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Women in Technology: A Trailblazer’s Story and Career Advice

Leila Barkhadle

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“Have you ever felt a bit lost in your career, not sure where to go next for growth?”

Leila Barkhadle, a passionate career growth advocate and mentor, opens her career advice video with this question. As she continues, Leila draws from her unique personal experience to offer guidance on growing professionally and shaping a career plan.

Early in her own career, Leila Barkhadle chose a path less traveled by women. As an international student traveling to the U.S. from Somalia in East Africa, she was unsure what she wanted to study. An advisor recommended computer science; however, her family had trouble supporting her down this unfamiliar path. They expected Leila to enter more traditional women's fields such as teaching or nursing. Despite the lack of support, Leila knew she wanted to do something different - so she went against the grain and decided to pursue computer science.

Since then, she has worked as a computer operator, UNIX system administrator, project manager, program manager, and is now the Sr. Director of Security and Compliance at Equifax. In 2023, Leila also received the WIT (Women in Technology) Woman of the Year in Science award. 

To this day, Leila continues to empower and mentor others to discover their full potential in their career journeys. She encourages her team to aim higher and be mindful of their career growth. On top of being a leader and a high performer, Leila serves as a mentor for Equifax employee resource groups, BOLD (Black Organization for Leveraging Differences) and WATT (Women Advancing Technology Together). She also has been a major influence and inspiration for other women who are looking to pursue a career in STEAM. The younger generation of graduates from East Africa, seeking guidance and mentorship, often reach out to her for mentorship and advice.

Her career journey didn’t come without its challenges. Through experience, she was able to hone in on what she was passionate about and made the necessary pivots along the way. 

Tune in as she shares her top tips for how to build your career plan and enhance your career growth. Leila talks through key steps for career planning, inclusive of identifying career goals, participating in networking, and seeking out mentorship. 

Learn more about available opportunities at Equifax.