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.
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."
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.
As we reflect on recent events and how they fit into a much larger history of discrimination, we're also taking time to celebrate and acknowledge the many achievements of the AAPI community.
We asked several of our partner companies what they're doing to honor AAPI Heritage Month at work, and we were inspired by the range of responses, covering everything from campaigns to #StopAsianHate to educational events on AAPI history.
Here's what they're doing, in their own words:
Empowering authenticity - LogMeIn
"Our theme this year is AIM to Be Real. We are embracing our new company values and celebrating those who bring their authentic selves to work, who help create space to celebrate diversity of thought, and who give back to the API community. Our Asian ERG, Asians in Motion (AIM), is hosting several events: a discussion about bringing your authentic self to work with Jerry Won (Dear Asian Americans podcast); a refugee-led virtual cooking class; ERG Movie Club discussions featuring Bollywood films, and a virtual volunteer event where we will offer career development mentoring for young women across Asia."
Learn more about LogMeIn here.
Educating on current events — Raytheon Technologies
"Raytheon Technologies is honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with an enterprise-wide global town hall event – Real Talk: Building CommUNITY Together. Organized by the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) employee resource groups across the company, employees will share their personal experiences and discuss ways to support Asian American Pacific Islander communities. The event will also feature prominent leading advocates from renowned civil rights organizations to provide insight into the national context surrounding recent events. We will also feature AAPI employees internally and on our social media channels."
Learn more about Raytheon Technologies here.
Encouraging awareness, growth, and learning — Moody's
"Moody's is encouraging awareness, growth, and learning during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with the following activities, led by our Multicultural Business Resource Group and DE&I team:
- Weekly newsletters featuring AAPI employee profiles and cultural resources
- Video screening and small-group discussions supporting #StopAsianHate
- Cultural panel discussion featuring employee stories
- Professional development activities
- External speakers speaking about Asian leadership"
Supporting professional development — Freddie Mac
"Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month at Freddie Mac – Together, We Are Stronger
Freddie Mac supports the professional development of Asian and Pacific Islander employees while promoting an increased awareness of the value they bring to the organization and our local communities. Our InspirASIAN Business Resource Group is hosting various activities throughout the month such as:
- Personal development session on empowerment led by a coach from our Employee Assistance Program.
- "Stop Asian Hate" lunch and learn geared toward discussing the hurdles facing the AAPI community.
- Fireside chat about racial injustice with leaders from our InspirASIAN and ARISE (employees of the African diaspora) BRGs."
Fostering inclusion, learning, and belonging – Nestlé USA
"At Nestlé USA, the Pan Asian Network (PAN), one of our many employee resource groups that support our Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion initiatives, will host a variety of events to honor and acknowledge Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. These activities will foster greater inclusion, enhanced learning, and belonging for the AAPI community. PAN will highlight women's development in Asian cultures, Asian leadership and what their culture means to them, culinary innovation of Asian cuisine, intersectionality of LGBTQ+ and Pan Asian community, as well as an enhanced learning watch party of the PBS movie 'Asian American.'"
Learn more about Nestlé USA here.
Promoting cultural literacy – Relativity
The Community Resource Group at Relativity
"For Relativity, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is an opportune time to not only celebrate the rich AAPI cultures represented within our company, but to also foster awareness and allyship amidst the current rise of AAPI hate. RelAsians, our internal community resource group, has organized a few activities for May: a book club focused on AAPI heritage—because we feel it's never too early to gain cultural literacy, a weekly spotlight on AAPI Relativians, and a virtual event that takes attendees on a tour through an Asian grocery store, introducing native vegetables and staple ingredients for traditional home-cooked Asian recipes."
- Contribution from Neha Pant, Sr. Performance Engineer & Angie Ocasek, Sr. Specialist, Partner Enablement – Co-Chairs of the RelAsians Community Resource Group at Relativity
Learn more about Relativity here.
Creating transformative experiences – Facebook
"At Facebook, our APIs employee resource group's mission is to create transformative experiences for all APIs at Facebook, Inc through key cultural awareness and engagement highlighting the API community. To kick off APIHM, we will host a series of events and conversations for the community and its allies designed to support the API community around the theme, The SUM of Us, including:
- Letting Others In: a mindful discussion series that privileges intersectional voices, storytelling, feedback, and vulnerability as tools for building empathy and inclusion amongst organizations.
- Racial Healing Learning Session: specific to the API Experience focused on naming of experiences and emotional responses, understanding the body's responses to racial trauma, what the audience can do in the moment for self-care, and long-term strategies to overcome the effect of the traumatic experience.
- Bystander Training/self Defense Workshop"
Learn more about Facebook here.
Extensive and exciting programming — 2U
"At 2U, Inc. we'll be honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with extensive and exciting programming coordinated by our employee-led Asian Pacific Islander Network (APIN). In a year marred by exceptional challenges APIN has centered activities around the ameliorating themes of joy, culture and wellness. Be it delighting in a ukulele mini concert, reading an interview highlighting an API coworker, winding down after too much screen time with a somatic healing session or engaging in a panel discussion with API tattoo artists, we have a packed month ahead with opportunities to support oneself and the API culture! Follow along @Lifeat2U on Instagram for more!"
Learn more about 2U here.
Amplifying voices and educating others – Smartsheet
"During APAHM, the API at Smartsheet community will be hosting several events and activities to educate others, amplify AAPI voices, and celebrate the AAPI community! We plan to kick off the month with a documentary viewing and discussion to learn about AAPI history, and hope to share personal stories from our AAPI employees throughout the month. We'll end with an opportunity for the community to celebrate itself by gathering together for fun and games, while eating food from local Asian-owned restaurants."
Learn more about Smartsheet here.
Rising together in sports and culture – NBA
"For Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, APEX is proud to present a multitude of celebratory activities, headlined by an NBA Family Virtual Town Hall and, with the NFL and MLB, an Asians in Sports & Culture Symposium themed "Together We Rise" featuring prominent Asian personalities from the sports world. We are also launching a PSA with an NBA star, honoring Eid-al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan, offering a bystander intervention training led by AAJC, and – because the celebration wouldn't be complete without food – hosting a sushi making class for our members."
Learn more about the NBA here.
Creating courageous conversations – Commvault
"This May, we are celebrating all our Asian/Pacific Islander employees, not just Asian Americans. We will spend the month learning about and celebrating the diverse cultures of Asia through weekly events and activities led by our Multi-Culture ERG. Vaulters and external guests will teach us the history of practices such as yoga, origami, and Asian cuisines. We will also discuss topics like the rise of hate crimes against Asian people and the recent spike in COVID-19 in India. These activities and courageous conversations will engage our workforce and create support for our Asian and Pacific Islander communities around the world."
Learn more about Commvault here.
Honoring history through virtual events – Collins Aerospace
"Collins Aerospace supports our AAPI colleagues not only in May, but all year. Our parent company Raytheon Technologies hosted a virtual Town Hall last month to provide a safe space for open dialogue about recent events targeting Asian Americans in the U.S. In addition to this entity-wide event, our Asia Pacific ERG at Collins is hosting events that educate and honor the importance of Asian Pacific American history such as virtual Lunch & Tours spotlighting South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, and India; and Thoughts & Support sessions. Site-specific events include virtual cooking class, and viewing PBS docuseries Asian Americans."
Learn more about Collins Aerospace here.
Highlighting new perspectives – MongoDB
"MongoDB will share daily historical facts, highlights of Asian American pioneers, and perspectives from our AAPI employees in a dedicated Slack channel. We will also be providing access to an Asian Pacific American Heritage Month webinar, organizing a trivia night, and holding Processing Together sessions for our internal AAPI community due to recent hate crimes happening across the globe. These sessions are a safe space for employees to share their stories and sentiments of what it is like as an Asian American in America today. (Read MongoDB employee Monica Lu's story about being an Asian American woman in tech here.)"
Learn more about MongoDB here.
Spotlighting diverse communities – Bumble
"At Bumble, moments like heritage month celebrations are often our anchor to ensure we are spotlighting diverse communities. In alignment with AAPI Heritage Month in May, Bumble is rolling out a series of thoughtful programming to encourage internal education and around how to support the Stop Asian Hate movement and better serve the Asian community globally. The lineup of initiatives include:
- BuzzWord DEI Discussion Series with featured guest speakers: This conversation will focus on the Asian community within the context of larger cultural issues such as dating app experiences, fetishization, masculinity, and representation.
- Bumble will be inviting employees to join a virtual Vietnamese coffee-making class. Created in partnership with Phin Bar, an urban brew-bar that offers Vietnamese-style steeped coffee combined with house-made ingredients, Bumble hopes to facilitate a deeper cultural learning and community bonding experience for the team.
- Bumble will also be activating channels across social media and our product to educate our community about bystander intervention and raise awareness around the importance of supporting the Stop Asian Hate movement."
Engaging in daring conversations – Procore
"In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month in May, Procore recently organized an internal event to recognize and support the AAPI community. The event was hosted as part of our ongoing internal speaker series, 'Daring Conversations & Allyship,' to create space for an open dialogue around diversity, inclusion, and belonging. All employees were invited to tune in as employees from our AAPI communities shared their unique experiences, addressed anti-Asian hate, and discussed actionable ways to support our AAPI community."
Learn more about Procore here.
Taking action to foster change – SeatGeek
"This month the POC ERG will be meeting and hosting different activities to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This includes creating a safe space to discuss current events, and what actions our communities can take to foster change, sending out a newsletter which will highlight the Asian community in every aspect, and lastly, we will be hosting a guest speaker.
We hope with these planned activities and meetings, we can highlight, and uplift the Asian/Pacific American community, as well as bring awareness to the horrible ongoing attacks they are facing."
Learn more about SeatGeek here.
Uplifting and inspiring the community – Okta
"Okta's People of Color (POC@Okta) ERG is planning to commemorate AAPI Month with a series of fireside chats and iconographical facts posted internally in the #poc and #all diversity Slack channels! These chats will feature Dion Lim of ABC7 News and Comedian/Actor, Ronny Chieng. We will conclude the series with a partnership with Pride@Okta featuring supermodel, TED speaker, and transgender advocate Geena Rocero. The goal of this series is to educate, uplift, support, and inspire! The Okta leadership supports its AAPI employees, customers, and community."
Learn more about Okta here.
Empowering cultural diversity and leadership – Quip
"Salesforce will be celebrating through multiple virtual events, such as a leadership panel on the power of cultural diversity, a tea tasting, a tai chi class, a haka workshop, and more! Members of the Quip team have also compiled an extensive list of resources to support AAPI communities, including ways to donate, take action, and learn more."
Learn more about Quip here.
Focusing on lived experiences – Mindbody
"The Mindbody United ERG focuses on a different heritage or history each month, with May devoted to Asian & Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This ERG seeks to provide a platform to both celebrate and learn together. This will manifest in two ways: As a newsletter and a Zoom meeting. The newsletter will feature contributions directly from team members, while the meeting will feature Assembly member Evan Low as our speaker. It is our goal to focus on the lived experiences of the AAPI community, address discrimination, and how to chase after the part of the world we can make better."
Learn more about Mindbody here.
Promoting harmony and unity – T. Rowe Price
"T. Rowe Price is aware and appalled at the recent spike in hate crimes against the Asian community. In response, the firm will center Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month efforts around harmony and unity, in alignment with the Hawaiian value, Lōkahi – Forward as One. To share best practices, successes and areas of opportunities, T. Rowe Price will co-host a Leadership Panel on Asian Leadership Challenges with Baltimore Asian Connect, a consortium of Asian business resource group leaders at local corporations. The firm will also host a book club and restorative listening circles for Asian American associates and their allies."
Learn more about T. Rowe Price here.
Celebrating Asians globally
"May is Asian Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month. Although traditionally a US celebration, at Autodesk we are celebrating Asians globally. The Autodesk Asian Network is hosting Innovative Leaders, including Lori Mukoyama and Jonathan Zee. Lori Mukoyama is redefining experience-driven design globally at Gensler. Jonathan Zee has an extensive portfolio of buildings that are helping to shape cities around the world at Goettsch Partners. Lori and her husband Jonathan combine design, architecture and engineering in their work while simultaneously manage a family together during this pandemic. This event is hosted by AAN, as part of a monthlong series of APA Heritage Month events."
Learn more about AutoDesk here.
Arezoo Riahi isn't a big fan of the "fake it till you make it" approach. She'd rather ask for the help she needs and learn from it.
Autodesk's Director of Diversity and Belonging joined the design software company from the nonprofit world after a long career in connecting people from different cultures. While her work had been deeply rooted in DEI values, there were certain parts of the strategy-building aspects to her new role that she wasn't sure about.
"If you know it, show up like you know it. If you don't know it, you shouldn't fake it. And Autodesk didn't shame me for not knowing everything. They helped me, and the entire team, by providing the resources that we needed, bringing in outside expertise to help teach us when we were in new territory," says Arezoo, who has been at Autodesk for three years now, during which she's been promoted twice into her current role.
We sat down with Arezoo to hear more about her path into DEI work, what she thinks the future of that work must include, and what advice she has for women looking to build fulfilling careers, from knowing what you don't know and beyond.
Inspired to bring people together
Mocorro, France, Switzerland—though Arezoo grew up in the Chicago area, she didn't stick to just the U.S. when it came time to pursue her education. International internships and study opportunities confirmed the perspective she had growing up: people are more alike than they are different.
"My parents are immigrants from Iran, and I was born in the United States. I saw the benefit of having exposure to a different culture, a different language, different food and rituals, and I was fascinated by that," says Arezoo. It was spending a summer in Mocorro that really sparked her passion for equity, she adds. "I realized for the first time that while we have so many different experiences as individuals, our commonalities are actually much more prevalent."
Arezoo took that focus on bringing people together to the Institute of International Education, where she led the TechWomen program, partnering with different companies to bring 100 women from 23 countries to Silicon Valley for mentorship.
One of those companies was Autodesk. Long before they reached out to offer her a role to join their DEI team, Arezoo got an up-close look at how the company worked, and she was impressed. "I realized that there was a real magic about the people at [Autodesk]," she says. When she was offered the role, it was the people that made Arezoo excited to take it: "I felt like the work I was hoping to drive would stick."
Pursuing positive impact
In moving from the nonprofit to the corporate world to pursue a career in DEI, Arezoo was driven by a conviction that she could make just as big—if not even bigger—of an impact on equity and belonging in that setting.
"I knew that the impact corporations can make on their people and outside of their walls is significant," she says. "And the beauty of working in a corporate setting is that because we are revenue-generating, we're not relying on outside funding to make that impact. There's more agency in designing what that impact looks like."
Arezoo has made that impact across different DEI verticals, from mentorship to employee resource groups to analytics to communications. Along the way, she's picked up new skillsets and strengthened her capabilities as a leader in this space.
Right now, as Director, Arezoo's focus has come full circle, expanding Autodesk's DEI efforts on a global scale. "We're taking a closer look at all the countries we are located in," she says. "The word 'diversity' doesn't mean the same thing wherever you are, and we are looking towards an expanded global approach which would diversify representation and ensure a strong sense of belonging both within and outside the United States."
4 tips for building your career
Arezoo is excited about where she is in her career and what she's working on. She has a few pieces of advice for readers looking to find similar fulfillment:
1. Know what you don't know. As referenced earlier, Arezoo is comfortable admitting when she needs a bit of help. Instead of bluffing your way through, says Arezoo, asking for help can show that you're self-aware and ready to learn.
"You have to be willing to go where you might not know," she says. "In some companies it's like, well, you've got to know everything before you walk into that position. Not at Autodesk. They saw my skills, they saw my potential, and they continue to invest in me despite the fact that I haven't necessarily spent my entire career in the DEI space. That is really powerful when you're trying to grow your career."
2. Embrace a growth mindset. This means believing that you can change, and putting in the work to do so.
Arezoo uses the example of a failed relationship to explain what she means: "You can walk away from it and be like, 'Everything was that person's fault, and I couldn't handle it anymore, and I walked away.' But for me, it's also been about, 'What did I do wrong? What did I do to contribute to this relationship that didn't work?'"
In her personal life, when friends told Arezoo that people can't change and that that's why relationships end, she pushed back. "I refused to believe that. I think I can be better. In order to not have a failed relationship, there are things about me that I can do better or differently," she says.
The same goes for work: failure happens, and with that comes an opportunity to learn. "If you don't have a growth mindset, you will never do your best work. You will always be limited by yourself," she says.
3. Take control of your own progress. "A lot of times, people wait for things to fall in their lap," says Arezoo. "It's not worth it. Start thinking about where you want to be in five years, and recognize whether or not the path you're currently on is going to get you there."
In her own life, for example, that's meant speaking up when team changes would've left Arezoo with a job she wasn't excited by. By taking control and sharing what she wanted, Arezoo was able to land on a happy medium that worked for everyone. "You have to see yourself as a collaborator, particularly in things that are going to impact your own career," she says. She also suggests saying yes when you can - which will be even more challenging as we experience the social stressors of navigating a post-pandemic world - and being willing to try lots of new experiences.
4. Tell your own story in a way that serves you. Ready for a meta reflection? The way this profile is structured—focusing on Arezoo's background seeing value in diversity, following her as she realized she could make an even bigger impact in that space in the corporate world, and including advice for other people to find their own paths to fulfillment—comes from the way that Arezoo has learned to tie together her background into a cohesive story that resonates with employers.
"You can have experiences that may not feel like they're in any way connected, but you can connect them yourself," she says. "I started my career in international development. Then I started doing outreach and recruitment. Then I did information sessions, then selection panels. How are those things connected? Well, what I learned in international diplomacy about building mutual understanding is the foundation of my own philosophy related to diversity and belonging."
"You can have a defined path for a while," adds Arezoo, "but the rest of it is ambiguous. Don't worry about how it's all going to take shape. Just get the inputs, get the different experiences—you can tie it together later."
Get an inside look at the interview process for sales roles at LogMeIn, one of the largest SaaS companies providing remote work technology, from Michael Gagnon, Senior Manager of Corporate Account Executive Sales.
Listen in for actionable tips that will help you ace your interviews. Spoiler: one of the most important characteristics the sales team hopes to see is someone who brings their authentic self to the interview! They also look for motivation and, of course, sales skills.
Don't miss Michael's take on the importance of encouraging allyship from a leadership position and his efforts to do so as a leader within LogMeIn's Pride employee resource group.
Are you interested in joining LogMeIn? They have open roles! To learn more about them, click here.
How Being an Open Member of the LGBTQIA+ Community Has Helped Procore’s Alex Zinik Overcome Imposter Syndrome at Work
Alex Zinik wasn't surprised that she started her career in education—she decided she would become a teacher when she was just in third grade.
She was surprised while working as a paraeducator in the school system and preparing to become a special education teacher, she discovered that it didn't feel quite right. "I didn't know if that's what I really wanted to do," she recalls.
So a friend suggested she take a job during her off summers at construction software company Procore. She thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try out this new challenge, and if she needed to, she could go back to the school district once the summer was over.
"Five summers later, I'm still here!" she says, smiling. "And I see myself here for many more years. I just fell in love with the company, the culture, and with the career growth opportunities I was presented with."
As part of our Pride month celebrations, Alex, currently the Senior Executive Assistant to the CEO at Procore, sat down with us to share how a common fear—the fear of being found out—underlay the imposter syndrome she felt when pivoting to an industry in which she lacked experience, and the anxiety she often felt before coming out to her friends and family about her sexuality.
Read on for her insight on overcoming negative thought patterns, being yourself, and paying it forward.
Recognizing patterns when working to fit in
Alex first learned about imposter syndrome—an internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be—a few years ago. She was immediately struck with a sensation of feeling less alone—of recognizing that there was a name for what she'd been experiencing on the job.
"Imagine being part of a group where you're told your whole life that you're not good enough, or that you don't fit in, because of your skin color or your sexuality," she says. "It's so important to understand that we're not suffering through this alone. Imposter syndrome is way more common than we think it is, and it's so important to be open about it."
As she read more about it, Alex recognized signs of imposter syndrome in her day-to-day work: feeling shy presenting her work to stakeholders or avoiding using technical terms for fear someone would think she didn't know what they meant.
"I realized I would try to shove the thoughts down and avoid putting myself in certain situations at work," she says. "That was actually a lot like how I used to treat my sexuality before I was open about it. And I realized that I was putting so much brain power into not being found out—and that I could put that brainpower elsewhere. That's what's helped me get where I am in my career today. Because if pushing down those thoughts and ignoring them didn't work with my sexuality, why would it work now with my career?"
Leaning in to opportunities to be herself
Two mentors have played a big role in guiding Alex's career thus far.. First is Suzanne Mayeur, Procore's VP of Special Projects. She hired Alex, gave her her first stretch project (collecting data on improving the company's shuttle and parking services), and guided her through her first promotion into a travel role. Michael Denari, Procore's Director of Procurement, also supported her career growth at Procore. He taught her how to run Excel reports, gave her opportunities to present to executives, and supported her pursuit of project management certification.
"When I was a kid in high school and college, I didn't really ever have that passion for what I wanted to do," says Alex. "I never studied harder for anything in my life than I did for that project management test!"
She passed on her first try, and enjoyed working in program and project management within Procore's procurement team until Suzanne reached back out with an opportunity to support Tooey Courtemanche, Procore's CEO.
"It was so scary to think about," says Alex. "I was really comfortable in my position in procurement and I felt like I was in a really good place in my career." The imposter syndrome she'd dealt with earlier in her career almost kept her from taking the job. "I spent a lot of time asking, 'Am I good enough? Do I have the right qualifications? Will everybody find out that I only have teaching experience under my belt?'"
But Alex remembered what she had learned: that she had power over her own thought patterns, and that she could redirect them. "I said, 'I am good enough. In fact, I am going to use what I've learned to accomplish more and continue to grow in my career.'"
She took the job, and now loves all aspects of managing the office of the CEO—especially the opportunity to study Tooey's leadership style.
"I spend day in and day out with him. And one thing I admire is that he never changes based on his audience," says Alex. "He's the same Tooey we all know whether he's talking to a new hire he runs into in the parking lot or whether he's talking to investors on Wall Street. He's himself, he's proud of who he is, he's open about his story. He embraces who he is and he's authentic, and that's a good reminder."
Creating opportunities for others
In Alex's past jobs, she didn't feel comfortable being out as her authentic self. "My coworkers would assume I was straight...I would try to blend in and stay under the radar. I used to get extreme anxiety whenever one of my coworkers would ask me personal questions. Because how could I tell them about the awesome weekend I just had with my girlfriend?" she says.
That's not the case at Procore. She's been out since she joined the company. "As soon as I stepped foot in Procore, I was like, 'Oh my gosh, I can be out here; I can say 'my girlfriend and I'; I don't have to hide who I am.' Everyone was so welcoming and so supportive," says Alex.
Now, Alex is working to make sure that Procore stays a safe and supportive place for everyone. She's spoken about Pride on Procore's All Company Update calls and currently serves as the co-chair for Procore's PRISM (Pride Raising Awareness, Involvement, Support, and Mentoring) employee resource group for LGBTQIA+ employees and allies. With PRISM, she helps host events and create volunteer opportunities, and partners with other ERGs, including Procore's African (Descent) Council, to support allyship across identities.
As part of Procore's June Pride month celebrations, Alex is hosting a Daring Conversations episode about the never-ending process of coming out, and celebrating with virtual events across Procore campuses. Personally, she's celebrating her first Pride with her now-fiancé (Alex's girlfriend recently proposed to her!).
"I want my fellow LGBTQIA+ employees to know that not only am I part of this community, but I'm an ally to them. If I can do my part by being out and open, I want to; I want to promote psychological safety as much as I can, and make a positive impact where I can," she says.
If you told Paula Manchester that you weren't good at math, she wouldn't believe you.
"That's a global indictment," she says. "'I'm not good at math' implies that you don't have the ability to nurture that muscle. And then I'd ask what kind of math? There's a lot to math."
Instead, she'd introduce you to a growth mindset perspective: "Try 'I have not yet been exposed to differential equations. Let me open the book and start studying, let me get access to teachers and tutors who can help me understand this, let me begin to practice,'" she says.
"A growth mindset says, 'There's nothing that I can't do. It's just that I need to learn how to do it, I need to practice doing it, I need to have the right circumstances in order to achieve this goal.'"
Throughout her long career as a leader in healthcare and pharmaceuticals, Paula has leaned on her growth mindset when approaching new challenges, expanding into new responsibilities, and understanding her mistakes. (Because yes, even an expert leader still makes mistakes, and cultivating a growth mindset means there's endless opportunity to learn from them!)
We sat down with the Senior Director of Global Commercial Development at global biotech firm CSL to learn more about how Paula's growth mindset shows up in her life and her work.
Determining her path towards growth
When Paula entered Stanford as an undergraduate, she thought her next academic stop would be medical school. She started down that path, taking psychology classes where she first learned about concepts like the growth mindset.
Instead, she got an MBA at Northwestern.
In between those two educational experiences, Paula determined what kind of life and career she wanted to have.
It was during an internship at a historically Black college's medical school that made her realize that she didn't need to be in the room with patients in order to positively impact their experience. "My eyes were opened to the ecosystem of healthcare," she says, "and I realized it would probably be a tighter match between some of my interests in terms of how people make decisions. I knew I could make meaningful contributions without necessarily going to medical school."
Following her interest in how patients were informed about their health, Paula pursued a career in marketing and communications, working at Merck and GSK before taking on her role at CSL Behring. Now she leads the marketing strategy in the transplant space, partnering with the company's R&D team to bring potential new therapies for those patients into the world as regulatory-approved products.
"It's exciting because it means that patients who have been through so much might not have to worry about losing their kidney, going back on dialysis, and maybe even having to go through years and years of waiting for yet another kidney transplant," she says of an investigational treatment in development that aims to address antibody mediated rejection of transplanted organs like kidneys. "The work that we do every day means that somebody can hold on to that very precious gift of life that they've been given. That brings me energy every day. It gives me inspiration. It also allows us to be very clear...there's no question—we know we're impacting patient lives."
Growing with others
Business school was the first time Paula really had to learn to be effective through others. "You learn how to drive performance under very tight circumstances in order to produce a high quality deliverable as a team," she says.
Those skills served her well in her post-MBA roles, and have been especially useful now that she's at CSL Behring.
She accepted her current role for two reasons: first, she believed in the company. "When I got a chance to come to CSL a couple of years ago, I was thrilled because of what this company stands for. A lot of companies talk about being patient-focused, but this company lives it; it's woven throughout our DNA," says Paula.
Second, she was intrigued because the role came with a whole new set of responsibilities—and a new group of people to work with and through. "I was attracted not only because of the work, but also the challenge of a larger remit," says Paula. "I knew that I could work across boundaries, not just in my particular swim lane of marketing expertise, but to be accountable for leading a cross-functional team."
She was immediately proven right: her new responsibilities were significant. "People will laugh and say, 'What you wish for, you get,'" says Paula, smiling. "I wanted a larger remit, and that came to me in spades. There's just so much to do, which has taught me a lot about prioritization and flexibility."
Paula credits her ability to stay calm in the face of so much change with her growth-focused outlook. "Every experience I have is an opportunity to learn," she says. "As opposed to setting up a particular decision or opportunity as 'either I will fail or I will be successful,' every event is an opportunity for success because it's framed as an opportunity to learn."
4 ways to incorporate a growth framework into your own life as a leader
Paula has specific tips for anyone interested in becoming more effective by approaching opportunities with a growth mindset:
- Learn to listen well. From being able to pick up on subtle cues in meetings to unlocking coworkers' participation by making them feel heard, Paula says much of her success in seeing challenges as opportunities—and helping others do the same—comes from listening. "Quite frankly, given some of the issues that we're dealing with in contemporary America, I think that there's probably plenty of room for increased listening skills, right?" says Paula.
- Get comfortable reflecting in the moment. "Part of the growth mindset is the notion of not being perfect," says Paula. "There's always an opportunity to get better and better. By reflecting, you can ask, 'How specifically can I get better?'" Paula often will do a quick debrief with herself after conversations and meetings to reflect on how she conducted the conversation, how she listened, how flexible she was, and what her outcomes were. "Reflecting can be very, very powerful," she adds. "As a Black woman in corporate America, it's especially important because of the pressure to be excellent in everything we do. But for everyone, especially in 2021, with what we've been through this last year—COVID, disparate access to healthcare, social distancing, working remotely, the global nature of all this disruption. There's an opportunity to think about what we just went through as a society and to ponder what the lessons are."
- Practice long-term reflection, too. Paula leads after-action reviews for her team each quarter where she asks four questions: what happened, what worked, what didn't work, and why. "It's not a complex tool, but it enables you to remove the emotion, and reveal more of the concrete data. You can leverage the observations of others to provide that perspective that you may not be able to see as a team member," she says.
- Read, learn, and share. If you consistently seek out opportunities to learn something new, whether in the pages of a book or in a classroom or just from a peer, and then you go out of your way to help others based on those new insights, you're well on your way to practicing a growth mindset, says Paula. "Open your eyes and look around—there's somebody who needs [what you have to offer]."
Interested in growing alongside Paula and her team? Learn more about CSL's open roles here or click here to join an upcoming virtual event with Paula and other women leaders at CSL this Thursday, May 27th!