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“Sometimes many forget the strong impact women have had in tech”With Penny Bauder & Tracie Sokol

Sometimes many forget the strong impact women have had in tech. Through their hard work, dedication and knowledge, women have been able to showcase their skills in this industry more and more over the years. As I have grown over my 37-year career, I am happy to see the progress women in this business have […]

Sometimes many forget the strong impact women have had in tech. Through their hard work, dedication and knowledge, women have been able to showcase their skills in this industry more and more over the years. As I have grown over my 37-year career, I am happy to see the progress women in this business have made, and look forward to seeing the progress we will continue to make. Today, according to statistics cited in an American Printer article, 39% of those who work in the print industry are women. And I am happy to have been able to showcase the impact women have in print in my own personal career, as well as support the growth women will continue to make in the future.


I had the pleasure to interview Tracie Sokol. Tracie is vice president and general manager, Marketing, Business Information Communications Group, Canon U.S.A., Inc. In this role, she oversees various marketing initiatives for the Company’s dealer-facing business including marketing communications, vertical marketing, major trade show initiatives, sales training and advertising.


Thank you for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Ihave always had an interest in business management and sales, particularly in the tech industry. Seeing the growth women have made in this industry, when I first started my career, I wanted to use this as a chance to also grow as a business professional, and use this as an opportunity to work hard to be a leader and inspire others to pursue a career in tech.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Our corporate philosophy of Kyosei, which we define as all people regardless of race, religion or culture, harmoniously living and working together into the future, has resonated with me and stood out since I started my career with Canon. I practice this philosophy not only in my career and relationships with my co-workers at Canon, but also in my personal life and relationships with my family and friends.

What also makes Canon stand out is our dedication to innovation, and ranking in the top five for U.S. patents consistently for 35 years exemplifies that. We are committed to listening to our customers, and with that in mind, we are constantly developing solutions that are designed to meet their needs. In fact, FORTUNE Magazine just named Canon as one of its Most Admired Companies in 2020, showcasing our positive brand image and relationship to our customers.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Yes, in the spirit of innovation and Kyosei, our team is constantly looking to open the door to new opportunities. One program in particular we have created is the Women in Leadership Levels (WiLL) program, which is designed to support the professional development and advancement of women and young girls to leadership roles. Through WiLL, Canon invites both female and male mentors from different aspects of the industry to be guest speakers in networking events and community outreach programs. Our goal is to help inspire, motivate and lead women both inside and outside of Canon’s walls so they can see their impossible and continue to grow as strong female business leaders.

Are you currently satisfied with the status quo regarding women in Tech? What specific changes do you think are needed to change the status quo?

I am satisfied with the progress women have made in Tech as we see more and more women emerging as CEOs, like Virginia Rometty of IBM. But I think what we need to change is the way we perceive women in technology. The impactful role of women in tech can sometimes be overlooked, and we need to take a step back to appreciate some of the powerful women who rise in this industry each and every day. By changing this status quo, we will not only change the perception people may have, but also encourage younger women to want to pursue a career in Tech.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women in Tech that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts? What would you suggest to address this?

In my opinion, the biggest challenges stem from people overlooking the impact women have in the tech industry. As a woman in this field, to see or hear this could be a challenge. To address this, we need to highlight more of the female leaders in Tech so younger women who are preparing to enter this field do not get discouraged, but inspired.

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a woman in STEM or Tech. Can you explain what you mean?

Sometimes many forget the strong impact women have had in tech. Through their hard work, dedication and knowledge, women have been able to showcase their skills in this industry more and more over the years. As I have grown over my 37-year career, I am happy to see the progress women in this business have made, and look forward to seeing the progress we will continue to make. Today, according to statistics cited in an American Printer article, 39% of those who work in the print industry are women. And I am happy to have been able to showcase the impact women have in print in my own personal career, as well as support the growth women will continue to make in the future.

What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience as a Woman in STEM or Tech” and why.

  1. Never be afraid to make your voice heard. — It is important to ensure you speak up and involve yourself in the conversation.
  2. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. — Some of the best ideas come about when you think outside of the box. Don’t let yourself be comfortable, always create room to grow.
  3. Never Stop Learning. — Every day, I like to think I learn something new, whether it be from my teammates or through research. Always be sure to sign up for those extra courses, or do a little more research on a topic and use everything as a learning opportunity because you never know what it can open the door to.
  4. Think Creatively, Implement Effectively. — Don’t be afraid to share an idea that may seem out of the box, you never know where it can go. Even if it’s not possible, it can always inspire another great idea. And when you implement that idea, always do it effectively — think of every possible step and outcome, so if there is an obstacle standing in the way, you can push right past it.
  5. Teamwork makes the Dream work. — I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the great people I work alongside with. Utilize the talents of the people you work with, bounce off their ideas, and learn from them — these are the best ways to not only work together, but also to be successful.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

My best advice for other female leaders is to always be open to sharing new ideas and fresh perspective. Use every opportunity as a time to learn something new, whether it be about the industry or even yourself.

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

The best way to manage a large team is helping your teammates to set goals and guiding them how to best go about attaining those goals. It is important to always emphasize the quality of teamwork, and the knowledge that can be acquired when investing time in training, mentoring and personal development.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Professionally, I am grateful for my teammates and business partners who work alongside me every day and inspire me to work smarter and harder to continue on a successful path. In my personal life, I am blessed to have my beautiful family and children who remind me to always stay true to myself, and work to the best of my abilities. My children inspire me every day to leave an impact that helps to prepare our future business leaders for the office of the future.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I hope that I help inspire the team I work alongside every day to think smart and creatively, and perform to the best of their abilities. I also hope to spread my knowledge and learnings to the younger generations, especially my own kids, so that they will continue to be successful as well.

If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Helping to change the way we perceive women in the workforce. I am grateful to have seen the progress and hard work women continue to make every day to help change that perception and inspire young women to follow their aspirations if they are interested in a professional career in tech.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” — Maya Angelou

In my opinion, the most important characteristics a successful business professional can have is enjoying what you do because ultimately that is what inspires you to lead with impact. This quote is something that I have led my career by, and is an example of what I hope to do in both my professional and personal life every day.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?

Virginia ‘Ginni’ Rometty, CEO of IBM. Ginni is an exemplary figure that woman in tech should aspire to be. She was the first woman to lead IBM, one of the leading tech companies in the industry. I would love to hear her story, and receive insight into her key strategies so I too can incorporate these learnings into my own practices and career.

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