Lesa Kertz has been a graphic designer at OWC for three and a half years. She is one of the veteran employees that made the move from Woodstock, Ill. when the company opened its Austin, Texas office in late 2012. Lesa sat down with OWC’s Women in Tech Blog to reflect on her career with OWC and talk about her goals for the future. She also opened up about how and why the landscape for women in the tech industry is improving so rapidly.
What was it that first attracted you to the tech sector?
Actually, I didn’t really know much about the tech industry before working at OWC. I didn’t really set out to work for a tech company; I just wanted to work for a company that was making a difference. I found that at OWC. Having an insider’s view of what’s coming next for the tech industry is an extra benefit.
How did you acquire the skills you need for your position?
I worked in the art department for a bag company and decided to go to school for graphic design. I received my bachelor’s degree in graphic design and started two internships to further my skills and receive real world experience.
Is it challenging to constantly keep your skills up to date with the latest technology? What do you do to stay current?
It is challenging. Design trends and the tech industry are always advancing. To stay current in design, I read a lot of design blogs, review tutorials, and study other corporate designs. As for staying current in the tech industry, I study our website, read tech blogs, and follow our competitors’ products. I love getting the list from our Product Development department so I know what new products/interfaces are being introduced.
Going forward, I plan on staying ahead of the curve in design and the tech industry, which means more blogs and more tutorials. As a designer, I am also expanding my skills to include web. I also look forward to being more involved in the overall design of our products.
What are you working on now that excites you?
I am always working on several projects at a time from magazine ads and tradeshow graphics to retail displays. I’m not currently working on it, but one of my favorite projects is being able to redesign the retail display for our products at the NYC B&H Video Store. We have to account for everything from the graphics to the security of the products displayed.
Women make up 51% of the work force but only about 25% of the tech sector. What do you think can be done to attract more women to tech jobs?
I think the change is already happening. As our society shifts and we are surrounded by all things tech, more and more women are empowered to work in the tech industry. I also think tech companies are offering more benefits and programs for women who enter the industry. There is more of an understanding that women can excel at their career, while having a family.
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The ever-evolving technology industry has been traditionally populated by males. And while women comprise 51 percent of the workforce, they only make up 26 percent of tech professionals. This lack of diversity limits the potential for innovation in this exciting and important field. OWC’s Women in Tech articles featured on the OWC Blog aim to examine what can be done to attract more women to the industry by highlighting prominent tech professionals, current events, and other relevant stories from within the tech sector. To gain new insight, it is imperative that we tap into the female working population. This progress can be made not only spreading the word and promoting the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (or STEM) fields from an early age to encourage interest and pursuit, but also by demonstrating that tech companies require alternative skill sets such as marketing, design and writing as well. We hope that you will share this series and help us advocate the complete utilization of this important resource.