You've met some of them—maybe they're your family, friends, classmates, or coworkers, or perhaps you identify as neurodivergent yourself.
You may have recognized that some neurodivergent people are exceptionally skilled, excelling in things like pattern recognition and mathematics, and that those skills deserve to be celebrated, as the Harvard Business Review did in their report "Neurodiversity as a Competitive Advantage" in 2017.
But whether highlighting the significant contributions that neurodivergent employees have made or just honoring who they are as people, we wanted to take a moment this April to share some ways that industry leaders are marking World Autism Awareness Month.
We also want to acknowledge that Autism Speaks, the organization that began World Autism Awareness Month in the 1970s, has had a complicated relationship with the autism community. (Here's a good guide on that context.) We recognize that some prefer to celebrate Autism Acceptance Month, or to align with other organizations' World Autism Awareness activities, like the UN's.
However you decide to "Celebrate Difference"—the Autism Society of America's theme for April 2021—this month, PowerToFly and these 9 companies are celebrating right along with you!
Sharing inclusivity, not stereotypes, at Raytheon Technologies
"Raytheon Technologies and our Raytheon Alliance for Diverse Abilities (RADA) Employee Resource Group (ERG) is committed to trying to bring focus on invisible disabilities, as they are among the most misunderstood. Autism/neurodiversity isn't a mental illness and we recognize how important it is to bring awareness, be inclusive of everyone and avoid stereotypes. During Autism Awareness Month RADA is featuring a multi-regional presentation about Autism Awareness & Acceptance, as well as neurodiversity overall. The presentation is focused on educational information, including what Autistic people want in terms of inclusion and meaningful work, as well as dispelling common misconceptions."
Learn more about Raytheon Technologies.
Hiring a world-class workforce at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
"The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency recently launched the Neurodiverse Federal Workforce (NFW) pilot program, a collaborative effort between NGA, MITRE, and Melwood. The NFW pilot aims to help government agencies hire neurodiverse talent for U.S. Federal Government agencies. 'NGA mission success is contingent on a world-class workforce with a wide diversity of opinions and expertise,' said NGA Deputy Director Dr. Stacey Dixon. 'Neurodiverse talent can bring new perspectives to the NGA workforce and make important contributions to the mission.' The pilot is a great learning opportunity for NGA to continue to grow and improve our first-class workforce."
Learn more from the podcast "The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency Takes Workforce Diversity In A New Direction"
Learn more about the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
Supporting each individual's preferred environment at Elastic
"We distribute anonymous surveys that allow anyone, including neurodiverse folks, to address potential barriers that we should address.
Our accessibility working group acts as an employee resource as well as an equity-seeking team that works to create and develop a disability inclusive workplace at Elastic.
The majority of our Elasticians work from home. Our hope is that this empowers neurodiverse employees, including those who may be on the spectrum, to have more control over their environment so that they can manage noise and light sensitivity, control their personal space, and manage their own schedule to reduce anxiety."
Learn more about Elastic.
Pioneering neurodiversity at Freddie Mac
"Freddie Mac values the insights and different perspectives that result from employees bringing their authentic selves to work. Our Office of Inclusive Engagement works with several organizations to identify qualified candidates, consider them for suitable roles and pair them with mentors who can help them adapt to an evolving new normal. In 2020, we evolved our neurodiversity internship initiative into a more robust training, education and hiring process called 'Neurodiversity at Work' to directly place candidates with Autism Spectrum Disorders into full-time roles."
Learn more about Freddie Mac.
Decoding inclusion at MongoDB
"MongoDB supports the neurodivergent community through interview accommodations, providing new hires the opportunity to select equipment and denote special requests, and onboarding checklists broken down into useful sections. To raise awareness about neurodiversity in the workplace, we have a learning and development (L&D) platform which has content on collaborating with different working styles. Our L&D Program focuses on building skills in managing teams inclusively. We also host Decoding Inclusion, a series of events aimed at building community and sharing foundational knowledge about D&I topics, including neurodiversity, to further our understanding of differences."
Learn more about MongoDB.
Encouraging allyship at Folsom Labs
"At Folsom Labs, we are passionate about building a culture of acceptance and inclusion. Our goal is not just to spread autism awareness but to strive to be allies and elevate the voices of those with disabilities. Now more than ever, this is important as many are facing the added weight of mental health and wellness challenges due to the pandemic. Encouraging allyship throughout the community and building a culture where everyone can thrive are at the forefront of our current initiatives. We are proud to celebrate Autism Acceptance Month — to set a stage where we can celebrate our differences and continue to create a space of inclusion and support."
Learn more about Folsom Labs.
Recruiting for diverse problem solvers at Dell Technologies
"Dell's Neurodiversity Hiring Program provides professional development training, internships, and full-time career opportunities for neurodivergent job seekers. The program rethinks the traditional interview process by removing barriers that may limit an individual from fully showcasing their skills and capabilities. Additionally, program participants benefit from job coaching and mentorship provided by our community partners and True Ability ERG members.
A variety of critical positions across the company have been filled through the program. In doing so, we are bringing in diverse perspectives for problem solving that have helped us differentiate ourselves within the marketplace all while cultivating a culture of inclusion."
Learn more about Dell.
Supporting professionals with autism throughout their talent journey at Deloitte
"At Deloitte, everyone contributes to our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Our inclusive culture, empowers all of us, including those with diverse abilities, to connect, belong, and grow. Deloitte's Autism@Work program supports our professionals with autism throughout their talent journey. A customized, autism-friendly assessment process helps draw out our candidates' strengths. Our employees have an internal Coach, an Onboarding Advisor, and access to external job coaching. Our Onboarding Mentor/Buddy Program pairs professionals with autism with other Deloitte colleagues/allies. Through Neurodiversity Training, our professionals can help support and manage our differently-abled professionals. We also have our Abilities First Business Resource Group for people with disabilities plus allies."
Learn more about Deloitte.
Sharing stories to support awareness at Lockheed Martin
"Lockheed Martin shares employee stories internally to help others understand Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and hosts internal events to support ASD awareness and education. The Able & Allies business resource group, whose mission is to build an environment that empowers employees with disabilities, has recently partnered with ASD advocacy organizations to offer resources to assist with managing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic with persons who have ASD and their families. Missiles and Fire Control (MFC) is a member of the Florida Ability Inclusion Network and strives to educate employees and leaders on disabilities and recommend best practices to promote a disability-friendly workplace."
Learn more about Lockheed Martin.
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."
If last year proved anything, it was that America's long history of inequality is not a relic of the past. Many of us spent more time thinking about, speaking up against, and working to change the everyday racism faced by Black people in the United States in 2020 than we did in years past, thanks to the leadership behind the Black Lives Matter movement and media attention over the police brutality faced by Black Americans.
So when honoring Black History Month in 2021, doesn't it seem right to focus not just on the past, but on the present? Not just to learn about the notable accomplishments of impressive Black politicians, artists, and entrepreneurs, but also acknowledge the reality of the Black experience today—and work to improve it?
We asked several of our partner companies what they're doing to honor Black History Month at work, and we were inspired by the range of responses. From digging into economic injustices to investing in projects to support the Black community to sharing the real-life experiences of their Black employees, these companies are finding ways to not only honor Black History Month, but encourage positive change all year round. Here's what they're doing, in their own words:
1. Honoring and Celebrating the Black Family — Freddie Mac
"Our ARISE Business Resource Group is hosting several programs and activities throughout Black History Month that celebrate the diversity of the Black family. The month kicks off with a fireside chat about Black wealth and economics featuring Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League. Later in the month, Shanti Das, Executive Director of Silence the Shame, Inc., will share the importance of mental health and well-being. We will close the month with a panel discussion on the Black employee experience at Freddie Mac. The discussion will feature stories of empowerment and resilience that celebrate and support employees."
Learn more about Freddie Mac and their open roles here
2. Investing in Skills and Scholarships — Facebook
"During Black History Month, Facebook Elevate will host programming with the theme GenerationBlack. Among the activities will be a discussion called #GenBlack is Skilled covering how a new generation of Black professionals can be key contributors to a more inclusive society.
Elevate is a community and learning platform to accelerate the economic impact of entities of color. Elevate is committed over the next 3 years to reaching 1 million Black and 1 million Latinx and Hispanic members of the community with training in digital skills as well as distributing 100,000 scholarships to Black learners working toward digital careers."
Learn more about Facebook and their open roles here
3. Planning Virtual Events for the Whole Family — LogMeIn
"At LogMeIn, we will be celebrating Black History Month all month long! Since this year's theme is 'The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity,' our Employee Resource Group, BE@LogMeIn (Black Employees at LogMeIn) will be partnering with our Families ERG (Families@LogMeIn), our Corporate Social Responsibility Program (Mission Possible), and our wellness program (Thrive) to offer engaging, impactful, educational, and fun events all throughout February. We'll be hosting a virtual paint night, virtual volunteering event, discussions with Black authors and publishers, and a fun children's book giveaway as part of our celebrations."
Learn more about LogMeIn and their open roles here
4. Celebrating Black Joy — Moody's
"To kick off our Black History Month celebrations, Moody's will activate our annual Speaker Series and host multiple events that highlight the contributions of the Black community and celebrate Black Joy. Our Black Inclusion Group will be profiling Moody's employees and Black leaders for a weekly, educational newsletter throughout February. In addition, we are producing an employee-led video that shares the importance of Black Joy and cultural/family traditions. Our employees will also be able to choose from an array of Zoom and desktop backgrounds that will display quotes from prominent Black figures."Learn more about Moody's and their open roles here
5. Inspiring, Educating, Engaging—And Investing — ServiceNow
"ServiceNow is honoring Black History Month in the U.S. in February and in Europe in October. We've worked closely with our Black at Now Belonging Group to develop programming that will inspire, educate, and engage employees globally. We have a series of events focused on themes of allyship and intersectionality, which will feature special guest speakers, ServiceNow leaders, and employees in discussion and interactive dialogue. Additionally, we just announced an important piece of our efforts to live our company value, 'embrace diversity, create belonging': a $100M investment in Racial Equity fund, which is focused on building equitable opportunities in underserved Black communities in the U.S."
6. Communicating Inclusively — Clarus
"Here at Clarus we're honoring Black History Month in a couple of ways. Our DEI ERG is encouraging employee conversation by disseminating a companywide email acknowledging BHM and its significance. Additionally, we're promoting employees to be mindful of written communications, specifically in making sure we're using non-biased language.
We continue to partner with WayFinding Partners as they work with us on developing a long-lasting DEI strategy at Clarus. This includes the company partaking in a workshop called 'Let's Talk About Race' — opening our eyes to racism in our society and how we can defeat it."
Learn more about Clarus and their open roles here
7. Centering Black Culture and History — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
"For more than 10 years, Blue Cross NC's African-American and Black Employee Network (AABEN) has created meaningful programming for employees each February in honor of Black History Month. The network has hosted various events to celebrate African-American culture through song, dance, poetry and more. Their programming also provides education and awareness. Topics have ranged from historic Black Wall Street in Durham, to a panel of employees sharing how their hair is part of their identity and how corporate America can be more inclusive of cultural differences, to hearing directly from Black leaders who share their career journey and lessons learned."
Learn more about Blue Cross NC and their open roles here
8. Highlighting Black Luminaries — MongoDB
"To celebrate Black History Month, members of TUPOC — MongoDB's affinity group for people of color — highlight Black luminaries via daily posts in the #black-history Slack channel, a channel that's open year-round but is especially active in February. TUPOC will also honor Black History Month by hosting a company-wide event, and all employees will have access to a cross-company event celebrating Black History."
Learn more about MongoDB and their open roles here.
9. Celebrating and Supporting Black Futures — PagerDuty
"This year, our Black employee resource group at PagerDuty, Array, is approaching Black History Month with the theme 'Black Futures Month: Excellence, Resilience, and Equity.'
Our programming is designed to celebrate Black excellence and highlight our resilience, in order to build an equitable future. We'll be partnering with other employee resource groups representing Black talent across the Tech sector, hosting our first meeting with our first Black board member, Dr. Alec D. Gallimore, fundraising and volunteering with a local middle school of predominantly Black students, and introducing a mentorship program for our Black employees."
Learn more about PagerDuty and their open roles here
10. Empowering Growth and Development — CSL Behring
"CSL Behring will be formally launching the Promising Futures Scholarship mid-February. This scholarship program will award 37 scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 annually.
The program has been specifically set up for our Black colleagues and their dependents to provide financial empowerment and support professional career growth & development."
Learn more about CSL Behring and their open roles here
11. Learning Through Film, Art, and History — Autodesk
"This year in honor of Black History Month, Autodesk is kicking off our festivities with our speaker series. This development opportunity will promote our growth as we learn about the power of storytelling and why we need to call on courage to increase mutual understanding and foster a sense of belonging. In addition to team events, we've partnered with MoAD, the Museum of the African Diaspora, to facilitate film viewings and discussions across culture, art, and Black history."
Learn more about Autodesk and their open roles here
12. Hosting Ta-Nehesi Coates and Town Halls — T. Rowe Price
"T. Rowe Price remains committed to equity and is mindful of the socioeconomic impact of systemic racism. To foster learning on the history of racism and the myriad of ways it shows up in our communities, the firm hosted local and national experts in the last several months. The firm is also providing opportunities to connect with Black leaders within the firm, virtually.
Next month, MOSAIC @ T. Rowe Price, the firm's business resource group (BRG) focused on promoting inclusivity and attracting, developing, and retaining diverse talent, will host New York Times bestselling author Ta-Nehesi Coates. He is the keynote speaker for our annual Black History Month event.
The BRG will also host a town hall to discuss the firm's vision to become a more equitable and inclusive workplace for Black professionals. The discussion will be led by Black leaders with representation from the Management Committee and several advocacy groups."
Learn more about T. Rowe Price and their open roles here
13. Sparking Curiosity and Dialogues — Bounteous
"Bounteous honors Black History Month to pay tribute to the accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout history. This year, Bounteous' affinity group, b: shades, curated a collection of events that span the entire month. The events include movie screenings, trivia nights, a brave space conversation, and a guest speaker appearance by Dr. Annice E. Fisher. Additionally, our team will host a special edition of our Get to Know Bounteous info-session on February 11 at 12:00PM CT for people who attend or have attended Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCU) and any person who identifies as Black/African American and/or a Person of Color. Bounteous celebrates all month long through these educational and social events geared towards sparking curiosity and hopefully, a dialogue."
Learn more about Bounteous and their open roles here
14. Celebrating Trailblazers — New Relic
"In honor of Black History Month, our Relics of Color ERG has put together a spectacular lineup of
events and activities to celebrate Black excellence in tech and beyond. This month, we will celebrate our inaugural Mikey Butler Day. Mikey was a VP of Engineering at New Relic until his passing in late 2019. He was a trailblazer in technology, and an amazing and inspiring leader, coach, and mentor. Other activities include a fishbowl discussion on 'What Does Black History Mean to You?' and a Black Trail Blazers employee spotlight series celebrating our Relics of Color."
Learn more about New Relic and their open roles here
15. Reading and Learning Together — CarGurus
"Our People of Color (POC@CarGurus) Employee Resource Group (ERG) will be sponsoring multiple events in celebration of Black History Month (some events will be co-sponsored with several of our internal ERGs). These events will consist of speaker series, workshops, and group (virtual) activities!
Events planned include a discussion with Gretchen Sorin, author of Driving While Black, a Black History Month Stump Trivia night, a reading of Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler, and a Family Reading Night where we will by providing children's books written by Black authors."
Learn more about CarGurus and their open roles here
16. Launching an Employee Resource Group — Mindbody
"Mindbody will be celebrating Black History Month with the inaugural launch of our Mindbody Black Alliance ERG. MB Black Alliance members have developed a full program of content to celebrate, educate and foster awareness of black culture everywhere, from past to present. We will be highlighting our own team member stories and aligning them with the businesses that we serve."
Learn more about Mindbody and their open roles here
17. Addressing Workplace Equity — StackOverflow
"BnB creates a safe space for Black and Brown employees within Stack Overflow. Instead of working with only one team on initiatives or confining programming to one month, BnB partners with Stack's leadership to address workplace equity across multiple dimensions, long-term. This includes:
- Helping all employees educate themselves on racial injustice
- Partnering with HR on D&I efforts
- Providing leadership opportunities for employees of color
- Ensuring content channels - from our popular blog to our podcast - are inclusive in their approach to storytelling
- Donating resources like money, products, and services to organizations that promote the social advancement of people of color"
Learn more about StackOverflow and their open roles here
18. Stories Untold — CallRail
"Our goal is to make Black history more relatable to people who aren't as familiar with the Black experience. Historically, Black History Month is associated with overcoming struggles and highlighting injustices. We want to demystify the Black experience through focusing on Black lives throughout the African diaspora. There are many untold stories of diverse culture, unity, and joy that we feel should be shared as a part of our history."
Learn more about CallRail and their open roles here
19. Supporting the Fight Against Racial Injustice — Folsom Labs
"Folsom Labs is celebrating Black History Month by focusing on community support. It is important to us to show our continued support for the Black Community not only in February but as an ongoing company initiative. Last year we held an employee charity matching event to support those that are doing critical work in the fight against racial injustices. On our team, we believe long-lasting change starts from within. So this year, not only are we kicking-off Black History Month with another charity event, but we're also focusing on ongoing DEI education and training for employees."
Learn more about Folsom Labs and their open roles here
20. Volunteering and Learning Through Film — Commvault
"At Commvault we are excited to host our 2nd Black History Month celebration. Even though this year we are virtual, we have kicked things off with a Martin Luther King Memorial Virtual Tour, on MLK Day, for our Vaulters and their families. Vaulters in the US were excited to have a day to reflect and volunteer in their communities. Our Multi-Culture ERG is blogging internally daily about prominent Black figures, weekly Black History Trivia, and will end the month with filmmaker Keith Beauchamp who will talk about Black history and share his film The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till."
Learn more about Commvault and their open roles here
21. Spotlighting Black Excellence — NBA
"The NBA is honoring Black History Month with the following initiatives:
- "#BlackExcellence Spotlight – Internal NBA website (Home Court) will spotlight Black employees across the company as they reflect on 2020, look ahead to the future and share details about what work they are proud of, in or outside of the office.
- Player Conversation – Current NBA player will join a virtual conversation about the fight for racial justice, how he supports Black businesses, celebrates Black culture and more.
- Virtual volunteer opportunities with the YesSheCanCampaign and Jersey Cares
- NBA Town Hall on Leaguewide Social Justice Efforts"
Learn more about the NBA and their open roles here
22. Hosting Fireside Chats - Procore
"Black History Month in the U.S. takes place each year in February. This year, we turned to members of Procore's African [Descent[ Council (PAC) employee resource group to learn what the month means to them—and why it matters to the communities in which we live and work.
One of the many ways we're celebrating Black History Month at Procore is by hosting an internal virtual fireside chat about the life and legacy of Black leaders and the significance of the month. All employees have been invited to join select speakers for a discussion about the annual commemoration and ways to get involved. The fireside chat is part of an ongoing speaker series that explores stories and conversations around life, race, gender, social justice, and equality. Learn more about Procore's Employee Resource Groups and ongoing efforts to build a more inclusive and diverse future."
Learn more about Procore and their open roles here.
23. Educating & Celebrating with Events, Guest Speakers, and More — Raytheon Technologies
"In honor of Black History Month, our Raytheon Black Employee Network (RAYBEN) employee resource group has planned a series of events that educate, celebrate, and honor the importance of Black history. This month-long program of events focuses on the cultural diversity of the Black community, moments in Black history, guest speakers, including former football running back Brian Mitchell and poet Nikki Giovanni, and games that bridge the gap between the past and the future. We also use this opportunity to highlight our Black employees throughout the month."
Learn more about Raytheon Technologies and their open roles here.
24. Facilitating Courageous Conversations — Lockheed Martin
"Our theme for Black History Month 2021 is, 'The Black Family: Representation, Diversity and Identity.' Lockheed Martin's African American Council for Excellence (AACE) Business Resource Group will use Black History Month to explore the wide-ranging diversity of the black family life through educational content, presentations and courageous conversations. We will also use this month to bring families together and reconnect as we view black stories and learn to make a simple meal where everyone can contribute. What's more? Our focus won't end there. Beyond Black History Month, AACE will support multiple programs to recruit, retain and develop black employees and give back to our community."
Learn more about Lockheed Martin and their open roles here.
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