Advice / Career Paths / Career Stories

This Engineer Credits Other Women in Tech For Helping Her Succeed. Now She’s Paying It Forward.

Ariel Inman, User Change Management Consultant
Ariel Inman, User Change Management Consultant

Internships are a great way for college students to gain on-the-job experience—and even a full-time job offer. Just ask Ariel Inman, who interned at Allstate as a database administrator before accepting a spot in the company’s rotational Technology Leadership Development Program.

“I wasn’t sure what job I wanted after graduation, so when Allstate gave me the chance to try a little bit of everything I jumped at the opportunity,” Inman says. “Trying out three different roles with a focus on both technology and leadership sounded like the perfect way to decide what I wanted to do long-term.”

Inman’s interest in joining Allstate wasn’t limited to career development; she also grew to appreciate the company culture. “As an intern, I loved how friendly and welcoming everyone was,” she says. “If you ran into someone new in the hallway, you were friends before you even made it to the cafeteria for lunch. Everyone was always so helpful and genuinely eager to connect if I had questions.”

Today, Inman is a user change management consultant at Allstate—a position she’s achieved through her desire to learn and guidance from her mentors.

Here, Inman shares how the rotational program helped her grow at Allstate, the importance of work-life integration, and advice for other young women looking to enter the tech world.

What inspired you to pursue a career in software engineering?

The challenge! Writing software is a puzzle and an art, and I wanted to try industry level development. It was quite a steep learning curve from anything I had worked on in college, but I had a great team around me who helped me thrive in Allstate’s paired programming environment.

Tell us more about the rotational Technology Leadership Development Program. How has it impacted your growth?

The rotational program has had a huge impact on my growth and development. I’ve worked as a software engineer, a project manager, and a change management consultant in just three years. There is no better teacher than experience and that is what the program has given me in abundance. I also learned a lot about programming languages and creative solutioning during my time as a software engineer and that knowledge has helped me in every role since.

The technology department also requires yearly learnings that help us stay on top of the latest industry changes in cloud, artificial intelligence, and more. I’ve even worked on teams that have dedicated personal development time. Your learning journey is what you make it at Allstate and the right manager will encourage your continued growth.

What did you find appealing about Allstate’s company culture during the interview and onboarding process?

While interviewing for the rotational program, I finally realized how Allstate was able to cultivate such a warm, open workplace. While there were a few technical questions, the interviewers focused mainly on culture and collaboration scenarios. Prioritizing the people instead of just the work is what I found appealing about Allstate’s culture.

In what ways did your BS in Computer Information Systems prepare you for the career path you ended up pursuing?

I’ve used the programming languages I learned while earning my degree (i.e. Java, JavaScript, React, SQL, etc.), but the most important skill that has helped in every single one of my rotations is the ability to break a problem into smaller parts. Identifying a goal and then lining out exactly what is needed to get there helps avoid decision paralysis and allows you to move quickly. This mindset is important whether you’re trying to decide how to get started on a code change or breaking down a five-year project roadmap into stories for the next sprint.

What are you responsible for in your current role? What are you working on now that’s particularly interesting?

I bridge the communication gap between technology and the enterprise. I write articles, lead training, and leverage communication channels across Allstate to encourage people to use new technology features and adjust to change. At the moment, I’m leading the Zoom communications for my team, so I get to try out Zoom’s fun new features before the rest of the enterprise has access!

What is the hardest part about being a woman in a tech role and what has helped you succeed?

It can be hard when you’re the only woman in the room, but remember you are paving the way for the next generation of women. Other women in tech who have been my teachers, mentors, and managers have been such an important part of my success that I can’t imagine being where I am without them.

Remember, you don’t have to be perfect. You’re allowed to be wrong and make mistakes. Those mistakes don’t reflect poorly on other women in tech; it just means you’re human. Keep carving out space so more women feel welcome and always reach out and help others.

What is the best career advice you’ve received so far?

“Find a work-life integration. It’s not always a balance.” My mentor shared this piece of advice with me after I mentioned that a close family member was facing complications with their health. She encouraged me to communicate transparently with my manager and take the time I needed to prioritize my family’s well being.

Sometimes work requires more of us than we normally give, and life can do the same. It’s important to give yourself grace through the ebb and flow and lean into the changes.

What advice would you give to other young women pursuing a career in tech?

Create an army of people around you who want to see you succeed. It’s important to have people who can remind you of your worth and how hard you worked to get to where you are.

Find other women in your department and connect with them. They understand how difficult it can be to make your voice heard so learn from their experiences and support each other along the way.

Don’t allow your own fear or society’s expectations to push you into a corner. Claim your space and speak up—even if your voice shakes.

Walk into a room of strangers and leave with new friends. Networking is important and so much easier if you always assume positive intent—another great piece of advice from my mentor.

If you were starting a book club, what would be the first book you read, and why?

We would read Untamed by Glennon Doyle and I would ask Brené Brown to lead the session because I absolutely adored how she covered the novel on her podcast, Unlocking Us with Brené Brown. It’s about finding yourself, trusting your inner voice, and claiming space instead of just striving to meet others’ expectations. There are so many important lessons I learned just from reading this book and I’d like to share that with other young women in tech who struggle to find that balance.

Updated 12/16/2022