Customer Experience

Putting the spotlight on women in tech  

Earlier this month, we kicked off a new Women in Tech Customer Spotlight Series. As we close out Women’s History Month on LinkedIn today, we are proud to have highlighted some of the exceptional women who are driving change in technology and making an impact. 

We interviewed four women from organizations that are current Axway customers, asking them about their personal experiences in the industry, insights on what women have to offer, and advice for the rising generation. Here’s a look back at their responses.  

On the power of mentors

Can you share a positive experience with a mentor and why that was impactful? 

“I had a manager once tell me that if I did not understand what they were teaching me, then they were explaining it wrong,” says Jean Konkle, Technical Analyst III at Sutter Health. “I learned so much from that.  I never again doubted that I could learn or do anything, anytime.   

Jean tells us she started in Tech in 1997 working Technical Support for a software company, and that she has enjoyed working in this industry for 27 years. 

“When I teach a class now or pass down knowledge to a colleague, that is always in the back of my head.  Did I explain this well enough that everyone understands it the way I do,” Jean concludes. 


Jean Konkle, Technical Analyst III at Sutter Health - profile


“I am very fortunate to have a leader who cares about me as a person first, employee second. He allows me the freedom to make my own decisions, while guiding me through tough situations,” says Rebecca Knudson, Manager of Enterprise Application Services at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.  

“Having this psychological safety net makes me want to perform better for the organization, knowing that I am supported in my decision making. He is a champion for me and my abilities, especially when I have periods of self-doubt.”

“Early on in my career,” adds Gisela Naasz, Platform Engineer 3 at Costco Wholesale, “I was in Data Processing and my manager (Michael Krahn) asked me if I would like to learn about EDI. I had never heard of EDI and didn’t know anything about it, but my manager took me under his wing and got me started on the EDI path.

This skill has opened up many doors for me and led to a very enjoyable career focus! It’s also allowed me to learn about many different aspects of Data Transformation and Data Transfer.” 

Gisela tells us she has now been working in tech for 32 years.  

The importance of female role models

Why is it important to have female role models to look up to in tech? 

“I think that we, as women in this industry, second guess ourselves and our ability to manage the multiple facets of software development,” says Rebecca Knudson. 

“Having these role models helps ease the imposter syndrome and provides the necessary encouragement to believe in ourselves and the distinct qualities we bring to the table. 


Rebecca Knudson, Manager of Enterprise Application Services at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota


On being the only woman in the room

Have you ever been the only woman in the room, and what advice would you give to other women in this situation to make sure they’re still to fully participate and thrive in the workplace?  

“Yes, I’ve often been the only woman in the room!” says Gisela Naasz. Her advice?  

“Don’t be afraid to speak up… I’ve often felt that I was in over my head but asked my questions anyway. You’d be surprised how your questions can lead to solutions when you collaborate with your peers.”  


Gisela Naasz Platform Engineer 3 at Costco Wholesale


Advice for other women

What advice would you give to women who are either starting out in the tech industry or who are currently in the industry?  

“You have the power to achieve anything you set your mind to, granted you put in the effort and remain open to learning,” says Jean Konkle.   

“Acknowledge your limitations by admitting when you don’t know something and use these moments as opportunities to gather knowledge – take notes, ask questions, and embrace the learning process.  Embrace change and welcome it as a constant companion on your path to success. 

So, work hard, stay curious, admit your unknowns, and embrace the ever-evolving nature of your journey.” 

How to fail well

Do you have any advice for “failing well”?

“Absolutely. Own it. Fix it. Move on,” says Jean. “When you make a mistake or encounter failure, own it with honesty and transparency.  

Take responsibility, strive to fix what can be corrected, and use the experience as a valuable learning opportunity. Rather than dwelling on failures, use them as steppingstones for improvement. 

Remember, it’s not about avoiding mistakes but about how you handle and grow from them.”

I encourage my team leads and their direct reports to not worry incessantly about making mistakes,” adds Rebecca Knudson. “This comes from a place of trust I place in my team members, knowing that they will make the best decisions based on the information they know at the time. 

When mistakes are made, I find that anger isn’t effective; rather, we look at the failure and work through how it could have been approached for a successful solution. We learn best when we fail so we need to take advantage of those situations to make it a learning and growth experience.” 

Elevating women’s voices in the workplace 

Kat Cooper, Associate Technical Product Owner at Alaska Airlines, is Co-Chair for the company’s WiT (Women In Tech) BRG (Business Resource Group) and a Program Administrator for the WeFly Mentorship Program WiT started years ago.  

“I connect and listen to co-worker’s ideas, try to start conversations to raise awareness of topics and hear differing perspectives and work to echo ideas to leadership where possible to drive change,” Kat explains. 


Kat Cooper Associate Technical Product Owner at Alaska Airlines


When asked what myth she would like to dispel about being a woman in STEM, Kat says, “STEM and Tech are not just for men. If you enjoy the field and are passionate about it, reach for your dreams!”

“With technology all around us, we need the same diversity in the creators of Tech as we do the users. Not everyone uses tech the same or has the best ideas on tech that can be created. A diverse and collaborative team is the best way to create the best tech for all.” 

What do tomorrow’s women in tech need to know today?  

“The strength is in your team members,” Rebecca Knudson says. “Rely on their expertise, celebrate their wins, provide them with necessary training, work with them through their failures (the best way to learn), and be empathetic to their challenges.” 

“The Tech industry is not just for men, and society needs the perspective of women,” Kat Cooper adds.

Finally, Gisela Naasz offers a great checklist for any woman – or man! – who is either starting out in the tech industry or who is currently in the industry: 

  • There will be many times when you feel like an imposter.  Ignore it! 
  • We need progress, not perfection. 
  • Henry Matisse said, “Creativity takes courage,” so show up and dig in. 
  • Don’t be afraid to fail, this is how we learn and grow. 
  • Remain current with your tools and skills.

Many thanks to Jean Konkle, Rebecca Knudson, Gisela Naasz, and Kat Cooper for participating in our Women in Tech Customer Spotlight Series! It has been a joy and inspiration getting to know you and hearing your wise words for the future.  

Learn more about how #AxwayCelebratesWomen throughout the year here.