Ashton Mathai is a content specialist at Trintech. For Women’s History Month, we asked Ashton a few questions about her experiences as a woman in tech and how generations of women in her family have impacted the work she does now.
What does innovation mean to you and how do you exhibit it in your daily life?
I think innovation starts with being open to considering and trying new things. Even if it doesn’t always work out, there is something to be said and learned from taking a risk. Nothing that is now considered innovative or ground-breaking was ever accomplished by staying safe. I try to have an open mindset in my life, not only in my job, but with the people I interact with and in the activities and hobbies I engage.
How have generations of women in your family before you impacted the work you do in your job and/or your community?
My grandmother was a single mother that put herself through school with three children, and my mother (her daughter) went back to school with four children (including me!) in order to put us through college. My other grandmother was an immigrant and worked as a nurse with three children as well. I wouldn’t have the opportunities available to me that I currently do without them. The legacy of their hard work and integrity runs in my veins and I’m proud to build on that and pass the same legacy down to my children.
Do you identify with any particular woman in history? Why?
Say what you will about her novels, Jane Austen was both a fantastic writer and a female pioneer in her field. In fact, her works are so well loved and admired that they are still adapted into wildly successful movies, authors put their own twists on her stories, her books are still sold in bookstores and are considered a staple of English curriculum in schools everywhere— more than 230 years later. I am an avid writer and reader and have looked up to Jane Austen as long as I can remember, though it is only in recent years that I began reading her books. Jane Austen is a household name and though she isn’t alive, her work is very much alive in the hearts of readers. That takes a special kind of talent and perseverance to achieve in one lifetime.
Over the course of your career, how have you seen the workplace attitude towards women change?
So far, I have been exceedingly lucky to not have encountered any roadblocks specifically because I’m a woman in the few years I’ve been working. I realize that is because generations of women have fought tooth-and-nail before me so that I can enjoy the privilege of not only working freely, but also being able to vote, earn an education, and be whoever I choose to be in the world. I am so grateful for those privileges that I came into the world being able to have, ones that other women decades and centuries ago had to fight for.