Identity Governance Blog

Nicole Eickhoff: Crushing Barriers and Blazing Trails at Omada on International Women's Day

Interview with Nicole Eickhoff, Strategy & Product Management

March 8, 2024

This International Women’s Day, we’re spotlighting one of our phenomenal product owners, Nicole Eickhoff, whose journey exemplifies resilience, adaptability, and a passion for breaking boundaries in the tech industry.

Nicole’s path into technology wasn’t linear. Starting her career in business development, she helped women start and grow their businesses. Serving on the board of the National Association of Women’s Business Centers, she spearheaded a transformation in their approach by making it more welcoming for women entrepreneurs seeking guidance through thorough business analysis. As she grew in her career, she realized she wanted to join start-ups themselves as opposed to consulting business owners from the outside.

Drawn to the analysis, Nicole transitioned to a career in data science after graduating from a boot camp. As a data scientist with a business background, she was often involved in creating product road maps, influencing which products to build next, and solving customer pain points. She became the first woman at her 20-year-old company to win a patent in Anomaly Detection. After 8 years of serving a role in both machine learning and product management, she found herself at a crossroads where she chose to pursue the latter, where she thrives on the strategic thinking, problem-solving, and customer advocacy of the role.

What makes Nicole’s story even more inspiring is her experience as a woman in technology. She challenges the stereotype that the industry is less welcoming to women tech workers. Having selected great teams to work with, she highlights work-life balance and focuses on performance over politics as improvements, even over working in a women-centric field. She feels as valued as her male colleagues because the organizations she has worked for hold everyone to the same standards.

However, Nicole acknowledges the challenges women face entering STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, particularly the lack of encouragement in school. She cites motherhood as another challenge for working moms. Nicole argues that women are missing out on these fields. By the time some women realize they’re good at STEM like she did toward the middle of her career, it may feel like it’s too late; they are in another career, overwhelmed with the responsibilities of motherhood, or simply lack the support they need to pivot. The juggling act of motherhood and tech careers remains a complex reality. Nicole recognizes the mental load faced by working mothers and encourages dialogue with children about their work to encourage support and understanding of the field.

For women looking to get into a STEM field, Nicole offers the following advice:

  1. Start early and explore your aptitude: Engage with your STEM teachers, and ask them about what you excel at in their classes. Regardless of your passions, take classes outside of your major and explore what other fields you may be good at.
  2. Invest in your STEM future: Even if you don’t plan on being in STEM, it’s important to explore your aptitudes within the field. STEM is the future, and you never know where that skillset can take you.
  3. Choose your partner wisely: It’s crucial to select a partner that will support you and your aspirations, especially during stressful situations like changing careers or motherhood.
  4. Look beyond developer roles: For women considering a career change, Nicole emphasizes that technology offers opportunities beyond traditional developer roles. Leadership skills are crucial, and certifications can bridge the gap if formal education isn’t readily available.

When reflecting on her career, Nicole defines her proudest accomplishment not as a single event, but the culmination of many moments that showcase her resilience. From completing a marathon to courageously moving her family to a new country, she has consistently demonstrated the ability to overcome challenges and thrive in tough situations. This resilience, she says, is a core part of her identity, allowing her to trust herself and her capabilities in any circumstance. As a result, she has become a confident and successful woman, both personally and professionally.

Nicole embodies the spirit of International Women’s Day. She’s a testament to the power of resilience, continuous learning, and advocating for yourself and others. We’re incredibly proud to have her on our team, and we hope her story inspires others to pursue their dreams in technology and beyond.

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