Ray Rachael Daligdig
Years in Technology: 5
Current Title: Jill of All Trades – Product+Project Manager and IT Infrastructure Mgr
Current Organization: FinTech Industry
1. Why did you join the technology industry?
I had my first taste of technology as my temporary data entry role turned into a Project Managing Role of a new accounting software. From there, I was hired on as a Project and Product Coordinator, consistently managing or assisting in all technological assignments for our start up at the time. It was funny because I built websites on premium versions of xanga.com, blackplanet, tumblr, livejournal (HTML and CSS) when I was younger, and my friends/acquaintances started asking me in exchange for food (ha!), to renovate their sites — but I never considered a career in Tech. I guess with no real role models or educators to push me, I just assumed I was meant for the arts.
Now you know HOW I joined this industry – WHY I’ve STAYED in this industry is because there is no business without tech. We are in this beautiful digital age where we’re more connected than ever and we are innovating and progressing at crazy rates!! This is a ride I do not want to miss. Everything is predicated on the foundation of tech and being a women of minority – it is amazing to break some ceilings and be a lot of the “firsts” in this role.
2. Who is the person who has inspired you professionally?
My mother, Rio Daligdig, is not in the Tech industry. She has been in hospitality and hotel for three decades. My inspiration is multi-dimensional and crosses oceans!!; Story – My mom from a low income family looked up at a plane near the river of her farm upbringing – and told her sister – one day I will be on that plane and travel from here. SHE WAS RIGHT. She was dirt poor in a third world country. She fought tooth and nail. We don’t always agree because cultural and generational differences – yet if anyone taught me the HUSTLE it’s Rio.
Strong women – may we be them – may we raise them.
3. If you could give one piece of advice to your 13-year-old self what would it be?
You can be WHOEVER you aspire to be. I was terribly unfocused and unmotivated in high school – I believe I possessed the IQ but just did not take enough interest to be bothered with doing homework/showing up. High school and our education methodologies aren’t meant for everyone; not everyone is a round peg that can fit into a round hole. I was a blossoming, talented writer who loved journalism and the dramatic arts, but educators did not take the time and merely dismissed me as unfit for any foreseeable future. LOOK AT ME NOW I would say!! I had a teacher tell me once I would not amount to anything (MR. DAWOOD). The advice I would give me and all 13 yr old girls is Dare to dream – Be Bold – Who you are now doesn’t shape who you’ll be in 10 years – and You can be whomever you want to be.
4. How do you think we can encourage more women in tech?
It starts in the schools. It starts as young girls watching TV and watching more fictional and non-fictional media with women in technological advancements. It starts with movies like Hidden Figures (I cried throughout that whole movie!!). It starts with removing unconscious bias like “my IT guy, my cable guy, my electrician guy, my computer guy”. It starts with more representation, and seeing WOMEN OF COLOR on stage telling their stories. Who did I have to look up to growing up in my generation? Who could I turn to? The women I knew where in labor and trade services, and I never saw a brown or asian woman pushing the envelope. These people have to be able to APPLY TO JOBS in order to work in those fields and inspire other girls. I was watching Lisa Gelobter – the black women who is a Chief Technology Digital Officer for the White House – and I felt like a little girl. Sitting at the front of that auditorium, looking up at her awestruck, thinking how much of an impact could watching her make for more little girls around the globe.
5. What is the best part of your job?
Having a voice, being heard, and watching a product you’ve worked on for months/years be used by the very staff you work with. Being an innovator, leader, and changemaker and going to events with women in other companies – whose stories you identify with!