Women in DB: Overcoming Impostor Syndrome
Inside Demandbase 03.08.2024

Women in DB: Overcoming Impostor Syndrome

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This episode of the Sunny Side Up Specials discusses overcoming impostor syndrome and cultivating inclusion for women in the tech industry. The speakers shared their diverse career journeys and experiences navigating the challenges of being women in tech. They discussed ways to challenge stereotypes through representation and open conversations. Advice was given on overcoming impostor syndrome through self-confidence, seeking help, and gaining experience. The speakers also suggested ways companies can better support women, such as providing resources, encouraging innovation, and promoting women into leadership roles.


07:15 –  Jennifer Hughes reflects on how far we've come in overcoming imposter syndrome around and crediting conversations with other women to help her gain confidence.
11:00 –  Stella Wei’s pieces of advice to acknowledge room for growth and try new things outside one's comfort zone to build experience and confidence.
22:30 –  Ashwini Manjrekar emphasizes DemandBase's women in engineering initiative as an example of how companies can promote diversity.
30:45 –  Ashwini shares her powerful poem at the end amplifying the voices of women who have been silenced.

About the guests

Jennifer Hughes

Jennifer is the Principal Digital Expert at Demandbase. After a decade-long career in law and starting a family (three kids in four years), Jennifer turned her sights to writing and marketing. After years in B2C marketing, she moved to the B2B world. She started at Demandbase as the head of Digital Marketing in 2021 and is now Prinicipal Digital Expert, a client-facing role. She is delighted to be part of the Demandbase Expert Team, helping customers to succeed in all things account-based advertising. Jennifer is passionate about empowering women in technology through open conversations and efforts that drive more leadership opportunities. When not working, Jennifer is having all kinds of adventures with her friends, family, and dogs in Austin, Texas.

Connect with Jennifer

Ashwini Manjrekar

Ashwini is a tech enthusiast with over five years of dedicated experience in the ad-tech industry. Armed with a degree in Computer Engineering and a Master’s in Management of Technology from NYU, Ashwini possesses a unique blend of technical prowess and strategic acumen.

Beyond her professional pursuits, Ashwini finds joy in traveling. Ashwini also likes reading books and has a knack for writing as well. With her multifaceted interests and a relentless drive for innovation, Ashwini continues to carve her path in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

Connect with Ashwini

Stella Wei

Stella Wei is a Design Specialist at Demandbase where she has worked for over two years. With a background in design from art school, Stella brings creative problem-solving skills to her role. Since joining as an intern, she has taken on increasing responsibilities while advancing her knowledge of the technology industry. Stella is committed to challenging stereotypes through representation and encourages women to embrace learning experiences outside their comfort zone.

Connect with Stella

Key takeaways

  • Speaking up about experiences and having open conversations can help break down stereotypes  
  • Finding representation and a support network boosts confidence and combats impostor syndrome
  • Companies should provide processes to encourage innovation from all employees
  • Resources like employee groups and accessible materials support women in leadership
  • Leading by example through diversity initiatives promotes more women in tech roles


“I think representation is such an important factor in fighting stereotypes. And it’s not only for yourself but for other women to see that there is an example out there, there is representation out there.” – Stella Wei.

“What I would love to see is companies normalizing and rewarding trying new things and taking risks. Women are taught to be so much more risk averse than men.” – Jennifer Hughes.

“Companies need to start leading by example and we hear that we need more women in the tech industry, we need more women in STEM and stuff. But it’s when the companies start creating these opportunities for women, I feel, that’s where it motivates these women to try out something new.” – Ashwini Manjrekar.

Highlights from this episode

How to best challenge and break stereotypes about women’s abilities and roles in tech?

Jennifer Hughes suggests openly talking about experiences and issues can help break down stereotypes.

Ashwini Manjrekar recommended creating employee resource groups for women to discuss common challenges and support each other.

Stella Wei emphasized that representation is important, both for individual confidence and to show other women examples of women in tech roles. Having visible examples combats stereotypes.

Experiences with imposter syndrome and how they overcame it.

Jennifer Hughes reflected on how conversations with other women over the past 5 years of her career have helped her overcome imposter syndrome. Sharing experiences and knowing she’s not alone helped reduce her fear of not deserving success.

Ashwini Manjrekar said having a pep talk with herself to value her past hard work and efforts helped build confidence to speak up when worried or with questions.

Stella Wei mentioned feeling terrified as a new grad but overcoming imposter syndrome by constantly learning new things, applying them, and gaining experience through projects outside her comfort zone to boost confidence over time.

Advice for women experiencing imposter syndrome at any career stage.

Jennifer Hughes advised finding a core group of people at work, either more or less experienced, to have open conversations with to feel safe being vulnerable.

Ashwini Manjrekar suggested women value themselves and trust in their abilities when struggling with imposter syndrome.

Stella Wei recommended sometimes looking at your work from an outside perspective objectively, giving yourself credit for great work but also acknowledging room for growth, which is normal for everyone’s career.

What companies can do to retain and support women throughout their careers and help with progression?

Jennifer Hughes suggested companies normalize risk-taking by encouraging women to bring forward new ideas through structured processes and supporting innovation.

Ashwini Manjrekar emphasized companies should lead by example in creating opportunities for women through initiatives like employee resource groups and promoting women into leadership roles.

Stella Wei recommended providing resources like support groups and accessible materials to help women in leadership roles feel less isolated and more supported in their careers and progression.

Resource recommendations

Stella Wei recommended the “Woman at Work” podcast from Harvard Business Review which covers topics on career, leadership, and personal growth for women.

Ashwini Manjrekar suggested the books “Atomic Habits” for implementing changes professionally and personally, and “I Am Malala” as an inspiring read about fighting for women’s education.

Jennifer Hughes advised exploring TED Talks on topics like women in tech and imposter syndrome, as well as gaining perspective from listening to a diversity of speakers.

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