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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."
Zapier Inc

How Zapier Director of Compensation Jocelyne Wright-McLemore Is Tackling Imposter Syndrome as a Black Woman in HR

Jocelyne Wright-McLemore has a sticky note that she looks at every day: "I'm overqualified and I can do this."

Zapier's Director of Compensation put that sticky note up shortly after she rolled out a big new project at the online automation company and received some critical feedback on it. Though the criticism came from a tiny portion of her audience and the project was a success overall, hearing it brought back some of the self-doubt and imposter syndrome that she faced earlier in her career.

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Webinars

Meet PowerToFly's 2021 Diversity & Inclusion Award Honorees

This past February, PowerToFly was very proud to wrap up the panel portion of our recent Diversity Reboot 2021: The 100 Day Kickoff virtual summit by presenting our very first Diversity & Inclusion Award Show, honoring some true D&I champions across multiple industries

Back in 2020, we launched a submission process to honor select individuals who just don't talk the talk but truly walk the walk when it comes to making their companies and the world a more diverse and inclusive place. From the many submissions that we received, we chose six champions to honor.

You can watch the acceptance speeches for our honorees below or click here to watch the 45-minute awards show which included a roundtable discussion with our six DEI champions.

Want to nominated a friend or colleague for a future D&I Award? Submit their info here.


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popular

How These 30 Companies are Celebrating Women's History Month in 2021

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.

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Career Advice

How Hopin’s CCO Knew a Startup Environment Was Right For Her—and Two Questions to See If It’s Right for You

If there's a thread that connects all the different facets of Rosie Roca's life, it's the power of bringing people together.

From how she was raised, to how she got her first job, to the decision to leave enterprise software to take on her current role as the Chief Customer Officer at fast-growing events technology platform Hopin, a focus on community has helped to guide Rosie's decisions.

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