By Malleana Ruffin, Social Media Manager
In 1980, United States President Jimmy Carter designated the week of March 8th as Women’s History Week to not only celebrate the many contributions and achievements of women throughout American history, but to recognize their incredible leadership skills as well. Women’s History Week was expanded to Women’s History Month in 1987 and has grown into an important annual celebration ever since.
In honor of Women’s History Month 2020 we have been highlighting women-founded organizations on our social media pages – PIRegistry and ORGinAction – as well as showcasing .ORGs that focus on fighting to address the issues women face globally today. Today, we turn the focus to ourselves and are spotlighting and acknowledging three women of the Public Interest Registry team!
Through the Q&A format below, you can discover more about their personal and professional connections to .ORG, the women who inspired them, and more! We hope you enjoy this intimate chat with our Senior Director, Business Analytics – Jen Campany, our Senior Director, Financial Planning and Analysis – Liz Szabo, and our Chief Strategy Officer – Judy Song-Marshall.
Jen Campany – Senior Director, Business Analytics
You’re one of our newest faces and we’re proud to have you on the team! What did you do prior to working with .ORG? What are some of your daily responsibilities at Public Interest Registry?
Thanks – I’m proud to be here! Well, I have a consulting background that was heavily focusing on analytics, data management and software development. I’ve worked in a variety of different industries, including the public sector, automotive, pharmaceutical, insurance, and financial.
At PIR, I have the opportunity to work across the organization and help our teams leverage data to meet our organizational goals and answer questions. As a result, my primary responsibilities include data governance, development, analytics infrastructure and organizational data strategy – along with making sure that all of our data-related operations are compliant with GDPR.
What makes your role at .ORG fulfilling?
I think the joy, enthusiasm and passion that everyone at PIR demonstrates daily! The team here has a great dynamic and everyone works together well to achieve .ORG’s overall goals.
What are some strategies that you feel could open more doors for younger women to enter into a data focused career?
I especially feel that educating companies on the topic and creating a support system for future female technologists would be a key strategy. Providing mentorship and networking opportunities from company leaders for young women is also a great way to engage and motivate those who are early on in their careers or trying to decide on a career path.
This may be biased, but I also think that making data and technology an organic part of life at an early stage will encourage more women to explore data driven careers as it will reduce the stigma around it. For example, each day my children’s preschool asks the class a question and creates bar charts of the answers – they don’t know it yet, but they are learning how to source, aggregate, visualize and report on data at a very early age.
What woman (historical or current) would you say is your hero? Why do you look up to her?
I’m inspired by the rise in young female activists in recent years. Their passion and commitment to making the world better and confronting seemingly insurmountable issues is so inspiring!
Liz Szabo – Senior Director, Financial Planning and Analysis
You’ve been with .ORG for a few years now. How did you get into the domain industry? What about it sparked your interest?
I’ve been with PIR / .ORG for almost 5 years. Before PIR, I worked for AOL during the Internet “boom” and later for the Smithsonian Institution and a small non-profit organization, so the opportunity to work for an organization that is a hybrid of the non-profit and technology industries was very appealing to me. I also have a degree in International Business and love the global nature of the domain industry.
Can you tell us about your proudest .ORG moment? Why do you feel your job here is so rewarding in the grand scheme of things?
My proudest moments at PIR all relate to activities in which I’ve had direct contact with members of the .ORG community that we serve. Two years ago, our office had a team building event during which we built bicycles to donate to a community center located in Washington, D.C. At the event, a representative from the organization spoke to us about the disadvantaged children that they serve and the violence that surrounds the children on a daily basis. Learning about amazing non-profit organizations like this and knowing that .ORG supports these organizations in fulfilling their missions is incredibly rewarding.
As a woman with a background beyond the Internet / domain Industry, how has your finance strategy shifted to accommodate the needs and goals of .ORG and the industries we support?
Having worked for several large publicly traded companies where the focus was entirely on earnings, my finance strategy has evolved to consider how the financial investments that we make may support our mission, rather than just strengthen our bottom-line. For instance, our organizational goals include education and outreach initiatives that support the .ORG community, without any financial benefit to PIR. Balancing the need to generate positive financial returns with the commitments that we’ve made to fulfill our mission is a unique challenge for purpose-driven organizations like PIR.
If you could have a dinner party with 3 women (historical or current) who inspired you, who would they be and why?
There are many women who have influenced and inspired me for various reasons, so this is a difficult question to answer. I think about pioneers such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Margaret Thatcher, and modern-day trailblazers such as Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama and Ellen Degeneres who have all done so much to advance opportunities for women and girls today. If I had to narrow the list down to three, I’d invite:
- Audrey Hepburn, who was raised in the Netherlands under Nazi occupation, and became a film legend, style icon and humanitarian. She always faced life with optimism, humility and a great sense of humor. This quote helps explain why I find her so inspirational, “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”
- Katherine Graham, who was the first female CEO of a Fortune 500 company (The Washington Post), and a Pulitzer prize-winning author and philanthropist. She was resilient, taking responsibility for the Post after her husband’s unexpected death. She was a trailblazer who worked in a male-dominated industry and used her position and power to promote gender equality. She was courageous, upholding her high journalistic standards in the face of threats when the Post broke the Watergate story. I’m grateful that Katherine Graham helped pave the way for future generations of women in the workforce.
- Dolly Parton, who is an incredibly talented, ambitious, larger than life, singer-songwriter, actress and businesswoman. I admire her self-confidence, willingness to take risks, and terrific sense of humor and believe that she helped open the door for female musicians today. I also admire her philanthropic work, including the establishment of the Imagination Library which has donated over 100 million books to children in order to promote literacy.
Judy Song-Marshall – Chief Strategy Officer
You have been in the Internet and domain industries for quite a while. How has the role of female leaders changed since your start?
In today’s world it is more accepted for a woman to be outwardly strong, mighty, and fierce as a leader – and it’s about darn time. However, the fact that I must use the word ‘accepted’ is very disappointing. That said, it certainly serves as a strong motivator for all of us women leaders to continue to push harder and ultimately transcend mere acceptance.
Why do you love working with .ORG?
Ah, for me, it’s all about the.ORG Community. This group comprises so many different facets of our world with millions simply there to do good stuff. Imagine being able to be a part of a team that ensures millions of voices online are heard and millions of organizations continue to support their communities. Our team does this every day! We have the best job. We are also a part of PIR which ensures that the .ORG community is stable, secure, and of course celebrated for the incredible work it does every day.
How does .ORG inspire you?
.ORG inspires me because it is the foundation of organizations like westcancercenter.org. This organization’s mission is to “to provide innovative, superior adult cancer care with a singular focus on physician-driven decisions to do what is best for patients, this community, and the future of cancer care. We remain steadfast to take care of all cancer patients with programs and services to improve overall wellness-regardless of socioeconomic status.”
For five years, this place was a second home to my mom, my son, and me. Their research was second to none and because of their endless commitment to my mom’s health, she survived triple negative breast cancer Stage IV metaplastic carcinoma 3 times. 3 times! This .ORG is just one example of the many ways I am inspired every day. I celebrate the people behind this organization –the doctors, the nurses, the staff, and their mission.
Thank you, westcancercenter.org, for all of the double chocolate muffins, your dedication to my mom, and for never giving up on us.
If you could spend a full day with one woman who has helped mold you into who you are today, who would you choose, what would the day look like, and what would you talk about with her?
I would spend the day with my mom. I am not sure I realized until recently how much she influenced my life.
The day would begin with coffee, and I’d spend more time listening to her rather than waiting to speak and respond with my thoughts. She was an incredible listener and had the most thoughtful responses. At lunchtime, I would give her anything she wanted. Mom always had lunch. She never skipped this meal. If she wanted, we could chat, but mostly it would be her time to settle her mind. She always needed time to recharge during the day. After lunch, I would spend the afternoon asking questions and learning from her. Mom was a wealth of history. I would ask her some of the many things I should have over the years: more about the grammatical nuances of some Hangul, more about her childhood before the war, and more about her deep love of Dad. That kind of love and commitment comes once in a lifetime. Later, we would do facials together. She told me that it was important to take care of yourself and present your best self every day, which she continued to do even in her last weeks of life.
Mom taught me so much throughout my life. From how to concede eventually and become flexible when needed (even if it takes me some time) to ensuring the body gets a good night’s sleep. I believe the most important thing she taught me though was that above all else, each moment with our family is simply a precious moment – even the ones that don’t seem so memorable at the time.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know some of the “Women of PIR” and encourage you to take the present opportunity to learn more about, recognize, and share the stories of the women who have inspired you. Don’t forget to follow us on PIR’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn channels, as well as on our ORGinAction Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter channels.