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Freddie Mac

Freddie Mac: Advancing Women Leaders in Cybersecurity

Below is an article originally written by PowerToFly Partner Freddie Mac. Go to Freddie Mac's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.

Chief of Staff and Senior Director Michelle Bennett is focused on connecting and advancing women in technology, information security, risk and related fields. In this article, Michelle shares the importance of sisterhood in building the next generation of women leaders.

Five years ago, Michelle recognized a gap in the support system for existing and rising women leaders in her sector. "We have women working in tech and various programs across Freddie Mac. We've begun to form certain synergies—but without an umbrella to really unite us." So, she spearheaded a partnership with the Executive Women's Forum (EWF) to not only bring these women together but to provide learning and networking opportunities with thought leaders from around the world.

Forming trusted relationships

When Michelle started her career at Freddie Mac 28 years ago, the landscape for women in tech and risk looked very different. "It used to be less common to see women leaders in security and privacy fields," she says. "It's essential that we take our seat at the table now and bring other women along with us. Women uplifting other women—there is a real need for that in this space." For Michelle, the relationships she developed over the years with her women colleagues can be described as nothing less than a sisterhood. "Women who saw potential in me that I hadn't known was there were building my confidence, pushing me to the next level in my career." Through her own experience, she could see that there was a growing need to provide mentorship for women, specifically in technology fields.

Developing future leaders

Each year since 2015, Michelle has taken the lead of managing a cohort of 20 women to participate in EWF and bringing messages of empowerment back to the Freddie Mac. The partnership with EWF, sponsored by the Office of Inclusive Engagement, provides unique opportunities for members to network and develop leadership skills with specific risk and compliance focus in the information and technology risk space. "Listening to women across the globe describe the challenges they have overcome to be where they are is incredibly powerful and being able to share the softer side of these experiences with one another is invaluable," said Michelle. "These are senior women I know I can call on; I feel honored to be a part of this." Through the benefits of the EWF partnership, members have had the opportunity to participate in several career-building events and programs, including the EWF National Conference, networking dinners, regional meetings with keynote speakers and panelists, peer mentoring, webinar series and more.

Building a network

Promoting the development of women leaders is a priority within Freddie Mac and the primary mission of the Women's Interactive Network (WIN) BRG. In October, the EWF cohort and WIN partnered together to share resources, grow the community of women leaders and strengthen their overall impact within the company. "Other women brought me out of my comfort zone," recalls Michelle. "I would not be where I am today if it wasn't for them."
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How These Companies Are Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

According to a recent study, anti-Asian hate crimes have risen 150% since the pandemic started. But these acts of violence are not new — they are part of a much larger history of anti-Asian racism and violence in the U.S.

That makes celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (which was named a month-long celebration in May by Congress in 1992 "to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants on May 7, 1843 and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869") this year all the more important.

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Emma started her career in the world of telecommunications, moving from IC to team manager, then to contract positions when she had her children and needed flexible scheduling. Now in her current role as an Engineering Manager at payment platform Afterpay, Emma continues to find ways to manage her personal and professional growth, and her family's well-being.

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5 Things All Product Managers Should Do for Their Engineers (And Vice Versa)

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"There are an extensive amount of things that have to go perfectly at the same time," says the former engineer (and current product manager at live event ticketing platform SeatGeek).

It was that interest in understanding how things actually worked that drove Anuja to study engineering—first electrical, during her undergrad in India, and then computer science, during her master's program in the U.S.

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The Secrets to Balancing Work and Family Life

3 Pieces of Advice from Working Moms at Pluralsight

Being fully committed to work and family is a challenge that many working parents have to take on. It can be exhausting and thankless pursuing a fulfilling full-time career, while taking an active role as a parent. Achieving a healthy balance can help keep you motivated and productive at work, while allowing you to be fully present when you're home.

We recently chatted with working moms at technology skills platform, Pluralsight, about their best advice for striking that elusive work-life balance. Here were their key points:

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