Women’s History Month
By Dave Tovissi
Vice President and General Manager
HARMAN Luxury Audio
HARMAN International is a multi-faceted company with a diverse group of professionals who all contribute to the complex nature of our work. Multiple brands across multiple business units, it's amazing how such a unique group of people thrive and feed off of each other so as a team we meet the many challenges that are a part of our daily work lives.
I started to think about some of my female colleagues when March began, and as the commemoration of Women’s History Month made the news. For those unfamiliar with this month-long celebration, let me give you a brief overview, as well as some comments I received from those colleagues of mine as they reflect on being a part of the HARMAN Luxury Audio Group.
Women’s History Month is an annual month-long celebration that highlights the many contributions of women to events from the past as well as contemporary society. Here in the United States, as well as the United Kingdom and Australia, it is celebrated in March. This commemoration began in Sonoma County, California in 1978 as Women’s History Day, then became recognized as a national week in 1980 and finally a month in 1987.
Women have been one of the fastest growing demographics in our industry. And it's not because we are trying to meet a quota or appeal to a group of customers. Its because women are bringing a different perspective to the industry. From industrial design, to the user interface, to product functionalilty, women are influencing Consumer Electronics.
We are fortunate to have some of those women of influence supporting the Luxury Audio business unit. To better understand their feelings about the role they fill in our industry and our business unit, I asked them a simple question: As it pertains to Women’s History Month, what can you share regarding your career in our industry and specifically working for HARMAN?
Kaning Liang | Senior Project Manager
The audio industry has traditionally been male-dominated. I still remember the first time I went to Northridge and had lunch with the team. The meal was eaten in silence and the atmosphere was slightly awkward. I was the only woman at the table and the topics of interest for men and women were different. However, HARMAN is a company which is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace that values all employees and their unique perspectives. In the later stages of the work, I received a lot of help and respect from the team. They valued my opinions and decisions very much, and never discriminated against me for not having relevant experience in the audio industry. Instead, the engineers went out of their way to teach me and I have benefited greatly from their knowledge.
Maria Cyriac | Embedded Software Developer
My experience so far as an embedded software developer in the Luxury Audio business unit has been great. When I joined the team in November of last year, I was the only woman on the tech team. Although I was apprehensive about joining a team full of audio industry veterans, I soon realised that they are all some of the coolest and nicest people I have met in my career.
As someone who has pretty big shoes to fill, I was never once made to feel the awkwardness of a new joiner. I am particularly blessed to have great managers in the team who are understanding and considerate of my position as a working mother.
I have been allowed to work in peace, without feeling any undue heat of approaching deadlines. I enjoy my work a lot because each day is about learning something new and conversations in the team are always stimulating. I am made to feel valued because my opinions and thoughts are welcomed and listened to with attention and taken into consideration just like all the other team members.
Roberta Macri | Product Test Engineer
Since my university days I have noticed that women in engineering courses are in the minority. I'm pretty sure that unfortunately it's a cultural issue. Even today, in a society that we define as modern, it is still hard to see the figure of the engineer as a woman.
I like the idea of being part of this industrial sector, although I know it is not a matter of course to be listened to and taken seriously when a woman speaks. I've only been working at HARMAN for a few months, but I can already tell how equal I feel. My skills are appreciated, and my technical opinions listened to. My team is very friendly and helpful, which is very important for me, in terms of productivity, career growth and general well-being.
In support of this, it is nice to see how HARMAN addresses this argument. I greatly appreciated the webinar organized with Elizabeth Koraca who dealt with sensitive topics with great professionalism and humanity. Women can make a big contribution to the tech world, and I'm happy and grateful to be part of a company that recognizes that.