*Updated on June 17th, 2021 to reflect Juneteenth officially being named a Federal Holiday in the U.S.*
Juneteenth has been celebrated by African-Americans since the late 1800s, but in recent years (particularly in response to global protests over police brutality and the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and other Black Americans), there has been a surge in interest in the day that celebrates freedom.
Before it became an official federal holiday, many businesses shifted toward marking June 19th as an annual company holiday, creating different initiatives around the holiday and offering employees opportunities to learn, reflect, and take action toward racial equality.
In honor of Juneteenth, we reached out to our partner companies to see how they're honoring Freedom Day. Here's what they said:
Committing to Ongoing Learning– Chainalysis
"Chainalysis has chosen to provide a day off on Friday, June 18 for its employees to free themselves of work activities in order to prioritize reflecting in any way, shape or form they choose to. By providing a company-wide day off, Chainalysis is ensuring that its employees have the bandwidth to commit to ongoing learning and expanding upon the company's DEI initiatives, as that contributes to -a better workplace, and society, for all."
They've also planned the following initiatives for their employees:
- "Hosting a panel discussion, with internal and external guests, around the importance of diversity, Juneteenth and what we can do to help tackle structural inequality, particularly in the fintech/ blockchain/ cryptocurrency space.
- Curating and creating an educational video and newsletter around the significance of Juneteenth.
- Promoting give-back resources and opportunities to Black-owned or focused organizations and foundations that tackle social justice issues.
- Competition to commemorate Juneteenth - whether dish or design - with winners to choose an organization of choice for Chainalysis to contribute to."
A Virtual Artistic Experience and More– LogMeIn
"This year, LogMeIn's Black ERG (BE@LogMeIn) is offering several opportunities to celebrate Juneteenth. First we will come together to view a virtual artistic experience in which three LGBTQIA+ artists of color will share original poems, monologues, and stories. Then we will host a "Storytime" in partnership with our Families ERG for an interactive reading of Juneteenth for Mazie, a captivating story about the history of slavery and why we celebrate Juneteenth as told from parent to child. Finally, we will host an engaging tour of the Black Heritage Trail, a 1.6 mile walk in Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood."
Learn more about LogMeIn here.
Supporting Black Businesses– Ciena
"At Ciena our Black & African Heritage (B&AH) ERG is encouraging employees to participate in a day of service on Friday 18th using their Volunteering Time Off to engage in their respective cities to serve Black and African heritage communities. B&AH has also created a page on Go/Ciena, Ciena's intranet, to share curated content to commemorate the day either by supporting Black businesses, attending virtual Juneteenth events, and educating themselves and others."
Learn more about Ciena here.
Focusing on Reflection– Vouch
"Vouch celebrates Juneteenth by closing for observation on June 18. We encourage our employees to take the day to focus on reflection."
Learn more about Vouch here.
Elevating Black Voices– Collins Aerospace
"In a first-of-its-kind industry collaboration event at the ERG level, the Collins Aerospace African American Enterprise Board (AAEB) and the Boeing Black Employee Association (BBEA) will join forces in an event dedicated to elevating Black voices across our companies. We hope this will be the first of many such industry-wide conversations between our ERGs as we strive for aerospace to be the most inclusive space. In addition, several site-specific events will commemorate and honor the history of Juneteenth and why it is critical for all to remember the day."
Learn more about Collins Aerospace here.
Dream In Color Film Review– NBA
"Dream In Color will host a panel discussion with the forces behind "A Most Beautiful Thing," a documentary film chronicling the history of the first U.S. African American public high school rowing team. As the NBA office is closed in celebration on the holiday on Friday, on June 18th executive producer and NBA legend Grant Hill, director Mary Mazzio and Arshay Cooper, a rower and protagonist of the film, will discuss Arshay's story. This discussion will moderated by NBA TV host, Stephanie Ready."
Learn more about the NBA here.
Reflecting on Our Past, Creating Change for Our Future– Freddie Mac
"At Freddie Mac, we're building on our continued commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion by recognizing Juneteenth as an official company holiday and day of service. The significance of the day will be commemorated with a series of learnings and opportunities throughout the month to engage inclusively while giving back to our local communities, including:
"Day of Understanding" keynote address featuring a professor of African American Studies.
"Building Community within Our Communities" series of virtual community outreach initiatives supporting select non-profits across the U.S"
Learn more about Freddie Mac here.
Speaking to Equality– Netskope
"Netskope observes Juneteenth as an official company holiday in the United States. We have expanded our events that celebrate and observe dates and moments that speak to equality and against racism - Juneteenth being one of many."
Learn more about Netskope here.
Spreading Awareness Across the Nation– Uber
"The United States and Canada will continue to observe Juneteenth and Black at Uber is releasing company-wide communications surrounding the day, its meaning, and celebratory events and activities going on in cities across the United States and Canada that people can support and attend."
Learn more about Uber here.
Lunch and Learn Celebration– AAA
"AAA EXCEL Business Resource Group (BRG): EXCEL will be hosting a "Lunch & Learn" Event to celebrate and discuss Juneteenth. This Freedom Day Event will feature a Meet-and-Greet with the EXCEL Leadership Team, a panel discussion with Executive Leaders, and a fun ending filled with prizes."
Learn more about AAA here.
Virtual Fashion Show– Audible
"Audible's Impact Groups encourage an environment where you can be you. This Juneteenth Audible's Black Employee Network will be celebrating The Style of Freedom and The Freedom of Style! Audible Employees will share pictures in a virtual fashion show inspired by this prompt:
Imagine this: it's Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865. A huge celebration is kicking off. And we're there. What would you wear? It could be historical, cultural, or contemporary."
Learn more about Audible here.
Deepening Awareness and Making Positive Change– S&P Global
"At S&P Global, we commemorate Juneteenth while recognizing that we still have a long way to go to create an equitable society. This year we marked Juneteenth with a formal U.S. company holiday, and provided our people with resources to deepen their awareness of what this day stands for while continuing to make positive change. We will engage our people through educational event programming, brave spaces for open conversations, and our community partnerships. Some planned events include "Making Freedom Pay: What we can learn from the U.S. Reconstruction Era" and "Beyond ESG: Economic Impact of Inequality on Black Women."
Learn more about S&P Global here.
Conversations About Black Investing– Moody’s
"In honor of Juneteenth, we will host several conversations that focus on the Black community and financial services. Our CEO, Rob Fauber and Michael T. Pugh, CEO of Carver Federal Savings Bank, will come together for a live conversation on the state of Black owned banks, "Banking Black," and much more. In addition, DK Bartley, Moody's Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion officer, and Mellody Hobson, President and co-CEO of Ariel Investments and the chairwoman of Starbucks Corporation, will host a session on the importance of Black investing. We will also issue a newsletter that commemorates and educates employees about the significance of Juneteenth."
Learn more about Moody's here.
Driving Equity and Inclusion– Nestlé USA
"We announced last year that Juneteenth, sometimes called Emancipation Day or Freedom Day, would be added as a corporate holiday in the US. Cultural conversations about equality and racial equity brought into focus the importance of this day and we believed it was important to commemorate it as a company. So, our corporate offices will be closed on Friday, June 18th, to allow employees time to reflect on the history of Juneteenth, the meaning of the day and consider their role in driving equity and inclusion at Nestlé and in our communities."
Learn more about Nestlé USA here.
Appreciate the Difference and Be Curious– VTS
"VTS offices will be closed for observance for Juneteenth. We encourage all employees to take the time to live our values of Appreciating the Difference and Be Curious and actively engage in the holiday. While we may have the day off, it is actually a "day on" as the holiday is a crucial day for allyship. We will be sharing some resources to all employees to learn more on how to celebrate and take action."
Learn more about VTS here.
Brave Space Sessions– Okta
Okta is Celebrating Juneteenth through the following initiatives:
- "Celebrating Juneteenth" presentation at company all-hands: The presentation featured historical context on the holiday as well as suggestions for employees to get involved."
- "DIB Lunch and Learn: Fireside Chat with Jodi-Ann Burey: Jodi-Ann will discuss heritage months, how companies can better support employees from marginalized communities, allyship, and intersectionality."
- "Brave Space Session: We will create space for authentic conversations about violence in POC communities and how to channel this energy into something that can build a stronger community within our organization."
- "Ailey Film Screening: For two days at the end of the month we will have the new Ailey film available for viewing."
- "Juneteenth video featuring Black employees from Okta."
- "Newsletter that highlights a few Black employees at Okta and their experiences with Juneteenth during childhood."
Storytelling, Reflection, Empathy, and Action– Seatgeek
"This Juneteenth, we are focusing our programming on four elements - storytelling, reflection, empathy, and action - expanding last year's Day of Service to several days of impactful virtual events.
SeatGeek has also committed to donating $10,000 on behalf of our employees, giving individuals an opportunity to contribute to the fund as well."
Learn more about SeatGeek here.
Celebrating the Legacy of Juneteenth– VideoAmp
"Saturday, June 19 is the 156th anniversary of Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day. Out of respect for and to honor this important day for all African Americans across the country, VideoAmp will observe Friday, June 18 as a company holiday. All offices will be closed, and we encourage Vampers to participate in cultural activities or give-back events to show allyship and support for Black citizens in the communities where we live and work."
Learn more about VideoAmp here.
Honor, Recognize, and Reflect– MongoDB
"MongoDB recognizes Juneteenth as a paid day off for U.S. employees. This year, MongoDB employees located in the U.S. will take the day off on Friday, June 18th to honor, recognize, and reflect on Juneteenth."
Learn more about MongoDB here.
Sharing Thoughts, Experiences, and Resources– BlackRock
"We have several opportunities for employees to reflect on the ongoing struggle for racial equity and observe Juneteenth. For instance, our Black Professionals Network (BPN) in our Delaware Office is partnering with the Global Head of Talent Acquisition, leaders & managers of the Delaware campus to share their thoughts, experiences, and provide resources for hiring diverse talent in honor of Juneteenth. This panel will discuss obstacles regarding the hiring of diverse talent, will touch upon the firm's commitment and current progress, and will also explore how our Black Professionals Network can support with such hires."
Learn more about BlackRock here.
Social Justice Day– Healthfirst
"On June 17, Healthfirst's weekly employee Race & Justice Forum becomes a celebration of Juneteenth, featuring a special presentation of employees from around the company sharing what Juneteenth means to them—it's history, traditions, and future. Members of the Black History Month committee will meet with Healthfirst summer interns for a small group discussion about Juneteenth as well. That Friday the company's intranet page will feature a tribute to Juneteenth, with a primer on its history and information about the company's Social Justice Day, a paid day off to engage in activities or service that positively impacts the community."
Learn more about Healthfirst here.
Showcasing Black Excellence– Relativity
Black Excellence Showcase posters
"Relativity's community resource group, BRel (Black at Relativity) is virtually highlighting black owned businesses via black excellence showcases throughout the week. Our showcases celebrate Black Excellence while educating our Relativity community with bios, fun facts, videos, articles, and custom art celebrating the amazing work of black individuals. Additionally, we'll be encouraging our Relativians to support black businesses via a list of recommendations.
Relativity is also partnering with the Innov-8 leadership team on June 17 to host a webinar highlighting challenges black employees face and how individuals and organizations can work to negate these challenges."
Lamar Jordan – Infrastructure Engineer II & Co-Chair of BRel (Black at Relativity)
Learn more about Relativity here.
Education, Advocacy, Demonstration, and Donation– PagerDuty
"One year ago we introduced our Day for Change initiative on Juneteenth. We recognize Juneteenth as a global holiday and encourage employees to use the time to advocate for equity and critical reform for the Black community. Furthermore, we have grown this annual initiative into a comprehensive quarterly offering. Days for Change involves a strategic delivery of programming, content, philanthropic efforts, and a menu of action items, enabling company-wide activation with four key pillars to create change; Education, Advocacy, Demonstration, and Donation."
Learn more about PagerDuty here.
Inform, Encourage, Reflect, and Engage– ServiceNow
"ServiceNow celebrates Juneteenth this year with a series of employee experiences designed to increase awareness, inform, encourage reflection, and engage.
- A video featuring Black employees sharing what Juneteenth means to them and their Juneteenth family traditions
- Employees globally sharing the music, literature, figure or moment that influenced their understanding of the Black experience
- Dialogue on ServiceNow's $100M investment in Racial Equity fund
- Launch of Black at Now Belonging Group newsletter
- Intersectional opportunity to celebrate LGBTQIA+ artists of color"
Rest and Reflect– GameChanger
"GameChanger observes Juneteenth and honors its historical importance by offering all teammates a paid company holiday. We also are providing teammates with resources to enable them to take the time off to rest and reflect, learn, and/or advocate. Finally, we're hosting a teammate dialogue circle the day before the holiday to provide teammates the chance to learn and discuss why the day is not just an important day in Black History but for American History."
Learn more about GameChanger here.
Sparking Empathy and Acceptance– Elastic
"In order to commemorate Juneteenth, Elastic will be observing this event as a holiday on Friday, June 18th."
"If you're looking for a documentary, start with 13th, directed by Ava DuVernay. It can be challenging to spend a lot of time on the subject of racism — it's very heavy. Ava knows how to get to the core of the metamorphosis of racism. This documentary highlights how slavery evolved from convict leasing to disproportionate mass incarceration and other factors like keeping people locked into the system with GPS monitoring, house arrest, etc. This documentary demonstrates what modern slavery looks like. 13th helps spark empathy and acceptance of black peoples' stories instead of nullifying them."
Destiny H, Prin Web Producer
Learn more about Elastic here.
Amplifying Employee's Voices– Procore
"Procore is observing Juneteenth (or Freedom Day) on Friday, June 18 as a global holiday for all employees. Through Modern Health, our mental wellness program, employees also have the opportunity to attend a webinar to reflect on what Juneteenth is and what it means in corporate America. We are also celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Daring Conversations and Allyship speaker series, which focuses on listening, learning, and amplifying our employee's voices. You can learn more about our ongoing efforts to build a more diverse and inclusive future here."
Learn more about Procore here.
Juneteenth Day of Learning– Facebook
"On Friday, June 18, Facebook is excited to host our company-wide Juneteenth day of learning in recognition of the legacy, excellence, and resilience that drives the immense contributions of the Black community to the world.
Employees can participate in a full day's slate of insightful discussions with notable activists and public figures, including Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Tina Knowles-Lawson, June's Diary and more, who will share perspectives on the history and significance of Juneteenth.
Or employees can take the day off to celebrate in ways that are meaningful to them with a personal Facebook Choice Day.
Externally, our family of apps will tell the story of how Black people use our platforms every day to reimagine freedom through community, personal expression, love, joy, celebration and action."
Learn more about Facebook here.
Do you know how terrorist attacks are stopped?
Military intervention is certainly one way, but Jen Hicks prefers another.
"I really, really believe that the key to preventing terrorist attacks is by cutting off their finances," explains Jen, a senior cybercrime investigator at cryptocurrency compliance and investigation firm Chainalysis.
Growing up in a military family and serving in the Navy herself, Jen has lost friends to war and considers it her life's work to help develop a more humane way of stopping attacks and stemming the growing wave of cybercrime. "I like to think that at least in my small corner, it's making a difference," she says. "That if we're able to stop things from happening without violence, then that's all the better."
We sat down with the veteran, blockchain expert, and steampunk enthusiast to unpack her role at Chainalysis, her personal interest in investigating and stopping crime, and why it's so vital that women continue to join and lead the rapidly growing fields of cybercrime and cryptocurrency.
Falling in love with financial intelligence
Jen was born in Okinawa, Japan to an Okinawan mom and Black American dad and raised between Okinawa Island and Miyako Island. Following in her dad's footsteps and joining the military wasn't her original plan.
"As a high-achieving military brat, doing ROTC and becoming an army officer felt like something I was expected to do," she explains. "But I never took a moment to do any self reflection."
When she did, around age 18, Jen realized she had political reservations about the U.S.'s involvement in the Middle East and decided against enlisting in ROTC. That was an early example of Jen breaking out from other people's expectations for her and building her own path, but it wouldn't be the last.
When she did go into the military a couple of years later, it was because she realized she couldn't afford college and didn't want her parents to go into significant debt to help her pay for it. Inspired by her Marine father, she decided to pursue a more cerebral position and became a linguist, studying Mandarin at the Defense Language Institute.
After working for a few years as a hybrid translator/cyber analyst, looking at sensitive data and combing it for intel, Jen wanted to stay in the Navy and work as an instructor, but didn't get those orders.
She decided to leave the military and look for a civilian job. Not everyone agreed with her decision, but Jen was sure of it. "I knew I'd figure it out on my own. I said, 'I know what I don't want to do, and it's this,'" she remembers.
After being recruited by Booz Allen Hamilton and working as a critical infrastructure analyst, Jen became a threat finance analyst at Leidos, where she got to combine her long-standing loves of cryptocurrency and intelligence.
"I fell in love with it," says Jen. "I saw how financial intelligence is crucial to national security—money laundering, trafficking, terrorist financing, all of that. I thought those were fascinating. So I soaked everything up like a sponge."
Jen had been following cryptocurrency as a hobby ever since she read Satoshi Nakamoto's Bitcoin whitepaper when it was published shortly after Jen graduated from high school. "I can't say that I understood every single thing at the time, but from then on, I was hooked on this idea of peer-to-peer digital currency that was, like, very cyber punkish," she says. She kept her early interest to herself because "it was such an obscure, nerdy topic," she says. But once she realized that she could work in a security capacity, investigating the dark side of cryptocurrency, from the darknet to hacks and scams and more, Jen decided to lean into her interests.
"I made it my life's mission to map how terrorists and violent extremist organizations were using cryptocurrency around the world," she says. But that mission wasn't a business priority for the company where she worked at the time, so Jen started looking for a company where it would be.
That's how she found Chainalysis.
A colleague of hers suggested she apply to the blockchain investigation firm, but Jen wasn't sure she qualified. "I had such a high opinion of them, like 'Oh my god, they're all super smart, they probably talk in Bitcoin addresses,'" she says. "But as it turns out, they really wanted me on board, so I was hired and now I get to indulge in my 19-year-old fantasies of exploring illicit activity as a job."
Jen splits her time doing investigations tied to business priorities—from looking into exchanges targeted by malicious cyber actors to investigating how someone could avoid compliance regulations and launder cryptocurrency to identifying who's phished millions out of people's accounts—and doing the work she considers her "moral responsibility."
That second set of projects includes looking into things like child sexual abuse and terrorist financing. "The spectrum is vast, and it's super, super exciting. In between these cases, I have the freedom to pursue the research that I've been wanting to for the past couple of years now," says Jen. "It's really gratifying."
Some of those leads come from her team's research; others come from law enforcement. Her team has relationships with different agencies, from local to federal. "We provide them with data to track people down and make arrests," explains Jen.
Other leads come from individuals in the community who find people like Jen via LinkedIn or Chainalysis's contact form and ask for help. "People will come and say, 'I was scammed out of thousands of dollars,'" says Jen. "It's almost always part of a larger phishing campaign. So we take that, ingest it into our database, and absorb that information into our research to see if we can find where the money went."
It's that open-ended puzzle-solving that Jen loves so much about her job.
"It's the ultimate puzzle to be solved every time you're given one of these cases," says Jen. They'll start with an address and an initial transaction and will follow transitions in and out of different cryptocurrencies, building a graph of transactions and understanding of what is happening.
Jen has two goals for her work: first, to make cryptocurrency more accessible and safer, and second, to help educate people on how it works to empower them to participate in crypto.
Now is the time to get involved
Financial crimes are here to stay, says Jen, even for people who aren't in traditional finance.
"Let's say you're a social worker or a mental health counselor or provider of some sort, right. And you have an elderly patient who just happens to mention that they've struck up a long-distance friendship online. You're going to have to know what the red flags are for possible scam attempts," says Jen.
And cybercrimes often exploit social vulnerabilities, not just technical ones. Look at the 2016 election, says Jen: "They're able to exploit deep fissures that we've always had here and do some considerable damage." On a smaller scale, criminals are sending phishing emails that look like crowdfunding campaigns which people are less likely to look closely at in their rush to help. "It's a new flavor of social engineering that malicious actors are latching onto," says Jen.
With cybercrime already impacting so many aspects of our lives and soon to impact more—"targeting IOT devices, medical technologies, self-driving cars, NFTs"—it's a prime time to shift into the field, and Jen believes that there's no one 'right' way to make that pivot. You don't have to come from traditional IT or finance backgrounds to make an impact in this space, and if you come from an underrepresented background, that's especially true.
"It's easy to build up that psychological barrier of entry to the crypto community when you see that these huge online communities might be filled with trolls saying derogatory things that are either racist or sexist, or that conversations surrounding cryptocurrencies are being dominated by certain personalities on Twitter, or there are men around you who try to confidently tell you the most contradictory things about investing in crypto. To me, all of that is just noise and you have to block it out," says Jen.
"What I want women who are interested in this stuff to do is just be hands-on with the technology itself," says Jen, who suggests starting by creating a private wallet, understanding how privacy coins work, and learning about centralized versus decentralized systems.
If you're a woman interested in the field, reach out to others! Jen is happy to talk to anyone interested, she says. "People in the field are way, way too happy to talk to you for hours about how it works or how they got there," she says. "Chainalysis is doing a fantastic job of hiring women as investigators, and our director is a woman, and it's really cool seeing the empowerment there and knowing that we're considered the best of the best. But we always want more! So feel free to reach out."
Women have always had a lot on their plates, juggling their professional goals with societal expectations and responsibilities to their families, partners, and communities.
But women have never had a year like 2020.
It seemed like we couldn't go a day without a new national media outlet reporting on just how hard it is to be a woman right now. NPR said it best in their package Enough Already: How The Pandemic Is Breaking Women.
After nearly a year of job losses that have disproportionately impacted women of color, compounding caregiving expectations that have fallen mostly on mothers, and extended isolation, more likely to intensify loneliness for older women, it's hard to imagine how we're going to recover from it all.
But that's exactly what UN Women is hoping to do with their International Women's Day theme this year: "Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world."
That plays into the larger theme of International Women's Day, #ChooseToChallenge, celebrated around the world on March 8, 2021. IWD organizers are asking individuals and companies to celebrate women's achievements, raise awareness against bias, and take action for equality.
Inspired by these themes, we decided to ask PowerToFly partner companies how they are supporting women at work through both longer-term initiatives and March-specific programming for International Women's Day and/or Women's History Month.
Read on and get inspired!
Hosting a Leadership Day — Facebook
"Our Women@ employee resource group is hosting Women@ Leadership Day on Monday, March 8 to bring together women from across the company to celebrate, empower and develop leadership at all levels. This year's theme is 'Lead with Me — Uniquely You, Uniquely Powerful.'
At Facebook, women tap into their unique background and lived experiences to define how they lead. We fearlessly live our mission inside and outside of our company, giving others the power to build community and bring the world closer together. Each woman is uniquely powerful, and together we're an unstoppable force."
Launching a Gender and Finance Hub — Moody’s
"In honor of International Women's Day, Moody's will launch a designated Gender and Finance hub featuring a range of our business offerings, leadership programs and community partnerships that center on promoting gender equality.
In addition, our employee-led Women's Business Resource Group will hold a range of virtual events and activities around the world to celebrate the accomplishments of women and address the barriers women still face in the workplace and greater society. Throughout March, we will profile leading women at Moody's to recognize their contributions and give them a platform for guiding the next generation of leaders."
Spotlight Sessions, Workshops, and a Kudos Board — MongoDB
MongoDB's 2019 International Women's Day event in NYC
"We're actively working to increase representation at every level. This is done through the investment in programs to mentor and accelerate the development of high potential talent to grow into leadership roles, enabling managers to become inclusive leaders, constantly reviewing our processes for effectiveness and fairness, and diversifying our candidate pool through internal initiatives and external partnerships like PowerToFly.
MongoDB is celebrating Women's History Month with a variety of events:
- Spotlight sessions with various internal MongoDB Women's Group speakers who will share their strengths and skills with other members
- A workshop session with four MongoDB women leaders titled 'Being a Woman Leader and Growing Your Career'
- A Women in Engineering panel with two external speakers, highlighting women with successful careers in engineering
- An internal kudos board where women and allies can give shoutouts to their women peers
- Global purple shirt day on International Women's Day
- A women and allies Yoga and Meditation session"
Celebrating the Year of the Woman 2.0 — Freddie Mac
"Freddie Mac supports the development of our community of women by providing opportunities for networking, leadership and career development using internal programming and external organizations that enable us to retain and attract talent. Our Women's Interactive Network (WIN) Business Resource Group is hosting activities throughout Women's History Month that celebrate the resilience and power of women.
- 'Get Out of Your Own Way' workshop featuring author and executive coach, Regan Walsh
- 'Women Surviving and Thriving Covid-19' roundtable with Freddie Mac leaders
- Kick-off series on refining and developing leadership skills with Jacqueline M. Baker, Principal Consultant and Founder of Scarlet Communications"
Challenging Hiring Practices — Elastic
Elastic's Singapore office celebrating the #EachForEqual theme of IWD last year
"We've been working towards wider female representation in leadership positions at Elastic. We recently doubled down on our commitment towards challenging a male-dominated field with our equal pay policy, these internal initiatives, and by filling several senior-level positions with top female professionals.
Elastic is celebrating Women's History Month (WHM) and International Women's Day (IWD) by amplifying female voices throughout the organization. First, we're releasing a variety of content on our culture blog this month including a statement from Leah Sutton, our senior vice president of global human resources at Elastic, on how we're meeting the #ChooseToChallenge in our hiring practices. We'll also release a roundup of recent blog posts featuring our female leadership. Finally, our Elastic Cares team will hold sessions throughout the month to encourage volunteering with organizations that empower women both in the workplace and in day-to-day life."
A Day of Reflection — Chainalysis
"International Women's Day is one of Chainalysis's Days of Reflection (Company Holidays focused on DE&I). To celebrate, the Diversity Committee has planned several events including a panel discussing 'Can crypto help solve gender inequality?', a Linkedin campaign featuring some amazing women at Chainalysis, 'Wear Purple' day, and a Linkedin Power Hour inspired by PowerToFly to name just a few!"
A Holistic Program to Educate and Engage — ServiceNow
"At ServiceNow, we've increased women in leadership (director-plus) by nearly 8% in just three years. We've also been intentional about diversifying our board of directors, which is now 30% women. One of our most effective programs has been our annual Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Leadership Summit). It has brought together new and established female leaders, along with male allies, to learn to combat bias and microaggressions, as well as how to combine caring with candor for powerful conversations.
ServiceNow is proud to be celebrating International Women's Day with our employees globally. We've worked closely with our Women at Now Belonging Group (ERG) to develop a holistic program that will inspire, educate, and engage employees globally, including:
- A series of events focused on dialogue around allyship and intersectionality
- Employee voices from around the world sharing what they will personally 'choose to challenge'
- Featured article in FairyGodBoss on why ServiceNow is a top company for women
- Thought leadership content and blogs shared on our social media channels focused on amplifying ServiceNow's support for gender equity and belonging."
Investing in Talent — Datadog
Female leaders and employees at Datadog's IPO in 2019
Per Armelle de Madre, Datadog's Chief HR Officer:
"In 2020, Datadog was able to increase our representation of women in leadership by 220%. And we're excited to continue building on that momentum in 2021 and beyond. While we place emphasis on better diversifying our candidate pipeline by partnering with organizations such as PowerToFly, we also aim to create an environment of education and empowerment internally at Datadog to encourage female employees to grow into positions of leadership.
At Datadog we are incredibly excited to be co-hosting an International Women's Day webinar event for both employees and external attendees featuring a panel of prominent female Sales leaders from Datadog, Microsoft and OpenView.
Internally, we wanted to promote the intersectionality of gender and ethnic diversity in line with both Black History Month and Women's History Month, and in February we were honored to welcome Margot Lee Shetterly, the author of Hidden Figures, for a Q&A with Datadog employees to learn what drove Margot to tell this story that forever changed the course of computer science at NASA, and inspired the movie of the same name.
In addition, we're excited to be partnering with Bravely for an internal presentation for employees on 'Women at Work,' a fireside chat with Sarah Sheehan and Ericka Spradley, which will be followed by career coaching sessions for Datadog's female employees."
Leading by Design — Deloitte
"We are committed to investing in our women. In November 2020, as part of this commitment, we introduced Leadership by Design, a program aimed at helping professionals shape and advance their career paths at Deloitte. Since its launch, more than 1,200 women across all levels have enrolled in Leadership by Design.
On March 8th, Deloitte will hold a conversation with champions and thought leaders in gender equity around how they each have harnessed their own power to challenge orthodoxies in their respective fields, and the world."
Celebrating with Songs, Speakers, and Support — New Relic
"To celebrate Womxn's History Month, New Relic will be celebrating through various events, social media spotlights, and non-profit donations. The list of events includes:
- Guided meditations
- Movie nights
- Womxn's History trivia games
- Guest speaker events
- Distant disco nights featuring strong womxn songstresses
- Career development in partnership with Dress For Success
We'll also be highlighting our Womxn ERG in the #ChooseToChallenge campaign, supporting Womxn entrepreneurs through Kiva, and donating to Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation."
Global, Local, and Inclusive — Smartsheet
"We're focused on encouraging our employees to stretch and grow within Smartsheet. We're working to launch an internal job board that will provide employees the opportunity to apply for roles before the role is posted externally. We're pairing this work with diverse candidate slate goals for our most senior roles to ensure we have considered diversity of talent. By giving our current employees the first opportunity at our open roles and holding ourselves accountable with representation goals throughout each stage of the hiring process, we're working to grow our talent and ensure that we're reflecting the diversity of our workforce.
Our Women's History Month and International Women's Day celebrations will be global with local tailoring:
- Sharing: Creating a montage of responses from employees on "women who inspire"
- Creating community via creating groups of women and gender minorities (3-5 people) to build bridges and support
- Creating opportunity for our employees to share an area of expertise via a TED-style internal talk
- Bringing in external perspectives: Hosting speakers on gender-equality topics
- Local (Australia): Panel of women (internal and external) across levels and experiences to share their journey"
Pushing Toward Equal Representation — Relativity
From Relativity's International Women's Day celebrations in 2020
From Relativity's CHRO, Beth Clutterbuck:
"Relativity is intentional about recruiting women in tech, particularly leadership. In 2020, we added two women to our Executive Team, one to our Board and one as the Managing Director of APAC, one of our fastest growing customer regions. We've continuously made a conscious effort to hire more women, especially in Europe where tech skews heavily to men. We increased our women headcount in Poland by 10%, and in EMEA broadly, we now have nearly equal gender representation at 49% women (22% increase YoY). Relativity aspires to reach its global goal of 50/50 gender representation in all roles by 2024."
From Relativity's Tricia Johnson, Program Manager, Field Marketing:
"Workplace (RelWoW) Community Resource Group will celebrate International Women's Day and Women's History Month with a full slate of programs during March. We offer various programming to engage employees in the ways they respond best. This year's programs include:
- An internal panel highlighting diverse career paths within Relativity
- An external recruiting panel on mentorship
- Multiple channels to discuss what International Women's Day 'Choose to Challenge' means to individuals
- A book club featuring a book by Samantha Kirby
- A blog highlighting key milestones for women in the legal industry
- A BadAss Women of History virtual tour"
Developing Early- and Middle-Career Women — CSL Behring
"A core component of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives includes a focus on the recruitment and development of gender diverse talent. Not only do we have female representation goals established for our Board, Executive and People Manager roles, but we also have multiple programs or initiatives focused on developing our female entry-level and middle management talent through formal leadership development and mentoring programs to increase women's representation in leadership.
At CSL Behring we are encouraging, developing and showcasing our female talent around the globe through various panel discussions, seminars and messages. Notable events include:
- Women in Leadership Panel discussions where senior female leaders will share their career experiences including lessons learned and advice for others who are looking to advance their careers.
- Video of leaders sharing messages on the advancement of women and recognizing IWD.
- Sponsorship of multiple IWD partner events providing networking and development opportunities for females in leadership and STEM, as well as programs directed towards engaging men to advance women in leadership through allyship."
Launching an ERG for Women’s Success — OfferUp
"Female leadership is important at OfferUp. As part of our DEI plan, we track several metrics including our promotion activity and our goal is to increase the amount of women promoted every year. Our plan also includes the launch of our first employee resource group, Women In Tech, which will educate, enable and empower women at the company through learning opportunities, mentoring experiences and employee support.
For Women's History Month, we are promoting the success of our women employees and hosting education and recognition events for our full staff, including:
- On International Women's Day, a Women in Leadership speaker panel featuring women leaders from the Puget Sound who will talk about their leadership journeys
- A launch event for the Women in Tech employee resource group
- Weekly education on prominent women in history in our all-company newsletter
- Women in History themed all-company trivia competition"
Looking at a Post-COVID World for Women — Raytheon Intelligence & Space
"Raytheon Intelligence & Space believes we are stronger together. We are focused on critical areas to increase women's representation in leadership by removing barriers to advancement, delivering purposeful development and targeted retention. We deploy conscious inclusion programs and practices to drive outcomes and attract talent. We also mitigate bias in job postings and interview questions.
In celebration of Women's History Month, Raytheon Intelligence & Space will be sponsoring and participating in the California Conference for Women, and sharing career advice from our executive team with employees. We will also be hosting a webinar focused on women in STEM, the challenges facing women in the COVID environment and the changing workplace in a post-COVID world. In addition, our Raytheon Women's Network Employee Resource Group is hosting a series of employee-focused events to commemorate the month."
Listening to Women's Stories — CallRail
"In honor of Women's History Month and International Women's Day, CallRail is accepting this year's challenge through their ERG, the Women's Circle. With a full week dedicated to celebrating the progress women have made in tech and challenging the road ahead, The Women's Circle is looking inward to celebrate the success of women at CallRail and the unexpected paths that led them here.
Through a virtual, company-wide Q&A panel, we'll listen to the stories of women in all positions of leadership about how they made it to these roles - from the hurdles to the triumphs and everything in between."
RiseUp and Mentor — Dassault Systemes
"Dassault Systemes has made a public statement promising to reach 30% Women People Managers by 2025. To reach this goal, a new program called RiseUp has been launched in order to accelerate women's leadership and empowerment. Currently, a high-performing group of women have been identified and are being coached and mentored in preparation of becoming people managers.
- This year the UN Women's theme is 'Choose to Challenge.' We are challenging our employees to take action for equality and have launched a social media campaign internally and externally.
- We are hosting a series of webinars highlighting our internal Women Leaders. We had a fireside chat with Michelle Ash, CEO of our GEOVIA Brand. We learned about her views on the mining industry, women leadership, and inclusion.
- In our EURONORTH Geo, a Diversity Week is being held and will include Unconscious Bias training."
Hosting Employee Panels and Breakout Groups — VTS
"VTS has made a consistent and conscious effort to increase women in leadership roles by having a promote-from-within culture, and ensuring that the company has access to coaching opportunities to get them to the next step in their career. Currently, women in leadership positions at the company make up almost 40% of that group—and it's on the rise!
VTS is hosting a panel of our employees on March 10, moderated by our Interim Head of People Margaretta Noonan, who is a member of the advisory board for the Global Summit of Women. Going along with this year's International Women's Day theme of 'Choose to Challenge,' we are hosting different breakout groups after the panel. These sessions aim to have our employees learn how to challenge themselves in order to invest in their personal brand, unlearn bias, and support women in work and life."
Cheersing to Women’s Success at Afternoon Tea — dv01
"At dv01 we have several women in leadership positions, including COO and VP of Sales, and have continued to promote women to management positions. We provide our team members with increasing responsibility and give them space to take ownership of their projects. Additionally, we pride ourselves in offering a flexible work schedule, which allows our team members to work around life's many challenges. We continue to acknowledge the hard work of women and motivate them to grow within the company.
For International Women's Day at dv01 we'll be hosting a Women's Day Party starting with a morning yoga session and a virtual afternoon tea! Throughout the month we will have several events geared toward women and female empowerment, including women's history month trivia, virtual viewings of films either directed by women or with strong female leads, and other events which highlight accomplished female writers and artists."
"Following the Sun” with Events Around the World — Ciena
"Women@Ciena is hosting a global event to celebrate International Women's Day on one continuous Zoom. Kicking off in Singapore, this year's global event will 'follow the sun' to each region, from APJ to India to EMEA and to the Americas, with unique events being hosted in all regions and live handoffs taking place in between – All in Together!
We will have exciting surprise guests including a four-star Navy Admiral to hear her thoughts on diversity and experience a live cooking demo to inspire heart healthy lunches amid our Zoom-filled days.
Also, we will offer breakout sessions like: Your Career Path is a Journey – Are You Navigating?, Choose to Challenge, Taking Grit to a New Level, Owning your Personal Brand, among others.
The day will close with an all-star Ciena panel with members from our Leadership team, highlighting the importance of allyship."
Celebrating a Culture Where Everyone Can Thrive — Autodesk
"Autodesk is proud to celebrate Women History Month by hosting a series of events. Autodesk Women Network (AWN), one of the company's many ERGs, is pleased to kick-off the month with a fireside chat featuring Herminia Ibarra to discuss diversity, authentic leadership, belonging, and the important role we all play in making Autodesk a place where people of all gender identifies can thrive. Furthermore, we have coordinated a series of talks, workshops, and a belonging circle on Belonging and Authentic Leadership. We are excited to kick-off March events and celebrate women globally! #Autodesklife"
Honest Discussions on Supporting Women — LogMeIn
Women around the world continue to be dramatically impacted by the shift in how we work. At LogMeIn, we believe we each have a responsibility to challenge gender bias and inequity in the modern workforce and find creative ways to seek out and celebrate women's achievements, especially in a remote environment. Join us on March 24th at 11:00 a.m. EST for a discussion about this year's WHM theme: explore why women need our support now more than ever, and what you can do to support women in this new flexible working era. Register here."
Coaching Circles and Leadership Forums — NBA
"The NBA's Women's Network conducts a series of year-long coaching circles. Circles are small groups of 10-12 women who want to connect, learn and grow together. This is a safe space for women to connect and share experiences and also build new skills together. This year's theme is Finding Personal & Professional Success in 2021 and each circle will meet virtually 6 times during the year.
The NBA is also hosting the 3rd Annual Women's Leadership Forum, a gathering of women from the league office and NBA, WNBA, G League, 2K League and Basketball Africa League teams. At this year's forum, we will celebrate champions and changemakers who will lead discussions that empower us to inspire one another, break down barriers and learn from our collective experience to achieve our full potential."
Leading by Example — Bumble
"Bumble is a women-led company that has an equitable gender representation within our C-suite with 54% comprising of women. Furthermore, 73% of Bumble's board is made up of women. At Bumble, we truly value cultivating a culture that's rooted in kindness, respect, equality, diversity, inclusion, and growth. This means that from the very beginning of the hiring process, we actively seek diverse candidates and our careers page strongly encourages people of color, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and non-binary people, as well as individuals with disabilities to apply.
Bumble is excited to celebrate Women's History Month this year through the following lineup of programming for our global team:
- International Women's Day Kickoff: Team members will be invited to participate in their #ChooseToChallenge social campaign by sharing their commitment to gender equality throughout their social channels.
- Throughout the month, we will host interactive events that will foster community by inviting amazing guest speakers from organizations such as PowerToFly to share why fast-tracking gender equality is essential to prosperity for all, to a panel event featuring women in leadership at Bumble about the importance of community connections and women lifting up other women."
Building a “Foundation for Progress” — Procore
"Procore is a people-first company, and we remain committed to our vision of improving the lives of everyone in construction––regardless of race, gender, background, or otherwise. At its core, our vision is founded on inclusion, with a focus on enabling every person at Procore, and in the industry, to do their best work. We have revisited our employee calibration practices and focused on hiring a workforce with more women and people of color. We've also taken steps to educate our leaders by offering mentorship and training opportunities.
As part of International Women's Day and Women's History Month in March, Procore is organizing several activities to celebrate the achievements and contributions of women in the construction industry and beyond. We recently hosted an external webinar on the future of Women in Construction as part of our series 'Foundations for Progress.' Our employees and industry professionals were invited to join construction leaders as they took stock of the progress women in construction have made and the work that still has to be done. This month, we're publishing a number of thought leadership articles to provide guidelines, stories, and anecdotes that inspire action. Read more about the impact of Procore's Women in Construction efforts."
Leveling Up Skillsets — uShip
In our weekly company newsletter, we highlight different events going on in our local community as it relates to Women's History Month, that employees can attend, watch online, or read about."
Sourcing Talent from Within — Primer
"When we have an open leadership role, we intentionally source women candidates either internally or externally. We know we'll be growing and women in management positions now will be in senior leadership positions in the future. We are also building relationships between our employees, and women leaders on our Advisory board. We know mentorship is important for women as they take on leadership roles.
We are engaging with the women of Primer to understand what would be most meaningful for them. Some of the ideas we are considering are swag celebrating women at the company, events with women leadership mentors, and virtual luncheons."
Intersectional Empowerment — S&P Global
"In celebration of Women's History Month and International Women's Day, S&P Global will highlight employee testimonials internally and externally in addition to feature programming with women thought leaders. Our Employee Resource Groups play an integral role in our employee engagement. This month we are partnering with WINS: Women's Initiative for Networking and Success and BOLD: Black Organization for Leadership & Development to welcome esteemed speakers Lola Akinmade Akerstrom and Baroness Floella Benjamin to speak to our employees on the theme #ChooseToChallenge."
Video to include: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmJgm4AxmeA
Honoring a History of Women — T. Rowe Price
These pioneers brought invaluable skill sets and unwavering commitment to the firm.
Isabella Craig handled statistical calculations and accounting before becoming the Secretary of the corporation and a client counselor. Early associates credited her talents as a major influence on the quality of the firm.
Marie Walper managed administrative duties during the firm's formative years. As the firm grew, she remained Mr. Price's personal assistant and sounding board. She also helped codify the firm's ethics and served as treasurer.
We pay homage to our history as we honor women at the firm today."
Intentional Hiring & Promotion in Leadership — VideoAmp
"As a People First organization, we believe in promoting from within as our default to accelerate career growth. This philosophy has resulted in several promotions to leadership and executive roles for the women in our workforce, most recently in the Engineering department, Client Success, and on the Revenue team.
Our diversity partnership with PowerToFly has been beneficial in bringing more interest, attention, and active applications for roles at VideoAmp by women interested in the adtech space from around the country. Most recently, we welcomed a highly talented woman in a leadership role on our Engineering team, a department that historically has lacked a strong female presence, and we expect to continue this effort as a priority. We celebrate and seek out those with unique experiences to further a culture of belonging and innovation. Our business is growing and this means we expect the opportunity for women to grow at VideoAmp. Together we rise!
- Embrace wellness is a core value at VideoAmp, and to honor and celebrate the women in our workforce, this year we're hosting a wellness practitioner to take us through a guided mindfulness practice focused on self-compassion and self-care, from the unique perspective of women in the workplace. Our goal is to give back to the women who contribute everyday as a means to celebrate and give thanks."
We asked 30+ women how you can make 2021 your best year yet.
Resolutions are one thing. Goals are another.
How do you move from vaguely hopeful statements about what 2021 will mean for you personally and professionally to thoughtful plans that are likely to come to fruition?
You set good goals. Specific goals. Goals that tie back to your values, goals that can be tracked, goals that make you excited to get out and start working towards them.
We asked 32 incredible and accomplished women about the advice they'd share with anyone looking to make 2021 their year. Here's what they had to say!
1. Make goal setting a ritual.
Sure, a new year is just a change of date, an arbitrary way to mark time. But if we create meaning around it, it can become something else entirely. Carmen Kelly, Training & Development Team Leader at Quicken Loans, likes to see it as a real beginning. "I enjoy embracing the fresh, new year with hope of what could be, and a huge part of that is goal setting," she says. "Having goals in life is essential. Even creating goals for different areas of your life is key. This can help with making sure you are balancing out all critical aspects of your life that are most important to you."
Starting with reflection can help make sure that your goals are well-connected to where you are mentally, personally, and professionally. "I always start with reflecting on my past to gain better understanding of myself," says Ankita Patel, Principal Software Engineer at Clarus. "What my capabilities are versus what I really foresee myself doing in next quarter or so. It allows me to see where I stand, what difficulties I have faced, and to shift my perspective from doubting myself to believing in myself. It forms the baseline of starting fresh and helping me plan for my future."
For Jess Tsai, VP of Business Operations at VTS, the ritual of goal setting begins with a long journaling session. "I reflect on the last year and rate myself on a scale of 1-10 for how happy I am in these ten areas: health, emotional/mental, relationships (friends/family), love/romance, service, learning/personal growth, experiences, spirituality, career, and finances," she says. "In the areas where I scored lower, I reflect on why. Then I go through each area and write out in detail what my life would look like if I scored 10 in each area, and try to visualize that life and feel like I'm already there. Depending on my scores and what's most important to me right now, I set some intentions for where I want to focus for the year."
2. Build around your values.
Disparate goals scattered across different aspects of life aren't as likely to motivate you as one set of goals that coalesce around a theme, says Jac Le, a Senior Territory Sales Representative at Autodesk. "Whether or not you're conscious of it, values are the foundation of goals, dreams, character, and decision making," she says. "Instead of creating New Year Resolutions, I create a Theme that I want to focus on for the year, which is based on my values. It can be a word or phrase. From there, every goal set throughout the year is measured in alignment with that Theme to ensure that my goals are an expression and enhancement to my values instead of a stressor to check off."
If you're having trouble thinking of a good place to start from, or naming the values that drive your everyday life, Dipabali Chowdhury, a Learning & Development Specialist at MongoDB, has advice that can help. "The more self-awareness you can build, the more specific your goals will be and the more motivated you will be. Sometimes, we set goals without understanding what's important to us. We follow someone else's compass instead of our own," she says. She suggests asking yourself reflection questions: "When I was happy at work, what contributed to that joy? When and why was I frustrated at work? What mindsets held me back from achieving my goals this year? What challenges did I overcome? What are my natural strengths? What skills, knowledge, or behaviors do I want to build in the new year?"
Claire Lucas, Senior Manager, Services Operations at Elastic, suggests beginning with an end vision in mind. "I work backwards," she says. "I journal about my vision for the end of the year, trying to think about it uninhibited from any constraints. I then focus on creating a declaration for myself that will help me break through to reach my goals. The declaration ties together who I am today, and who I need to be in the future to fulfill this goal."
3. Consider making personal and professional goals in harmony.
You might have personal goals that are completely unrelated to what you do at work. That's okay! Great, even. But you do need to make sure that they are complimentary at least so far as how they'll be achieved, says Lee Ann Mangels, Senior Director of Program Management at Clyde. "Your personal and professional goals have to be somewhat aligned. If you decide to improve your time management in the new year, it will only work if the practice or process you start applies to your home and work life," she says. She gives an example: "Several years ago, I started taking 30 minutes on Sunday afternoon to review the week ahead. What meetings do I need to prepare for? What are we having for dinner? Do I have to coordinate any personal appointments for our family? Investing 30 minutes on Sunday has been a game changer for me."
4. Start big, then whittle down as needed.
Being aspirational when you make your goals is key—but so is creating a practical plan to achieve them. "I always try to look at the bigger picture [when goal setting]," says Beatriz Alvarez, Talent Acquisition Sr. Analyst - Recruitment Events Lead at Lockheed Martin. "I try to set a long term goal that seems impossible, making sure it is measurable, down-to-earth, and real—and most importantly, that it is motivating. Once I have my eyes on the prize, I strategize by setting up a group of smaller goals that will help me achieve it."
That being said, it's important to not lose sight of those aspirations, either. Amanda Fennell, Chief Security Officer at Relativity, has advice for finding the Goldilocks moment between too-easy and too-hard goals, finding the just-right pace where you're pushing yourself: "You never know how far you can go unless you set stretch goals. If I only set goals that I knew I could ace, it would be stacking the deck. I want to know how far I can push myself and in taking this approach, I have achieved some pretty amazing things. As Captain Marvel says: 'Higher, further, faster.'"
Yasameen Raissinia, APAC Commercial New Business Manager at Smartsheet, is a fan of the stretch goal, too. "I always like to push myself either personally or professionally to hit smaller attainable goals that add up to a big audacious goal. For example, I always try to set the goal of getting to the Presidents Club which typically has a goal post of 130%, which is massively difficult to achieve. In order to get there, I try and break down my weeks and my quota to overachieve, and try to give myself smaller goals around numbers of accounts, or contracts I close per week, helping me get to the major and impressive goal!" she says.
Bridget Barrot, Chainalysis's VP of Customer Success, has a three-step framework for getting that balance right. "The best lesson I've learned about setting goals is they need to be simplistic, realistic, and strategic," she says. "Simplistic: It's important to find things that are easy to measure, so that you can regularly assess them. Anything that requires too much work to analyze will set you up for failure. Realistic: Stretch goals are important, but it's also important to be practical about what you can complete in any quarter or year. When they get too lofty or too numerous, it's easy to just give up on them all together. Strategic: It's important to differentiate between goals and a 'to do' list. Goals can be a mix of big and small things, but they must be grounded in results rather than just a list of tasks to check off."
5. Write goals down.
"We're all familiar with the numerous studies that underscore the correlation between writing down our goals and our ability to achieve them," says Shavit Bar-Nahum, Senior Vice President of Leadership Development at Moody's Corporation. "The bottom line is, if it's not documented, it's less likely to happen, you are less likely to hold yourself accountable, and it's much easier to slip back into old habits and behaviors. So whether you are embarking on a new opportunity, learning a new skill, or increasing your sales objective, write it down. And not just for yourself. From documenting it in a system of record to creating a visual reminder for yourself, capture your goals in a way that you and others can see your intentions and can support you on your journey."
Going beyond writing down goals can help, too. Mary Kay Evans, pymetrics' Chief Marketing Officer, recognizes the power of writing down her own story: "One of the most challenging and rewarding exercises for me was actually writing out my story. Not goals in a bullet point list, but rather in a story format as though it's already happened. I began the year 2018 by writing the story I wanted to tell by January 2019. It was a narrative looking back on my accomplishments and challenges faced and how exactly I overcame them. By being vivid and specific, like a good narrative requires, I really had to bring my vision of the year ahead to life. It went beyond simply listing my goals to describing outcomes and how I would experience them. This preparation made all the difference as 2018 was a year of tremendous growth and accomplishment for me. It works!"
6. Find a way to track your goals over time.
The many women we talked to had different ways of tracking, but the unifying thread is that each had found a way that worked for them. Alisa Cash, Director of IT Solution Delivery at BCBSNC, sums up the key approach: "Do not set a goal that cannot be measured. This does not have to be an emphatic measurement (such as achieving 100% on time delivery = x; 90% on time delivery =y), although the more you can do this, the clearer resources tend to be."
For Sarah Morningstar, Ph.D., Data Researcher at Primer, breaking her goals into timely metrics helps. "I have found that I am more likely to achieve my goals if they include specific and actionable metrics; otherwise, it is hard to determine if I am successful," she says. "For example, one of my goals for 2021 is to practice more yoga. However, the term 'more' is vague and difficult to know when I have achieved it. Instead of more yoga, I decided I wanted that to mean that I will practice yoga at least two times per week. Over the year, I need to practice 104 times or 26 times per quarter to be successful. Each quarter I work backward from 26, I do more some weeks, and others it's less. I allow this flexibility because I know that being a mom and a working professional, I can't always control my schedule."
Amanda Sternklar, Marketing Director at State Listings, agrees, and notes that she checks in on her progress every week: "The most important thing for me is ensuring my goals are measurable, through metrics directly related to my own activities. That means that if I want to increase our blog following in the new year, my goals would look something like 'Create 3 original blog posts each week' and 'Be a guest contributor on 10 blogs in 2021.' That way, I can create a tracker—mine is a physical page in my planner, but there are also various apps that help with this—to see my progress at a glance. I review my tracker on the first Monday of each month to make sure I'm on track and figure out any steps I need to take if I'm not."
Amy Luo, Senior Product Designer at Lattice, likes identifying specific behaviors that she can easily keep in mind. "Be specific and focus on actions or behavior when defining your goals," she says. "Try setting a number you want to achieve or a completion date. It'll help keep you on track and you can clearly measure your progress toward the goal over time. For example, if you want to work on your writing skills, a general goal like 'Become a better writer' would be too vague and difficult to measure. A specific and actionable version could be 'Write for 30 minutes every day' or 'Publish an article every month.'"
For Stacey Chase, Senior Manager Internal Audit at Siemens, adding a visual element to her goal metrics is what keeps her on track. "I use a Kanban board on Trello to plan and organize my activity," she says. "In my first column I list my goals for the year and assign them a color. As I work on things throughout the year and add tasks I tie them back by color to the goal the effort is in service to. This helps me multiple ways. First, it is a visible reminder I see daily or weekly of the goals I have set. Second, I am constantly tying back my efforts and time spent back to my goals. Third, it gives me early warning that my goals or my efforts may need to be reevaluated if I find most of my energy is spent on things other than my goals."
7. Don’t keep your goals to yourself!
Many of the women we spoke to highlighted how important it is for your goals, personal and professional, to exist outside of your own head. "Be sure to share your aspirations with others and ask for feedback along the way—don't assume your supervisor knows your near and longer-term plans," says Wyetta Morrow, Executive Director, Human Resources at Raytheon Technologies. That's particularly true for goals that can be advanced at work, she notes, adding, "Our career journey includes a village and it helps to have others that can advocate for you when you may not be present."
And there's no need to limit that sharing to just your manager—what about all of the other people that care about you and want to see you succeed? Janet Higgins, Vice President of Regional Sales at Ciena, suggests broadening your circle. "Build a support group around you. Share your goals and your thinking with your trusted mentors and friends. Actively think about who you can leverage in this way. Chances are they would be more than happy to reciprocate. Seeking the perspective of people outside your industry who only have your best interests at heart and are willing to give you straight honesty is pure gold," she says.
8. Considering making your goals three-dimensional.
Writing down your goals is a classic approach, but if you have a creative bent or are a more visual learner, maybe going a step farther and making a concrete representation of your goals will help you focus on them. "Try creating a vision board that includes pictures and words of the mini goals and milestones you want to focus on to help you achieve your bigger picture goal," says Gursharn Dhami, Senior Global HR Business Partner at Stack Overflow. "If you make it visible, you may just feel more accountable to accomplish what you've envisioned for yourself!"
Brooke Kaylor, Program Manager, National Security Group at Primer, agrees with the power of seeing your goals around you. "Visualize it. Decide what it is you want to do and make it so real you can touch it, see it, taste it. When I decided to change my career completely, I put things into my workspace that reminded me of where I wanted to go. Articles, photographs — anything that kept my focus on my goal," she says.
9. Tackle the hardest things first—if that’s possible (ribbit).
There's an argument to be made for starting with easy wins, but Laura Ripans, Datadog's Director of Channels & Alliances, won't be making it. "Get the important things done first," she says. "For me, this is early in the morning when I have no distractions. Stay focused and concentrate on the things that matter most." She suggests reading Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy. "There's an old saying that if the first thing you do each morning is eat a live frog, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you're done with the worst thing you'll have to do all day. For Tracy, eating a frog is a metaphor for tackling your most challenging task—but also the one that can have the greatest positive impact on your life," she says.
As it turns out, Claudia Petrocchi, Executive Director of HR Operations for CSL, is a big fan of the frog approach, too. "Years ago, someone shared a Mark Twain quote with me: 'If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first.' This quote clicked with me—it's so visual that it really helps me. Normally I would wait the whole day and think how awful this frog will be. But now, I'll eat the frog right away. For years I had a sticker of a frog on my laptop. So, if I had that crazy email or that crazy project, that would be my frog."
Sasi Murthy, VP, Product and Solutions Marketing at Netskope, has a visual trick to help you remember to keep that big, hard goal front and center: "Invest time in thinking about what you want to achieve, not how you will do it. Then find a jar and place a big rock or a few that represent these goals inside, and fill the rest with smaller rocks. This will be a reminder that we are most effective at anything we set out to do, when we give it the space in our 'mental jar' first, and follow it with the smaller goals."
That being said, make sure the hard thing you're going after is even possible. For Shelly Anderson Bodine, a Chief of Staff at SoftwareONE, remembering that she's operating in an environment where she can't control everything is key. "I once had a leader tell me you needed two things to get promoted," she says. "First, a position had to be available, and second, you had to be ready for the role when it was available. That feedback has always stuck with me throughout my career. I realized I really only had control over the latter. So each time I would move into a new role, I gave myself 6 months to acclimate. At that point, I evaluated what I could do to be better than the next person in the role I have and where do I want to go next. From there, I would create a list of things that would bring me closer to my end game, narrow down to the 2-3 most impactful, and those became my goals."
10. Goals aren’t set-it-and-forget-it.
If you set goals in January and ignore them from then on out, your chance of marking them "achieved" at the end of the year is low. "Try not to think of goal setting as a yearly activity," says Sarah Burke, Senior Director of Software Engineering at Ciena. "Achieving goals requires continual review and reassessment of priorities. Book some personal time in your calendar once a month to remind yourself to check in on how you're progressing and hold yourself accountable for re-adjusting. You are responsible for your success!"
11. Go beyond a 12-month horizon.
Many of the things you're most interested in—be it becoming a VP, launching your own company, writing a book, finishing an advanced degree moving to a different country, or any other number of goals—might not happen in just one year. Tami Early, VP and General Manager Sales—Major Accounts at Ciena, suggests breaking down your goals into "digestible and achievable bites." She uses the VSEM method: setting a 5+ year vision, a 2-4 year strategy, a 12-18 execution plan, and 12-month rolling metrics. "This method of goal setting allows me to think about my long- and short-term objectives, while holding myself accountable to measurable outcomes inside of a year," she says.
12. Treat yourself with grace.
You won't achieve all of your goals, and that's okay. As Megan Sykes, Contracts Manager at Elastic reminds us, "Don't set overbearing expectations on yourself. Afford yourself grace. While it's important to progress personally and professionally, we have to be adaptable to the circumstances around us (which can change over time) and live with integrity."
That's never been more important than after the year 2020. "I'm very goal orientated both personally and professionally," shares Amanda Eleuteri, a Sr. HR Business Partner at CarGurus. "Early on in my career, I would feel defeated if I didn't achieve my goals for the year. I try to be mindful that sometimes a goal is not achieved because priorities change. That was certainly the case in 2020 as needs in the business evolved and what I was focusing on shifted in response."
NSA's Meredith D., PhD, echoes the importance of revisiting, and revising, your goals: "Your goals are not meant to be set in stone! There are several factors that can require them to change, even dramatically at times. Be flexible and willing to change your SMART goals. Sometimes we can foresee that the goal is not going to be achieved in our original timeframe. Or we change our mind completely! This is not a failure. It is an opportunity to reflect and revise the goal given the new information at hand."
After all, it's about the journey, not the destination. "The process of working toward a goal is often more important than achieving the goal itself," says Stephanie Cheng, Product Engineer at Folsom Labs. "The shape or timeline of your goal can change as long as you check in with yourself and continue to consistently work toward them. It's okay if you don't achieve your goal on the first try. Working toward goals is really about building the muscle memory to form slightly better habits each year. With consistency, patience, and positivity you can build the tools you need to succeed."
Think you may want to work with one of the incredible women highlighted here? Check out open roles at the companies mentioned:
- Apply for open roles at CarGurus
- Apply for open roles at NSA
- Apply for open roles at Folsom Labs
- Apply for open roles at Autodesk
- Apply for open roles at Clyde
- Apply for open roles at Lockheed Martin
- Apply for open roles at Relativity
- Apply for open roles at Smartsheet
- Apply for open roles at VTS
- Apply for open roles at MongoDB
- Apply for open roles at Chainalysis
- Apply for open roles at Moody's Corporation
- Apply for open roles at pymetrics
- Apply for open roles at BCBSNC
- Apply for open roles at State Listings
- Apply for open roles at Lattice
- Apply for open roles at Siemens
- Apply for open roles at Raytheon Technologies
- Apply for open roles at Stack Overflow
- Apply for open roles at Primer
- Apply for open roles at Datadog
- Apply for open roles at CSL
- Apply for open roles at Netskope
- Apply for open roles at SoftwareONE
- Apply for open roles at Ciena
- Apply for open roles at Quicken Loans
- Apply for open roles at Clarus
- Apply for open roles at Elastic