Tracey is the founder of TechGirlz, a nonprofit organisation that seeks to inspire middle school-aged girls to pursue careers in technology.
She is also a founder of, and Chief Marketing Officer for Chariot Solutions, a Philadelphia-based custom software development consulting firm.
Tracey has created the branding and marketing strategy for Chariot, helping it to grow from 10 employees in 2002 to 50 today. She is also the founder and current chair of the Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise Conference, (ETE), which is held in Philadelphia each year and is a founding board member of Philadelphia Startup Leaders, a regional organization dedicated to growing technology startup businesses.
Can you provide some leadership advice for those looking to advance their careers?
Career advancement is in the eye of the beholder, different for everyone. Having a vision of where you want to be over periods of time can provide you with structure and an idea of what you need to do to achieve these steps.
But as with any good plan, you should be flexible. Life changes and new opportunities will lead to adjustments and the path to reaching your end goal.
Who have you looked to for inspiration, within the technology industry or more broadly?
I look for inspiration in many different places, some very unlikely and not necessarily from individuals.
For example, I am no artist, but I am creative. My stick figure drawings and other creative outlets provide a release and a source of inspiration. Similarly, I draw inspiration from the creative process of others.
What was the best piece of advice given to you?
There are two pieces, actually. The first is to never make excuses when you fail. You should absolutely work to understand why a failure occurred, but don’t assign blame for that failure. The second piece of advice is that when you are comfortable, it is time to move on.
This doesn’t mean you literally need to find a new job, but it does mean you should continually seek new challenges. It keeps you from becoming stale.
Have you had to overcome any career challenges?
Yes, there have been many. The biggest was when I either had to sell my business or close it. I decided to sell, but I felt like a failure for not being a success. I later realised how much I had learned while I was running it and how it had set me up to be where I am today.
What does your typical day look like?
There is no typical day, and I love that. I hold down two jobs and work a lot, so there is a lot of variety: meetings concerning different areas of either business, discussions with regional or national thought leaders, attending networking events, writing articles or posting on social media.
I am very lucky because I am constantly challenged and am constantly learning from my teams and my partners.
Who were the individuals who served as mentors and role models for you and how did your relationships with them help your own professional development?
My career has taken several different turns, and I have many people who have helped me along the way. It would take too much space to name them all. In my current incarnation, my mentors include the CEO of Chariot Solutions. He has been instrumental in my growth as a leader.
I have also been very fortunate to have mentors – who are also friends – who make up my TechGirlz board. Each of them has offered me different viewpoints on my strengths and weaknesses. They have not been shy about discussing them with me and that has helped push me to be a better businessperson and leader. Deliberately surrounding myself with smart people who also care about my growth has allowed me to develop professionally.