Journey to the C-Suite: A Conversation with Women at Deltek

November 16, 2022
Women at Deltek

According to a recent CNBC Equity and Opportunity article, only 5% of CEO positions are held by female executives, and 19.2 % of corporate leadership teams include female employees. And research by Heather Jackson, founder, and CEO of The Women's Business Forum, states a primary reason for the gap is that 92% of female business leaders say lack of confidence is the biggest obstacle they face when trying to promote themselves.

While these findings may represent the harsh reality for many companies, at Deltek, we believe that creating the right environment for our employees means empowering them to connect, learn, and growregardless of their career level or gender. And through our Women at Deltek employee resource group (ERG), formed in 2018, Team Deltek has the opportunity to learn about meaningful topics and raise awareness on how they can support each other in the workplace.

As part of this year’s user conference, Deltek ProjectCon, the ERG sponsored a breakfast and panel discussion titled, A Conversation with the Women at Deltek. The session was moderated by Natasha Engan, SVP of Global Sales, and included three of Deltek's leaders:


"With our ongoing commitment to supporting women in the workplace, I am honored to be participating in the Women at Deltek panel. I'm especially excited to be joining three of Deltek's leaders on stage, who will each share their personal and professional journeys and tips for navigating today's business landscape."

– Natasha Engan, SVP of Global Sales


During the 45-minute Q&A, attendees heard first-hand how these women leaders navigated their journey to the C-Suite. They shared their personal experiences with mentorship and career advancement and provided advice for reaching professional goals.

Benefits of Mentor & Mentee Relationships

Having a mentor comes with a host of benefits including having a support system that helps you learn and grow; while being a mentor can help with your own career development. "I have been a part of Deltek's Mentor Program for the last nine years and continue to learn from each mentee relationship. As a result, I've built lasting relationships that have helped me better understand other organizations and roles across the company," shared Ronda.

Finding those individuals you know, and trust is all part of the process. "I had a great advocate and mentor at Deltek early on in my management career who helped me overcome some of my imposter syndrome doubts about myself," explained Margo. “He pushed me to take on more in my current role and helped me believe I could get to the executive level."

At Deltek, we have a formal mentorship program for employees and encourage informal mentoring relationships. Both are effective; however, success ultimately depends on an open, honest relationship and candid two-way communication. 

"In my career, I’ve personally benefited from being both a mentor and mentee. My mentors help me navigate challenging employee situations, client issues, internal politics and hiring decisions. While as a mentor to other women, I often learn new skills, such as leveraging social media and communicating more effectively. The role of mentor and mentee mutually benefits both parties involved," said Natasha.

How to Navigate Career Advancement

Today's workplace has many modern-day challenges, from work-life balance to political maneuvering. Knowing which way to turn can be challenging, especially when rising to the top of a company. No matter how much you plan or think you have it figured out, you may find yourself in situations that you never accounted for. Yet, in many cases, these moments are the pivotal points that can take your career in a completely different direction.

“Stepping into the role of General Counsel at Deltek was a pretty big risk—particularly from a personal perspective,” reflected Tracy. “When I was presented with the opportunity, I had three young sons at home—a four year old and newborn twins. And, if you had asked me to choose a time to step into my first C-suite role, it probably would not have been that exact moment. However, I firmly believe in taking opportunities when they present themselves, and I could not pass up the opportunity to take this role. The first few months, in particular, were a challenge, but I gave myself grace and relied on my support system at home and the stellar Legal Team members at Deltek as I got my bearings in both environments.”

The panelists all agreed that getting out of their comfort zone and trusting those who believe in their abilities is often how women get ahead. Sometimes, in the moment the opportunity may not seem like an exact fit, but having the confidence and believing in yourself may be all that you need to take your career to the next level.

“I remember early in my career, I was offered a Project Lead position, I didn't want to take it because I had never led projects before, but my mentor pushed me to apply for the role knowing it was something that I could learn to do,” explained Ronda. “What I took away from that experience was not to let my insecurities of not being 100% qualified define what I do–rather use it as a career growth opportunity. So now, when I am faced with new challenges, the uneasiness is still there–but I don't hesitate–the discomfort motivates and drives me.”

It often depends on how comfortable you are and whether that risk is worth the reward. It is a careful balance of understanding and willingness to take on new responsibilities. And sometimes, who you know and what you've done are more important than having the exact qualifications required in a new role.

“About six years ago, my current boss threw out a challenge to me to take on a role that I had no experience with and basically knew nothing about. However, as terrifying as it was that challenge and taking a leap of faith led to my promotion to the executive team,” shared Margo.

Tips for Reaching Your Goals

Whether you have C-Suite aspirations or are just starting out on your professional journey, you can take your career in whatever direction you desireset goals for yourself and timelines in which to achieve them. Develop a network of professionals who can advise you not only in getting to the next level but also once you are there. But most importantly, don’t get discouraged, no matter the outcomes.

”My younger self was so concerned with not making a misstep in my career journey, but looking back, my career path looks nothing like I’d envisioned going in, and honestly, that is a good thing,” explained Tracy. “I couldn’t be more pleased with how things have turned out—far from where I thought I’d be, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

Your journey is made up of unique opportunities that all contribute to your collective experience; together, they are the foundation that can prepare you for the future. When reflecting on her own journey, Ronda shared, “The best advice I can give other women as they navigate their careers is to embrace the feeling of discomfort and use it to fuel their ability to drive results and succeed.”

While Margo reminded us that when it comes to promoting ourselves, “Say yes! Raise your hand and take on risks.” 

Learn more about Deltek’s winning workplace culture and how we are creating a balanced, values-driven workplace powered by collaboration, innovation and authenticity. Subscribe to our Inside Deltek Project Nation newsletter and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to get the latest on #DeltekProjectNation.