Welcome to Pursuit of STEM

Author: Amy Gritzinger

We cannot talk about gender equality and diversity in the workplace without including men.

Meet Eric Hollenbeck, Tech Support Manager at Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence. Eric has earned the tile as Ally for women in the workplace. The numbers don’t lie! His department has more women in a technical position than any other department in the division. He encourages professional society membership, facilitates career advancement plans, and accommodates work/life/family balance. Eric can be heard singing the praises of women like, “Moms are the highest performers in the department”.

Thanks for all you do, Eric!

Q: What motivated you to go into STEM as a career?

Eric: I always enjoyed fixing things, especially bicycles.

Q: Did you have a mentor or role model encouraging you along the way? If so, what is the most memorable advice.

Eric: My Father would try to fix everything but had to do it to get to work or at work as a surveyor

Q: What are the benefits of encouraging and supporting women in tech careers?

Eric: I learned a long ago that intelligence is spread across the human spectrum as is a lack of it. Men (especially white ones) don’t have a monopoly on being good problem solvers. My Mom raised me as a single mom and that had to be one of the toughest ongoing problems to solve.

Q: As a technical leader, what have you done to understand the cultural issues that are faced by women/minorities?

Eric: I did this before I became a leader by living a diverse life and doing diverse jobs.

Q: As a manager, what did you do to create a diverse team?

Eric: Hire diverse applicants when they are available and reward the capable ones I have.

Q: In your leadership role, what were some challenges you faced when hiring women?

Eric: Lack of candidates.

Q: What are the benefits of encouraging and supporting women in tech careers?

Eric: Different perspectives bring a more rounded way to problem solve, especially in groups where a solution might go unseen were it not offered by anyone in the group

Q: What roles do men play in a more inclusive, diverse, and equitably workplace?

Eric: In fields where we are an overwhelming majority, we have to look throughout our industry for talent and understand that it doesn’t come from only one demographic source.

Q: Do you have any advice for men to become an ally?

Eric: Good ideas and talented individuals are hiding everywhere around you. It’s easy to miss them, especially if you are not looking.

Q: What can men do to inspire and develop the next generation of girls in STEM education and careers?

Eric: Encourage any mention of interest from young women

Q: In your group or organization, what practical steps have you taken to reduce the barriers faced by parents/ women/minorities such as flexible working hours, remote working, maternity leave, work life balance?

Eric: Hiring and pay raises based on merit

Q: What are the main reasons there is currently a low percentage of male allies and how can we improve?

Eric: It could be human nature to recognize one’s own group and culturally we are changing faster than some men may are comfortable.

Q: What do we need to do to inspire male advocates?

Eric: Short term is to see the benefits to the men. Longer term is to see the benefits to the organization and society as a whole.

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