giant companies I worked for previously.
2. What made you decide to found ISPOSSIBLE IN TECH?
Success. I worked at a previous tech staffing firm with several of our current team members. While there, I gained valuable experience and grew my personal network. I had a lot of ideas to improve the business model and cultural environment that I found myself in, and I wanted the opportunity to turn those thoughts into actions. This all would not have happened though if I did not have the relationship I do with my two co-founders Mitch and Pat. I’ve never been alone in this, and I never will be. I’m honored to say that our first hire Brittany (who joined us on day 1) is still with us today, as is Doug who joined us two months later. They are a big part of our success, as are two other key team members Kristin and Ashley with whom Pat and I worked at our former agency.
3. Women in Tech? How are we doing? Do you see progress being made?
A lot of people have been looking to Google, Facebook and Twitter as a benchmark to give insight into this. An article in the Huffington Post noted that “at Google, women make up 30 percent of the company’s overall workforce, but hold only 17 percent of the company’s tech jobs.” The same was noted for Facebook which cited that 15 percent of tech roles are staffed by women. Despite this, I personally do see progress being made and I also see women and men consciously working to increase diversity.
4. Why does it matter? Why do you think it’s important for there to be more women in tech?
All equality is good for business. I think the CEO of Apple says it best, “I became aware of a fundamental truth: People are much more willing to give of themselves when they feel that their selves are being fully recognized and embraced.” For me personally, I don’t just want to see more women in tech, I want to see more women in leadership positions in tech. The problem started as far back as when we decided to label anything for girls in pink and anything for boys in blue. As a society we tend to give boys Legos to play with and girls dolls to play with…we also tend to give girls the message they are not builders or leaders. We put this pressure on girls and women to always be pleasant and smile….There is a movement happening to counter this, and I’m passionate about helping. Why? Simply because I want us all to have the option to choose.
5. What does it mean to be an angel investor? What made you become one?
As an angel investor, I invest capital in early stage start-ups in exchange for convertible equity. For me, it is a way to further participate in supporting founders to succeed. To date, I’ve made 3 investments and advise two early stage companies. Of these, three have at least one female founder and two have one LGBTQ founder. Being an angel investor is one more way that I am able to support increasing the number of women and diverse leaders in tech.
7. What are your best interview tips? What is the surest way to nail it? To blow it?
My tip is simple, interview at companies that are doing business that interests you and/or have a team or mentor that you are interested in working with. When you are in alignment with that, everything else falls into place. There are many ways to blow an interview…not researching the company, not asking questions or showing interest, and not conveying confidence being some of the most common. Be honest about your experience, and don’t hold back on sharing your strengths or your willingness. We all bring something to the table, some of us are “help”– we’re given an area to work on, and we go it on our own. Some of us are “helpers”— we’re given not only the direction of what needs to be done but also how, and we crush it. Know what the role calls for and what you can do.
8. You are a true change agent. Do you ever feel beaten down? How do you stay positive?
Definitely. Having a great support system made of friends, co-workers, and my fiancé Danielle is super helpful. Most importantly, it’s understanding that the downs are a part of business and of life. Facing them, feeling them, and letting them go is how to get through them.
9. What motivates you? What is your favorite part about what you do?
For me, I believe there are a lot of ways to make money. I believe that I’m smart enough to make money doing something that I enjoy. I get a lot of joy from helping people achieve their own financial freedom and mastery within our industry. I don’t have two separate personas…one for work and one for home—this saves me a lot of energy. To date, we have 12 people that are a part of Ispossible and coaching them is my favorite part of what I do. From a young age, I have always loved reading biographies…I love hearing a person’s story. I love building and I love teaching. Being able to spend every day hearing people’s stories and helping them to write them is one of the best parts of my job.
10. What about if you are having an off day? How do you reenergize yourself?
I change what I’m doing. Then when I’m ready, I face what I believe is the cause. I also have an orange journal that I’ve been adding to for the last 2 and a half years. In this journal are all my mindset beliefs. These beliefs are either quotes that I’ve written or that I’ve read somewhere and jotted down. Such as, “No joyous light at the end of tunnel, if going thru the tunnel wasn’t fun.”-(Abraham Hicks) The more experience I build in getting through off days, the better and faster I am able to get through. I don’t strive for perfection or perfect days either.
11. What do you find to be the biggest confidence builder? Confidence buster?
Answering these questions is a confidence boost! Any form of mentoring I find to be a confidence boost. Confidence buster is telling a story to make yourself seem humble because you do not want to seem as if you are bragging.
12. What does She’s Fit to Lead mean to you? What makes someone Fit to Lead?
To me, being “Fit to Lead” means being mentally up for the challenge. I think the best way to become fit to lead is to start. You can be a leader simply by using your voice, sharing your views and contributing to the solution when a problem arises.
13. Any advice for must take college courses?
Whatever interests you, keep following that. I’ll never forget an exercise a professor did with us in a Women’s Literature course. We went around the room and everyone had to share a brag about themselves. That was the last time I was uncomfortable bragging. I still have moments where I dislike being the center of attention but I check myself. I got to know my classmates a lot better from that exercise and it’s still my go to ice breaker today!
14. Last thoughts? Something we should have asked but didn’t?
My last thought is to ground yourself with an ISPOSSIBLE mindset…Sometimes we think we are doing worse than we are. Sometimes we think a bad day or making a mistake can’t be rectified. I believe that those thoughts are a form of resistance. I think of resistance as anything that slows energy from flowing. If your goal is to get better, change something, or create something, it is so important that you remove all resistance to that goal. Trust you will find a way. By having that belief, you are allowing more energy to flow towards the goal which ultimately leads to achieving it.
You can follow me @ispossibletiff or reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
PRESIDENT| ISPOSSIBLE IN TECH
555 5th Avenue | 646.728.2321