Series 13 – Episode 10 – Amplifying women's voices in the electronics industry
Paige West speaks with Linda Johnson, Executive VP Operations, DigiKey about her experiences in the electronics industry and her work with Women in Electronics.
Linda, who has spent 36 years at DigiKey, began her career when the company had fewer than 100 employees. Her initial roles involved learning various aspects of the business, from picking and packaging to customer support.
Reflecting on the early days at DigiKey, Linda noted the male dominance in the industry, especially in technical and supplier-facing roles. However, she also acknowledged the presence of strong female leadership within DigiKey, emphasising the company's internal gender diversity over the years.
With her experience, Linda has witnessed a significant evolution in the industry, with more women and girls being encouraged to participate in STEM programmes, robotics, and engineering. This evolution, she believes, is crucial for expanding the talent pool and diversifying the sector.
At DigiKey, Linda oversees a customer-facing operations team of over 1,000 people, encompassing global customer support, technical support, pricing, quoting, and accounting and finance operations. Under her leadership, DigiKey actively encourages more women in the industry, supporting initiatives like robotics, maker spaces, and college programmes.
Linda also spearheads a chapter of Women in Electronics in Thief River Falls, DigiKey’s headquarters, and serves on its advisory council. Women in Electronics focuses on leadership growth, personal development, mentorship, and community creation. The organisation's mission is to develop, advocate, and celebrate women in the industry, where women currently represent only about 10% of leadership.
In 2020, Linda was recognised as one of the notable women in technology by Twin Cities Business, an honour she attributes to her team’s collective success. She emphasises the importance of role models and mentors, not just for women but for everyone in the industry.
Linda's advice to women considering joining the electronics industry is to embrace the dynamic and innovative nature of the field. With electronics playing a crucial role in various sectors, from AI to medical technology, she encourages women to pursue their interests and seize opportunities with confidence.