Women Talk Tech Episode 14: Diverse Teams Make Stronger Solutions


Available on iTunes.

 

On this week’s Women Talk Tech podcast, we talk to Joyce Durst who is the CEO and co-Founder of Growth Acceleration Partners, a nearshore software development company based in Austin, Texas. She co-founded the company in 2007 after a 20+ career in the software industry. Bootstrapped from the beginning, Growth Acceleration Partners (GAP) has since grown into a thriving and profitable business with other 300 employees and offices in Colombia and Costa Rica.

 

Joyce is an engineer by education but has been successful in the tech industry because she expanded her roles and did not stick to just one trade. Joyce sought positions in sales and marketing to learn the business model of successful companies and this ultimately contributed to her success as a CEO and business owner.

 

GAP supports women in tech through all cultures and operates its software development centers in Costa Rica and Colombia. With focused efforts in both the U.S. and Latin America, half of GAP’s executive team is comprised of women leading the way in finance, software delivery, and human resources. Roughly 70 percent of the company’s directors are women who oversee large teams delivering complex software solutions to major clients throughout the U.S. Joyce says herself and her team weren’t afraid to say “yes” to qualified women seeking leadership positions.

 

The very first thing you have to do, according to Joyce, when trying to encourage more women to enter and stay in the tech sector is to listen in a different way. Women think they have to have 125% of the skills for a particular job before they’ll raise their hand and even then, they still won’t raise their hand. You need to listen to determine if they are interested because in most cases, they are qualified but often need that nudge to move great talent further.

 

Joyce’s company sets the gold standard for how to attract and support women in tech because she practices what she preaches.  The four main issues that Joyce says are the key to advancing women in tech are the same four main issues the Women Talk Tech Podcast addresses. If companies can address these issues, it isn’t that hard to encourage more women to come work in the technology sector and keep them there.

  • Recruitment Practices 
  • Mentorship and Sponsorship
  • Workplace Environment
  • Pay Equity

 

At all levels of the company, we actively recruit more women and so all of my recruiting teams understand I want more women in engineering. Every time we open up an engineering position, I want them to go find female candidates and I want to interview all the candidates, even if they think they don’t have the skills for the position in question.

 

Marie Wiese recently launched the “Future Poof Workshop” to solve challenges that the tech industry is currently experiencing in attracting women to the industry. This workshop includes sessions on best-recruiting practices, pay equity benchmarks and how to create a mentorship and sponsorship initiative within their own company. To sign up or learn more, click here.

 

ABOUT JOYCE DURST

Joyce leverages 30 years of software industry experience to lead double-digit growth and profitability at Growth Acceleration Partners (GAP), a nearshore development company based in Austin, Texas. Prior to co-founding GAP in 2007, she was CEO of venture-backed startup Pinion Software, where Joyce raised $21 million to fund the launch of several pioneering products in the security space. She also spent 12 years at BMC Software, a publicly-traded software solutions company, where she held numerous roles spanning marketing, sales and product development. She quickly rose to vice president and general manager of the products division, overseeing more than $200 million in sales.

Joyce’s biggest passion is investing in others, committed to mentoring women CEOs and first-time entrepreneurs. A sought-after speaker on leadership and women in business, Joyce is active with the Women Presidents’ Organization and Special Olympics, and has been awarded for her leadership by the Greater Austin Chamber. She earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Texas A&M University, where she serves on the development council for the Mays Business School. Connect with Joyce on LinkedIn and follow Growth Acceleration Partners on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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