Women in Technology

An eye-opening conversation with process manager Emily O’Dea

Ryan E. Day

April 11, 2019

Traditionally, technical jobs have been underrepresented by women. But that's changing, says Emily O'Dea, commercial services process manager at Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence.

“Without a doubt we're definitely outnumbered,” says O’Dea. “I started [my career] in a smaller company. It was unusual because we were four application engineers, and three of us were women.”

Technical jobs can become great careers for both men and women. In today’s social and professional climate, we see efforts to encourage young women to study science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) topics. We’ve even seen Hollywood reflect the changing mood in movies such as Hidden Figures, a film heralding the accomplishments of three black female mathematicians at NASA.

“Gender really shouldn't matter,” states O’Dea. “It’s a matter of what you enjoy and what you can teach others. It’s being able to be involved in this wonderful industry.”

Although O’Dea displayed an aptitude for math early on, she had no idea where her career path might lead.“Nobody grows up saying ‘I want to be a metrologist,’” quips O’Dea. “When I came into this industry, I didn't even know what it was. I also liked technical drawing and science, so that's kind of what edged me into studying for an engineering degree. From there I stumbled across the application engineer job, and luckily that company took a chance on me. That’s how it started.”O’Dea credits much of her success to mentoring from colleagues.“I have to say that I was very lucky when I initially started working in this field,” admits O’Dea. “I had two colleagues who really mentored me in how the industry works and what I needed to do. I also had a mentor who brought me into Hexagon, where I had the opportunity to work with a fantastic woman named Jean Gardner Lewis, who is amazing. My current manager also pushes me to grow. I have been really fortunate to always have somebody who mentored me.”

Check out the full interview pocast here.

About The Author

Ryan E. Day’s picture

Ryan E. Day

Ryan E. Day is Quality Digest’s senior editor for solution-based reporting, which brings together those seeking business improvement solutions and solution providers. Day has spent the last decade researching and interviewing top business leaders and continuous improvement experts at companies like Sakor, Ford, Merchandize Liquidators, Olympus, 3D Systems, Hexagon, Intertek, InfinityQS, Johnson Controls, FARO, and Eckel Industries. Most of his reporting is done with the help of his 20-lb tabby cat at his side.