Girls, What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up? 

elev8 - 4 min read

Featured image for International Women's Day article titled "Girls, What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?" showing a shadow figure of a women's face with the hashtag #inspireinclusion.

Do you remember being asked this question when you were younger? As you age, chances are that the people around you and your environment heavily influenced your answer. Your decision to pursue your initial career choice will be affected by the reaction from your network when you become verbal about it.

Did you get a positive reaction when you told your peers you wanted to become a data analyst? Did you even know that this was a career option for you? If you didn’t have the right support, alternative careers might have felt like a route filled with risk of failure. 

Girls face a significant shortage of role models, reinforcing the idea that a career in STEM is unavailable to them. Female scientists and engineers are scarcely depicted in media and books. By recognizing the importance of role models, three key advantages emerge: 

  • Role models showcase and extend the possibilities available to women. 
  • They exemplify the behaviors and mindsets necessary to achieve newfound possibilities. 
  • They ignite inspiration in women, encouraging them to set higher goals and foster greater ambition than they might otherwise have. 

Observing individuals who look like oneself play a crucial role in believing that such aspirations are attainable. Therefore, exposing girls, particularly young women, to role models actively involved in STEM-related careers, innovation, teaching, and discoveries is essential. This exposure is vital for sustaining their interest and determination in STEM fields, significantly increasing their likelihood of becoming future innovators. This exposure helps them internalize the belief that there is no reason why a woman cannot excel in any field, just as a man can, fostering a natural assumption that their abilities have no bounds. 

The tech landscape constantly evolves, presenting opportunities for women of diverse backgrounds to undergo professional growth and transformation. To successfully make the shift, it is vital to take technical training courses and acquire the relevant skills to start a tech career. 

Jeannie Bonilla, Elev8’s Country Manager for Costa Rica, is a great example. “I studied Criminal Law and was sure to pursue this as a career. A few years later, I became an entrepreneur tapping into a completely different industry and, once again, decided to change. I joined the corporate world, working in the tech industry, which I truly enjoy.” 

Making a career change into tech with no previous experience can seem overwhelming. However, women can always identify transferable skills from prior jobs, develop new tech skills independently, and use their network to find opportunities. 

“I would tell my 25-year-old self that it’s okay to make mistakes, and understanding that when things don’t work the way we expected them to, in reality, is an opportunity to learn, grow and, eventually, find the right path for you. I would tell her to relax, you’re enough,” Bonilla says. 

Click here to read about Susan Onyekachi, Cytek’s Cyber and Information Security Analyst, and her unconventional path to cybersecurity

Women who want to pursue a career change or upskill in tech can do so by embracing continuous learning and development, which is crucial for both employees and employers. 

Check this link to read more about Susan Onyekachi, Cytek’s Cyber and Information Security Analyst, and her unconventional path to cybersecurity. 

At Elev8, we actively create opportunities to enhance women’s talent and leadership potential within the organization. This includes providing opportunities for visibility and exposure to senior leadership, assigning challenging projects and stretch assignments, and creating a supportive network of peers and mentors. We also encourage women to take on leadership roles and participate in decision-making processes, ensuring their voices are heard and valued in shaping the future of our company. 

We believe in continuous learning and growth for our team members and for the learners that join our training programs. Investing in higher education is one of the ways we support our employees in advancing their knowledge and skills. Here is a detailed overview of how we facilitate this investment: 

  • Training and Development Opportunities: We provide various trainings and development opportunities, which include workshops, seminars, webinars, and online courses. These resources help our team members stay updated with industry trends and enhance their professional skills. 
  • Mentorship Programs: We have mentorship programs where experienced professionals within the company guide and support employees pursuing higher education. This mentorship helps individuals navigate their learning journey effectively while balancing work responsibilities. 
  • Flexible Work Arrangements: To accommodate employees pursuing higher education, we offer flexible work arrangements such as adjusted schedules, remote work options, or part-time roles. This flexibility enables individuals to manage their academic commitments alongside their job responsibilities. 
  • Career Path Planning: We assist employees in creating personalized career development plans that align with their educational goals. By mapping out a clear path for advancement within the company, we motivate our team members to continue investing in their education. 

Abrar Saleh, Elev8’s Head of Human Resources, explains, “Over the past year, our company has made significant strides in advancing women’s participation across all levels of the organization. We’ve implemented targeted recruitment initiatives to attract more women to various roles and fostered a supportive and inclusive work environment where women feel empowered to excel. Additionally, we’ve actively worked on reducing gender biases in hiring, promotion, and decision-making processes, ensuring equal opportunities for career growth and advancement.” 

The Impact of Female Role-Models 

We got to ask Jeannie’s daughter, Andrea, about her goals and thoughts on her future. Here’s what she said: “When I grow up, I would like to be a software developer because I like technology, and I enjoy coding.” 

Her answer indicates a significant shift in societal attitudes and opportunities for women in technology. Over the past decade, there has been a concerted effort to showcase the achievements and contributions of women in technology. From prominent female CEOs to influential figures in the technology sector, the visibility of successful women in the industry has inspired younger generations. 

International Women’s Day Highlights in Costa Rica and Nigeria 


  • International Women’s Day (IWD) Microsoft Garage Experience: We recently organized a visit for 50 female tech professionals from a prominent African financial institution. It took place at the Microsoft Garage in Lagos, Nigeria, marking a significant milestone in the tech immersion journey for these women. The experience was impactful and warmly embraced by the trainees, who gained valuable practical knowledge on the application of AI across various tech domains, including cybersecurity, data analysis, marketing, and software engineering. 
  • ISC2 IWD Event: Our team hosted ISC2, a prominent cybersecurity group, on a session titled ‘Investing in Women in Cybersecurity – Unlocking Potentials’ at our hub in Lagos, Nigeria. Our esteemed guests included female Information Security Officers, IT Managers, and C-suite officers from various sectors. 

Costa Rica 

  • Panel Session “Leadership Voices: Women’s Dynamic and Evolving Role in Influencing Organizational Success”:  To kick-off International Women’s Day celebrations, Jeannie Bonilla Oliva, Country Manager for Elev8 Costa Rica, participated on Tuesday as a Corporate Governance and Strategy panelist along with other female leaders at the exclusive business event hosted by media outlet La República. The event’s theme was: “Addressing Challenges Faced by CEO Women in Leadership Positions in LATAM.” 
  • International Women’s Day Virtual Forum with Estrategia y Negocios: Together with Estrategia y Negocios, we organized a virtual forum titled: ‘Technology with a Woman’s face’. Elev8’s Country Manager in Costa Rica, Jeannie Bonilla, shed light on how we have empowered women in Costa Rica through our skilling programs. 

Our Commitment to International Women’s Day 

At Elev8, our unwavering commitment is to support everywoman’s journey towards realizing their aspirations. As we commemorate International Women’s Day in 2024, let this be a collective celebration of strength, resilience, and triumph. But International Women’s Day is more than a day – it’s a continuous effort that must be made by our industry to empower and inspire women, fostering the next generations of women in tech. We invite you to share your inspiring stories, creating a tapestry of empowerment that echoes far beyond this moment. Together, let’s build a world where dreams know no boundaries and every woman can confidently pursue and achieve her aspirations.  

Join us in shaping a future where empowerment is not just a goal but a reality for every woman.