Recognizing International Women’s Day and Diversity in Tech
Mar 08, 2021By Jessica Reeves
In honor of International Women's Day, I want to tell you about my experience as a woman in tech and how both female and male leaders have positively impacted my career. Over the past decade of working in HR and operations from startup environments to Fortune 50, I’m proud to be a part of a changing culture that bridges the barriers for women in the workforce.
Why is there a leadership gap?
When I started working on senior leadership teams in my career, I found myself the only woman at the table, often due to traditional woman leadership roles only being in HR or marketing. It was challenging enough to get a word in as a woman and also as an HR professional at that time. During meaningful discussions, men would talk over me or say the same thing I was saying that was dismissed moments before. I felt out of place and found myself overcompensating because the environment made me insecure about my work.
This sentiment isn't uncommon for women in leadership roles and has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. With virtual work, school, and childcare all happening under one roof, research shows women are doing more housework and chores than men during this time. And with this, mothers are twice as likely to worry about their work performance due to their home responsibilities. A lack of support and the pressure to meet the same expectations as senior-male counterparts is causing burnout and leading women to leave their jobs.
Diverse teams propel business forward
According to McKinsey, an organization's profits and share performance are nearly 50% higher when women are represented in leadership. Beyond just that, women leaders are likely to mentor and sponsor other women and support initiatives that impact employee wellbeing and company culture.
Diversity in the workplace also allows for an open-feedback culture, psychological safety among employees, and increased empathy. When diversity is a priority at the leadership level, there’s a trickle-down effect that impacts recruiting, support groups, and additional D&I initiatives.
So, how do we get there?
Company culture can help
At Anaconda, I am proud our team shapes a culture that values diversity and inclusion. Both female and male mentors and leaders have helped Anaconda get to a place where we have increased our diversity both in applicants and employees over the years. In addition, during my four years at Anaconda, I’ve seen the leadership team evolve. Not only in seeing HR as a more strategic voice on the leadership team, but also in employing our first female company president, Angela Pierce – she’s a rock star!
Our leadership team has invested in diverse talent and programs to support women and individuals of all races, beliefs, and backgrounds. Beyond just a recruiting priority, we’re working to shape a culture of inclusivity. Once hired, we know there is still work to ensure we keep talent engaged, welcomed, and secure. We have a D&I committee with executive participation, virtual employee resource groups, diversity-focused book clubs, and diversity-focused community outreach initiatives like volunteering with Girls Who Code and Breaking the Glass.
This year has provided some exciting and positive milestones for women. Bumble's founder, and fellow Austin woman in tech, Whitney Wolfe Herd, made history for being the 22nd female founder and the youngest to take a company public. Chloe Zhao recently won the Golden Globe for Best Director for the movie "Nomadland," being the second woman ever to win this award and the first Asian woman. And the first female vice president Kamala Harris is the highest-ranking female official in U.S. history and represents the first Black and first Asian-American in the position.
But there is still work to be done. This is just the beginning of ensuring women have a seat at the table. As a woman in tech, I know there is more Anaconda can be doing, but I'm proud of what we have accomplished in this journey so far, and I’m excited to see what we do next.