From northern lights to Silicon Valley, Gillian blazes a trail for others.

As vice president at Soliant Consulting, Gillian Gentry wants women to listen up. “There is a place for you in technology. If you are a problem solver and a critical thinker, a tech career is accessible. You will be welcomed by a supportive community of women and men. And you can have a family and a career and be fulfilled. I’m living proof!”

As far from technology as one could be.

Gillian was born in a log cabin without electricity or running water, then grew up in Utqiaġvik (formerly Barrow), Alaska — a cold and remote part of the United States. Accessible only by plane, with no roads in or out, she felt separated and disconnected from the rest of the world. Technology wasn’t on her radar.

“The limitations of growing up somewhere so remote start with your environment, as we didn’t interact with technology on a daily basis. Technology as a career wasn’t something kids around me were talking about. I wanted more but didn’t even know what more was,” Gillian shares.

A mom turned mentor and an A+ education.

“No one in my family had gone to college when I was young, but I always knew my path out was through education. My mom understood the value of reading, encouraging us with books from a very young age — she was my first real mentor,” Gillian continues.

Unsure where to go to college or how to pay for it, community college was step one, followed by a transfer to Stanford University. Gillian explains, “My goal was to pay for college entirely on my own and get straight A’s throughout, and I did both, a journey I’m really proud of. I’m one of five kids and all of my siblings found career opportunities — three of us are executives, one is a chef, and one is in financial services — through a shared work ethic and determination.”

Increased opportunities with low code.

Gillian got into the technology field through the usability of Claris FileMaker, beginning first as a data analyst and then advancing as a power user. She credits low code with helping bring women into the technology industry, lowering the barrier of entry by removing the need for a computer science degree and knowing how to write long lines of code.

“With low code, you can be extremely successful if you know how to solve problems. FileMaker does a beautiful job of creating a scaffold, allowing women to build from the traits so many of us naturally possess, such as strong organization, critical thinking, and effective communication skills,” she says.

Diversity, inclusion, and work-life balance.

Gillian recognizes the challenges working mothers face, but she hopes that women can find work-life balance through a career centered around low-code technology.

“The flexibility in my role allows me to be present and effective in all aspects of my life — for my job and my family. I’m surrounded by so many wonderful women at Soliant who live by the tenet of lifting other women up, and our chief technology officer, Steve Lane, fosters a culture that promotes diversity, inclusion, and encouragement of women with families,” Gillian goes on to say.

A community willing to help.

Gillian believes getting more women into technology involves being vocal about tech as a career option and encouraging women to enroll in learning opportunities that provide clear career pathways, with help from female mentors.

“I want to get out the message out to everyone – like the former me of 20 years ago – and let them know that there is a space and a community for you here and a tech career is possible. To a woman reading this message, our community is here for you. Please join us,” Gillian adds.

Explore Women Innovating Together – FileMaker (WITfm) to learn more about the growing Claris Community and resources for women working with FileMaker, including networking and mentorship opportunities.