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Celebrating Women's History Month: Tyi Whitcomb

This is what Tyi Whitcomb, Director of Notary Compliance and QC had to say about her experience as a woman in the tech industry.
Tyi Whitcomb
March 15, 2022
5 min

We’re celebrating Women’s History Month with a series highlighting the experiences of females in our company. Our first spotlight was by Hadas Tamir, Director of Customer Success. Stay tuned for the remainder of this 4-part series, with articles being published weekly throughout March.

Tyi Whitcomb, Director of Notary Compliance and Quality Control

I’ve been in the technology industry for a while now, starting in the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) world in 1997 as a Software Consultant for a local software company. I obtained various Microsoft and vendor certifications over the years to augment my knowledge to serve my customers better and partnered with a local software company to implement ERP systems around the world.  In 2011, alongside my business partner, I sold my company and went to work for two national firms implementing ERP systems.

I stumbled into the Notary SaaS world in 2016 and have been with Notarize ever since. I have worked on the Notary Operations team as a notary and Team Lead and the Closing Operations team as part of their quality control efforts. I am now part of the Legal team as Director of Notary Compliance and Quality Control and work to ensure that transactions completed on the Notarize platform follow each state’s notarial laws and regulations and contribute to creating the ultimate notary and signer experience.  

Being a woman in tech is challenging, but we’re heading in the right direction

Being a woman in a male-dominated industry has been the most complex challenge I have faced in my professional life. While women certainly have the knowledge and talent to succeed, the "good ole boys" mentality has dominated for so long that women succeeding in leadership roles has demanded a shift in thinking from their male counterparts.  Luckily, as time has passed, companies have evolved and become more progressive in how they view women and equality in the workplace. This shift has allowed women to enter into roles they never used to have the opportunity to fulfill. 

We’re getting closer to being seen as “equals” in terms of knowledge and experience.  For example, when I started years ago in the ERP world, I could quickly count how many woman-owned ERP firms there were. Now that number is continually increasing, I am thrilled to see that trend continue to grow.

My knowledge has transcended my gender and the color of my skin

As a woman, the tech industry can be challenging enough. But I’m also a woman of color in the tech industry. My experience as a minority has varied over my career. In both the ERP and notary worlds, many of my customer interactions have been remote, so the customer couldn’t always see the color of my skin. They would only have to go off of the knowledge and support I provided them over the phone or via email and accept it. On occasion, when I would finally meet a customer in person, some customers would be taken aback. Still, we would work together because my merit and actions before the meetings already had spoken for themselves. They were able to see that I had the knowledge and experience that superseded the color of my skin.

The hardest part has been balance

While there have been challenges breaking into a male-dominated industry and overcoming racial biases, the biggest struggle I’ve faced as a woman in the workplace has been balancing my children and my work. Now that my children are older (14 and 22), they don’t have as great of an impact on my career as those with younger children. However, if my kids get sick or forget their homework, things that are out of my control, I still have to handle it. Many meetings can’t be rescheduled, because I need to run a forgotten lunch to school.

It can be challenging to juggle the responsibilities that come with being a mother and the demands that come with working in a fast-paced industry. I think it’s common among working mothers to feel this way and having had these experiences, I’ve been able to empathize with women in the workplace who are in different phases of motherhood.

What I’ve learned and the women who taught me

More than just women-owned tech businesses, we’re seeing more and more females fulfilling leadership positions in bigger tech companies. I have always worked in or for companies that have had female leaders, which I know is not the norm. I’ve been very fortunate to have great female mentors throughout my career who have exemplified how to be a leader in the workplace.

My first mentor was Judy Chase, Owner of Planning and Services Corporation, and my previous business partner. She was my holy grail when it came to a woman I’d want to emulate in the business world. She showed me that you needed to be a woman first, and everything else would follow after. She would say, “They’ll either accept that you know what you’re talking about or walk away, and all you can do is make sure you did your part.”

My current mentor and manager, Renee Hunter, General Counsel at Notarize, is another woman that has shown me how to be a leader. She has taught me that you will not always be right, but you must be fair, and sometimes you have to bend a little for the bigger picture.

Up to this point in my career, I have had many other mentors (both male and female) that have either shown me what I should strive to be as a leader, or what I never should do when leading.

My advice to companies and other women

I think all companies can improve with giving everyone a chance (regardless of gender, etc.). Many times women are qualified for the same role as a man, but the “typical role” of a woman clouds the decision-making process. Many employers consider family concerns and the stereotypical concerns of being a woman (we’ve all heard “women are too emotional”) when deciding who gets a role. Employers need to take a step back and make sure the decision is informed not on stereotypes or societal norms, but on the ultimate impact or improvement to the business.

And with that, my advice to women in the tech industry is Don't Stop! You will be knocked down and stepped on during your journey to your dreams. You can either accept what you are "given" or go after what you want.

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Tyi Whitcomb

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