Interview with Northern California Women in Localization (NCWL)
By: GALA - Women in Localization
31 December 1969
GALA interviews the founders of NCWL, a regional professional organization that fosters career development and best practices among women working in localization.
Quick stats: Founded by Silvia Avary-Silveira from VeriSign, Eva Klaudinyova from VMware and Anna Schlegel from NetApp as a professional organization for women in localization in Northern California.
Date Established: NCWL was created on September 24, 2008
Location: California, USA
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: http://www.ncwl.org, or look for NCWL on LinkedIn groups and Facebook!
Number of members: 130
The NCWL was founded in September 2008 by four industry colleagues (and friends!) who share a passion for globalization. When one of them suggested the creation of a forum to share professional experiences and to network, the idea was an instant hit. Soon after, they decided to open it up to more people and NCWL was created. At that time all they knew was that they wanted it to be a group that would foster professional development for women only, and that it should be a local group, to facilitate face-to-face meetings. The first meeting was fantastic; they laughed, they had a good time, but they never really talked about their newly conceived professional organization. So, the second meeting was actually NCWL’s first official one. It was at that historic meeting when they chose the organization’s name, drafted the strategy, and planned their first networking event. After that, it was one successful meeting after another, and the organization has been growing ever since.
What motivated you to start the NCWL?
We wanted to create a dedicated place for women to develop their careers in localization. We have a goal of creating an open, collaborative forum where women can share their expertise and experience and help one another move forward in their careers. Women often get overlooked for career moves and promotions, so we wanted a group where women can help each other to grow and learn.
Who can become a member of NCWL?
Membership is free, but there are three prerequisites in order to become a NCWL member:
you need to be a woman, currently live in Northern California, and work in the localization industry.
What kinds of activities and benefits does NCWL offer?
We offer discussion boards, job postings, mentoring and quarterly events with discussions and presentations on various topics, as well as networking opportunities for our members. The underlying story here is that we know each other and we help each other. As a member, you can always forward a great resume to another member. And as a manager, you can hire one of our group members with confidence!
During our events, we invite guest speakers to share their knowledge and expertise. We have had company CEOs and industry gurus present about automation, localization career development, and terminology management, among other topics.
Because we are a small local group, our members are able to make important connections with other members that can serve them well in many ways, from mentoring to sharing ideas to job opportunities.
Have you received a positive response so far?
Oh yes, absolutely! Women love having a group of their own. Our gatherings are conducive to high quality networking, and we are finding that people enjoy the mingling part just as much as the topics we present. After every event, conversations continue in the corridors or outside in the parking lots! Our members clearly enjoy the opportunity to share and compare notes without having to pay high conference fees or listen to sales presentations.
What are some of the challenges that your members face?
Our members look for recommendations on language vendors, tools, or even job opportunities, but we think most of all they look for ways to advance their careers in localization. Another challenge seems to be the fact that localizers are still considered that “odd bird” in the company, and localization needs are still widely misunderstood. In our group, members have a chance to meet others who are in the same position, facing the same challenges, and feeling the same pain.
What are some activities that you are planning for the near future?
We are planning a joint event with GALA where members from both organizations will be able to network and exchange ideas. This should be an exciting event for both GALA members as well as NCWL. This is the first joint event that we are planning and we hope to have more opportunities in the future.
Do you have any advice for young women entering the localization profession?
At our most recent event in April, we hosted a panel discussion on “How to advance your career in localization.” Our panelists were all accomplished women in localization holding high-ranking positions, and they all agree that in order to advance your career in localization, you need the following: get training in a related area (localization management or linguistic training seems to be preferred to an MBA), find a mentor, network, network, network, and don’t be afraid of challenges and new opportunities!
NCWL founders Silvia Avary-Silveira (VeriSign), Anna Schlegel (NetApp), and Eva Klaudinyova (VMware)