Inside the Careers of Two Leading Women in STEM

28 February, 2023

12 mins read

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Here at Localsearch, there is no shortage of women with impressive careers. Caylee Pharoah and Rieze Cross are just two of these successful women who have been kicking their career goals.

As International Day for Women in Science has just passed and with International Women’s Day approaching, we are taking this opportunity to recognise these talented ladies and their achievements.

International Day for Women in Science was declared on 11 February by the United Nations General Assembly to achieve full and equal access to and participation in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields for women and girls.

When you think of technology, tech giants like Apple or Meta may come to mind first. However, after speaking with Caylee and Rieze, it’s clear there are so many levels involved in making technology work effectively.

Let’s dive into the careers of Caylee and Rieze to find out how you can grow as a woman employed in STEM.

4 Tips for Growing a Career as a Woman in STEM

1. Embrace change – it happens often in technology.

Technology is forever developing and growing. When working in tech (whether directly or as a user of technology in general), it’s crucial to embrace and stay on top of change for your personal and professional growth.

Caylee and Rieze have both embraced huge changes in their respective career areas, appreciating there is always something new to learn and engage.

To succeed in the tech industry, they agree you must keep up with trends and what’s currently happening in the market.

“Change is super exciting, working in the technology space gives you the opportunity to be a part of an evolving environment,” Rieze shared.

Caylee has a similar outlook saying, “No one day is ever the same. In the technology space we need to make sure we are ahead of change as a team.”

2. Explore role variations.

Women only make up 27% of the workforce across all STEM industries. This percentage drops further when looking at females in leadership positions.

While Caylee and Rieze have always worked in different areas of technology, they have both progressed their careers into management and leadership.

For Caylee, she started her career in public relations, before finding her love of the data side of digital marketing. Caylee joined the Localsearch digital team when there were only four members. She grew alongside technology and the business, now leading an incredible team of digital specialists as the Head of Digital Performance.

“Every day, I get to do what I love, and inspire people to do things that inspire them,” Caylee said.

Rieze entered her specialisation at Localsearch as a UX-UI Designer. Her dedication and openminded approach led her to not only lead up-and-coming designers but progress her role into a Product Design Management position.

She shared, “My peers and managers played a vital role in my career growth, always sharing their knowledge and support to explore new ways to use technology to achieve our goals.”

It goes to show, regardless of where you start in STEM, there are endless growth opportunities for those willing to grow alongside technology.

3. Focus on the ‘why’ in your career.

As we’ve seen, a role in STEM will often mean many changes to how you carry out your role — even the actual role you play itself. This can make it difficult to set goals for your career, but it can also help you focus on ‘why’ you do what you do.

Rieze who works on ‘how things look and work’, attained a Bachelor of Arts in Interaction Design, which focused heavily on the UX-UI design skills she would need for her career. This prepared her for her key day-to-day responsibilities including organising, delegating, designing and catching up with stakeholders.

Her new role as Product Design Manager stands out to her as a career accomplishment, as she now looks after all the designs for all Localsearch’s products alongside her team.

Rieze has embraced this change saying, “Seeing my ideas come to life and knowing my design solutions can make a positive impact on our clients, particularly small business owners, is incredibly fulfilling.”

Caylee is on the execution side of how products can be optimised. Having finished her Bachelor of Arts, she went on to undertake advanced studies in Business Management which have equipped her with the skills to effectively lead Localsearch’s digital performance products.

Caylee says it’s the growth in her team that makes her most proud, but it’s the work they do that matters the most.

She shared, “What we do makes a real difference to small businesses across Australia.”

Focusing on the ‘why’ in your career and your goals helps you stay on track even when what you’re doing changes often.

4. Build your character, not just your career.

To get to where they are today, Caylee and Rieze have demonstrated numerous personal strengths across the board. However, certain characteristics have helped these women succeed in their different roles within the tech industry.

Caylee’s adaptability and open-mindedness has allowed her to be open to change and put her hand up for anything that comes her way, even if it’s challenging.

“Leaning into the discomfort is something I really believe in,” she said.

Caylee also shared a lot of what she does comes down to using both knowledge and creativity to solve complex problems and make a positive impact as a team.

On the other hand, Rieze believes having strong organisational skills is a quality that greatly contributes to achieving success as a Product Design Manager.

Whilst being creative is a component in her position, designing for software, apps and technology requires much more structure and coherency between products.

She shared, “Being organised is helpful when looking after so any products as it can be little overwhelming to keep track of everything. Careful planning is the water that nourishes innovation.”

Being able to mediate between stakeholders, clients and her team has been another strength of hers.

“People come to you with a lot of changes and things you may not agree with, but you have to strive to find a middle ground,” she said.

Advice for Women in STEM

Speaking to Caylee and Rieze, it was clear while they worked in vastly different areas of the technology industry, much of their core beliefs for growing a career as a woman in STEM were the same. 

To wrap-up their interviews, we asked them what their absolute key takeaway were for women (or anyone) who wants to grow a career in STEM. This is what they had to say: 

“Don’t be afraid to fail,” Caylee said. “Learn from your mistakes.” 

While Rieze added, “Do everything with passion and give 100%, then you will see results.” 

Grow Your Career in STEM at Localsearch 

If you are looking for a career that supports growth and personal development, check out Localsearch’s available positions on Seek to see if we have the right place for you.

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