As we approach International Women’s Day, the word “community” came to mind. There are so many definitions for the word community. To me, when I think of a community, I think of where I have felt supported, understood and, most of all, being myself. I remember the exact moment I felt this when I went to a Women in Localization event.
I have worked in localization for about 12 years both as an Account Manager and a Project Manager. I was a Project Manager when I gave birth to my son. I had 3 months of maternity leave and came back to my job with my team completely changed. I inherited an account that was challenging, and I was told that I needed to be as good as my predecessor (who is a friend of mine and pretty amazing).
I was exhausted, hormonal, taking care of new baby and working long hours at night. I also felt like there was nobody that I could really talk to about how hard it was, except for my family. I did not want to come off as a woman who was weak or could not succeed or needed help. At that time, I didn’t know about Women in Localization.
A year or so after that position, I was in a new job. I learned about Women in Localization through my manager and he encouraged me to join and go to some local events. I did. Here is where I had that “aha” moment and that feeling of being part of a community.
I attended a mentoring event that Loy Searle and Teresa Marshall were leading. Loy asked, “Does anybody want to share a struggle or challenge that they are facing in their career?” A woman raised her hand and went on to explain how she worked just as hard as her male colleague, putting in many hours, never took any days off and was also a mother to an infant. She mentioned that she would be putting her baby to sleep and wanting the baby to fall asleep quickly because she had work to do. She wondered why her male colleague could do less work and it was okay, while she worked so hard and was hardly ever recognized for her efforts. How many women have been here? At that moment I felt so relieved knowing that no matter what our story is, we are not alone.
After that day, I knew Women in Localization would be my tribe in this industry. When I needed career advice, I reached out to one of the founders and she got on the phone with me within a few hours to talk. The fact that she would do that for me in an instant made me understand the importance of why this community exists and how I hope to do the same for someone who would come to me for advice.
There is a unique bond amongst the members. Everyone wants to help you succeed in the most genuine way even if you have never met them before. I once reached out to a member that I never met for some new job advice and she wrote back to me from the airport on her way to vacation.
Women in Localization has not only made me feel welcome, but I have also learned so much in my career from the numerous events I have attended, the topics discussed and conversations with fellow members. The organization fosters growth for all women who need a little guidance to grow their network or assist them in their career paths.
All of these women have proven that no matter what your position is, who you work for, or where you are located, they will be there for you. What a great community to be a part of and to celebrate on International Women’s Day.