For Miral Patel, Associate Technical Product Manager, Women’s History Month has special meaning: it is a time to reflect on her experiences as the first woman in her family to go to college, have a career, and be a bread-winner - and all in a field that’s been traditionally dominated by men.
“I come from a semi-conservative, yet traditional, Indian family where gender roles are clearly defined,” says Miral, pictured with her mother, Chetna, at Miral's wedding in 2020. “Due to cultural norms, not many women in my family were able to get a college education and work. My mum and grandmother have never been to school and never worked. I was the first in my family to break this barrier.”
But that hasn’t been the only barrier Miral has broken: she has also found herself on a successful career path in the tech product field - a field in which only about a third of jobs are held by women, according to STEM data. A former clinical data analyst at Phillips Healthcare with a background in the tech industry, Miral came to Aledade to advance her dual passions for technology and value-based healthcare.
In her role at Aledade, Miral delivers business impact by marshaling the resources of her team to identify and solve the most impactful customer problems - for primary care practices, clinics, and community health centers by advancing tech products like the Aledade App.
“I’m here - a minority, a woman, finding success in a tech product field. I can’t tell you how proud I am of that,” she says. “I wanted to be at Aledade to have new opportunities to challenge myself, and here, I’ve been set up for success on our product tech team.”
To Miral, being able to grow, learn, and succeed in a workplace that values diversity and delivers inclusivity is an exciting opportunity.
“It’s not everywhere in the world that women have that opportunity,” she explains. “The battle for gender equality is still a worldwide battle where we have yet to ‘break the glass ceiling.’ Over the years, there has been some progression to include women in the workforce, and I see it more with my generation where we are challenging certain stereotypes to use their voice and speak up.”
As a leading member of Aledade’s Women’s Leadership Affinity Resource Group (ARG), Miral is passionate about contributing to an inclusive environment for her female peers.
“Including women in everything from social gatherings to work atmosphere is so important. We bring different perspectives that have value, and we need workplaces that are willing to challenge gender stereotypes. Many companies say they do, but at Aledade, this is very true. Here, we do a fantastic job of including women. We have minority women in high roles, I see a diverse hiring pool, and there are organizations and resources to foster diversity and inclusion. These things are very important to me.”
She adds, “In previous generations, it was hard for women to move out of defined roles. We are in a better position to advocate for ourselves and challenge stereotypes. We should be grateful for that. Especially in tech, women are getting the chance to take roles like CEOs. I hope to one day move up like that myself.”
More importantly, though, Miral hopes her own future daughter will find it easier to move up like that, too. And if she has a son, she would like to educate him to speak up and be an advocate for women.
“My grandmother and my mother never worked, and as a woman, my mother wanted to be self-sufficient so that if anything happened to my dad, she would be able to take care of herself,” she says. “I have the foundation to do that. That’s really important. I want my future daughter to have that foundation, too. I want her to be able to advocate for women who can’t speak for themselves. I want her to speak up and be independent and have a good strong foundation to not have to depend on anyone else.”
She adds, “I think being in this country, we are allowed to break that glass ceiling if we try. There are so many women in the world who don’t have the access we do - things as simple as learning to drive. I hope future generations stand up for themselves and for other women who cannot, that they will try hard to make the world a better place, so that all women have the opportunity to work and be successful in a workplace that values them.”