Synechron recently took on the West Coast as a sponsor of Girls in Tech Catalyst Conference San Francisco – a two-day event celebrating some of the most revered female leaders from around the globe touching every subsection of technology. The event was a great gathering of powerful, smart, inventive, supportive women. While we were there, we took note of some words of wisdom. The conference echoed our commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace, including our Employee 2020 employee and recruitment commitment initiative, and our global win for Business Intelligence’s Best Places to Work for 2018. At the event, we also launched a social awareness campaign to celebrate women in technology and emphasize the current disparity for women in STEM roles today and empower others through our female role models, because #ItTakesAllTypes for success. Click here to learn more about the campaign and how you can get involved with just an Instagram post or tweet.
Here are five takeaways we took from GIT Catalyst:
- Pay it Forward: Women make up more than half of the global workforce, but hold less than 25% of roles in tech. NASA’s Ali Luna spoke about her challenging journey into engineering, and recalling not having any female role models to look up to. Many other speakers echoed her sentiment as constantly being in a room full of only men. As a woman with a seat at the table in tech, she talked about paying it forward and mentoring other women and making room at the table - turning this challenge into empowerment.
- Change Driving Leadership: Cathy Polinsky of StitchFix talked about the power of bringing different people, with different mindsets, together onto a team and how is a driver of change. She discussed culture-add versus culture-fit—who will bring different ideas and perspectives to those that you already have? When you have these new additions, you expose people to ideas and give them more inspiration to be leaders.
- Look Beyond Labels: While the environment was of course as expected girl-power and strong women at the conference, Cynthia Strickland of McKesson spoke of a valuable lesson: women in tech are not just women in tech, and having a seat at the table isn’t enough. Women should be empowered to be in tech, without being put in a box or being defined.
- Plan: Diversity and inclusion were spouted left and right at Catalyst - and with good reason, as these have been proven to be many company’s top priorities in the next couple of years. Patty McCord, Workplace Innovator and formerly of Netflix, stressed: The Future of Work is Now. May Mitchell of Cylance shared similar thoughts, that to be a leader, you should be prepared, agile and hungry, because today’s world is about non-stop change. Girls in Tech CEO and founder Adriana Gascoigne talked about moving past diversity and inclusion as buzzwords, and the importance of making room to add these topics into real, tangible overall business strategies.
- Be you, unapologetically, and own your power: Just about every speaker that got on stage discussed the importance of being authentic. But this also means knowing your strengths, weaknesses, and challenges - and be okay with that. Rathi Murthy, Gap Inc, talked about how these things, and remembering your ‘why’ - if you are the only one, if you feel out of place - remember why you are there. And weaknesses, bad experiences, and mistakes teach you resiliency. Danielle Feinberg, Pixar, talked about finding the power in the things that make you stand out, like being in the minority, and focus on the hard work, be scrappy and clever. And Patty McCord, Workplace Innovator formerly of Netflix, discussed her displeasure with the term “empowerment” - don’t wait for a fostering environment, or others to empower you - you own your power! Go to work every day, work hard, and remember that it’s not what you know or who you know, it’s who knows what you know - so speak up and know your worth.