Fiber Optic Cabinets, Cables, Pedestals and Terminals

The current labor shortage opens up big opportunities for women…if only these opportunities were better known. Many women receive tons of information about traditional paths – such as teachers, administrative assistants and childcare workers – but rewarding careers exist outside that small sphere.

Fiber broadband is such a career…which includes far more than what you might imagine, which may be of a field tech climbing utility poles (although women do just that…and more are needed). Many roles in our industry are similar to those found in other companies, including careers in finance, operations and the engaging world of marketing.

In honor of this week’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Clearfield’s women in marketing discuss their career paths.

No Magic About Fiber Broadband Marketing

I looked into publishing careers at my college’s Career Center and my editorial/marketing positions were a good fit with my English degree. But when I discovered an opportunity to work in the technology field, I took it with no regrets. Many skills apply from industry to industry – and in marketing, part of success is finding benefits and communicating them effectively. People often make the mistake of thinking that everyone in a technical field must be technical …but that isn’t true. Lots of awesome technical people work on developing and servicing Clearfield’s fiber optic products – doing work that I can’t. But I can and do use other skills to communicate through marketing vehicles such as social media and Clearfield College online…explaining to others what we do. I don’t need to magically know everything (which is a huge relief).

Don’t Under-Sell Yourself

Our marketing communications director’s career didn’t start until she was almost 40 years old….having spent many years as a stay-at-home mom. When she did enter the workforce, her initial goal was to be a part of a company where she could be a valued contributor. A true “career” wasn’t even on her radar at the time, let alone one in the technology industry. An English major, she had no background in the sciences – yet was pleased that this was not a stumbling block. At Clearfield, she was given an opportunity in a technical industry to apply her skillsets while at the same time, learn the industry. She found that when you have good mentors, people with strong fiber broadband knowledge and you’re a part of a company that values teaching/training….that the industry is accessible to women, men and people from all backgrounds.

She comments, “If I were to give any advice to someone looking to enter the field of fiber broadband, I would say don’t be afraid or under-sell yourself. Good companies see talent and capabilities and will teach you what you need to know about the industry to be successful.”

Green then Growing

“I was as green as they come in the fiber broadband field,” says our webmaster, who started as Clearfield’s only marketing person after graduating with a communications degree. “What an incredible field it really is. People aren’t expecting you to come in and be an expert. You’re expected to apply yourself and ask for help or clarification. It does take time, but what I’ve found here at Clearfield is that people will stop what they’re doing and help you understand.” While it’s a male-dominated industry, women are emerging. “The difference I’ve seen from when I started to now is vast,” she says.

Support, Not Competition

Our marcom manager spent about seven years in the catering/event business…losing her job due to COVID-19 lockdowns. At Clearfield, she started in order entry and then moved into marketing. She says, “After attending my first tradeshow, it really hit me just how many men are in this business. This isn’t my first time in a male-dominated sector; while cooking in restaurants, I was often the only woman in the room. But the biggest difference for me here is that instead of viewing me as competition, I have found support.”

Be a Role Model

Sports media was our marcom specialist’s major and it’s important for her to be a role model for young female sports fans…especially since they’re more plentiful than ever. After community relations work, she wanted a job that allowed her to communicate and execute plans company-wide…which brought her to Clearfield, where she handles events. “What surprised me the most is the level of impact that our work has on the company! When people think of a company, an image comes to mind that is largely created by marketing,” she says.

Learn More About a Career in Fiber Broadband

Whether you’re a striving student or a polished professional who’s investigating career options, consider the fiber broadband field. Do online research, ask a career counselor and look at job descriptions. See if anyone you know works in broadband and request an informational interview. Ask about job responsibilities, career paths, expected salary range and anything else of interest.

Working in fiber broadband is rewarding on many levels. It provides a real service to people who need to be connected to the internet (which is most of us). The market is exploding, your contributions are valued and opportunities abound for women.

By Karen Richardson

A communications professional with experience in several industries, Karen runs Clearfield’s social media and Clearfield College Online platforms. Before joining Clearfield, she held marketing positions at companies such as Fujitsu, A10 Networks and Thomson Reuters. Karen received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Gustavus Adolphus College and a Certificate in Marketing Communications from San Jose State University. She’s served on the boards of the Business Marketing Association and Publishing Professionals Network.