Pledge 1%’s #WomenWhoLead series celebrates female leaders who are paving the way for the next generation. While our featured leaders come from a variety of backgrounds and industries, they are united in their efforts to promote equality for all women in the workplace. We’ve asked them to share a bit about their journey to success, as well as lessons they’ve learned along the way.

What is your name and title?

Betsy Walker, Vice President, Business Systems and Processes at Appfire.

Briefly (1-2 sentences) describe your current role.

I lead the team that manages my company’s internal IT systems, servers, corporate applications, and data warehouse.

How did you get here? Please share any quick stories from past work experiences.

I’ve been in many technical roles throughout my career – such as developer, systems analyst, consultant, project manger, manager, and IT operations director. Each of those roles gave me valuable perspectives and broad experience as both an individual contributor and as a manager.

In your opinion, what’s the #1 decision or move you’ve made that has helped advance your career?

When considering a job change or role change, my #1 priority has always been to choose based on my future boss. Working for someone who inspires me and from whom I can learn is essential.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned this past year?

The last year has made social connections more important yet harder to maintain. With everyone now being a Zoom expert, there are creative ways to connect. I host a weekly happy hour call with relatives, my friends, and my friends’ friends which has been very fun. I also play mah jongg each week as I have done for years – except now it is online while we’re on a Zoom call so we can chat.

Do you have any mentors? What does mentorship mean to you?

I have not had any mentors, but I support others as they advance in their career and encourage them to do the same. There is so much that can be gained through learning from another’s experiences as well as your own.

What advice do you have for women who are just starting their career?

Hard work should always bring you recognition and visibility. If it doesn’t, then you may be in the wrong place.

What is one thing companies can do, big or small, to help create an environment that advances women into leadership positions?

Allow for representation at all levels. Diversity of all kinds leads to more innovative and creative thinking.

What is one thing you hope to accomplish in the next year?

Stay healthy!

Is there a cause that is particularly close to you? If so, why this cause and how did you get involved?

As the mother of a daughter who was blind since birth, I am very interested in how technology levels the playing field, so to speak, by making the world more accessible. I follow technological trends and advocate for accessibility through organizations such as Perkins School for the Blind, which my daughter attended.

When did your company join Pledge 1%? What does your impact program mean to you?

Appfire joined Pledge 1% in 2015. Our founders sincerely believe in the philanthropic mission and impact that our Pledge 1% commitment can accomplish.

What do you like to do outside of the office? Any interesting (or unique) habits or interests?

I love cooking, because it’s both relaxing and fun to cook for others. One day after I’ve retired, I plan on cooking all the recipes in the Great British Bake Off show’s cookbook.

Are you reading/listening to anything interesting at the moment? Please share your most recent favorite book or podcast!

“101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think” by Brianna Wiest.

What’s been the one (or two!) things that have helped you navigate this past year? Any tips or tricks to dealing with remote work?

I’ve found it’s essential to lighten up at work and share with each other about the irony, stress, and boredom of working through a pandemic. It gives my team the permission to not neglect their work/life balance, despite have a blurring-of-the-lines between what constitutes the work day.