To the Girls of the World on International Day of the Girl…

…Buckle Up and Enjoy the Ride

Never before in history has technology been so core to our economy and our society. As my boss, Michael Dell, recently said, “This is a time of unprecedented change where information technology is replacing industrialization as the driving force of progress and transformation.”

And it’s not just IT companies like Dell that are transforming. It’s every business—design, fashion, sports, entertainment. Pick your passion—it’s going digital. Even you girls who don’t consider yourselves “techy” might find yourselves one day leading a business where technology is core to your success – and you don’t have to look very far.

 Two girls at  Christel House South Africa, a school sponsored by Dell that provides free education to girls from low-income families

Take Alexis Maybank, founder of Gilt.com. She’s not an engineer by trade, but she founded a premiere online shopping experience that changed the way people shop. Technology isn’t part of her business model; it is the business model, and it’s exciting to think about what your generation will invent next.

But even with all this opportunity and momentum ahead of us, I see the challenges girls in technology face. According to recruiter Korn/Ferry International, the percentage of women chief information officers at Fortune 500 companies slipped from 18 percent in 2012 to 15 percent this year. This is despite companies increasingly citing gender equality in hiring and promotions as a top priority.

We must reverse this trend and put our words into action. We need to accelerate your journey into STEM leadership roles by providing the networks and role models critical to your success.

The good news is that more and more programs are developed each year to support you and connect you with the relevant mentors, skills and experiences to thrive. For example, next week, Anita Borg’s Grace Hopper conference returns to Texas with a record 15,000 women technologists in attendance. Our Dell Technologies family is looking forward to sponsoring this fantastic event again and hopefully connecting with many of you.

Group of girls from Girls Who Code testing out virtual reality during a recent field trip at Dell’s Round Rock headquarters.

Girls Who Code is another great organization and partner helping girls pursue tech. It offers summer immersion programs to provide you with essential skills and mentors. We are thrilled that Dell is now supporting Girls Who Code as they expand after-school programs in computer science education for an estimated 15,000 girls across the U.S.

We have an incredible opportunity ahead of us to truly drive human progress through technology, and we need all hands on deck. We can’t digitalize our world without you girls. It’s too big a job. So however far down the path you are, stick with it and know we’ve got your back. And one day when you’re standing where I am, you can look back and say, what an awesome ride.

Karen Quintos

About the Author: Karen Quintos

Karen Quintos is Dell’s first Chief Customer Officer (CCO), leading a global organization devoted to customer advocacy. Under Karen’s leadership, the CCO organization defines and develops Dell’s customer experience strategy and programs, with the goals of maximizing customer satisfaction, acquisition, retention and profitability. Karen is also responsible for Dell’s strategy and programs for Corporate Social Responsibility, Diversity & Inclusion and Entrepreneurship — business imperatives she is passionate about and that matter to our customers and team members around the world. Previously at Dell, Karen served as senior vice president and Chief Marketing Officer; vice president of Public Sector Marketing and North America Commercial; and she also held executive roles in services, support and supply chain management. Karen joined Dell in 2000 from Citigroup, where she was vice president of Global Operations and Technology. She spent 12 years with Merck in marketing, operations and supply chain leadership positions. Karen earned a master’s degree in marketing and international business from New York University, and a Bachelor of Science in supply chain management from Pennsylvania State University. She is on the board of Lennox International and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. She is also on the board of Penn State's Smeal College of Business, and a 2014 recipient of its highest honor, the Distinguished Alumni Award. Karen was listed among the most influential CMOs in the world by Forbes, and named 'Mother of the Year' by Working Mother magazine. She resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband and three children.