At NIKE, Inc., you may brainstorm, lunch break and work alongside the likes of two-time WNBA champion Olympia Scott. That's thanks to the Women in Nike program (WIN), which has introduced a third cohort of 16 athletes to the NIKE, Inc. offices.
The goal of the two-year WIN program is for retired or retiring WNBA players to gain work experience in a corporate setting across Nike, Converse, or the Jordan Brand — and the benefits are a two-way street. The athletes’ backgrounds provide an expertise in sport and a range of qualities that naturally feed a successful corporate team. “In the WNBA, I was the new draft pick. I was the new mother returning to the court. I was the new trade, the new free agent, the captain, the champion,” says Scott, a two-time WNBA champion who now works as an Associate Product Line Manager in Men’s Apparel. “Being in so many different roles helped me understand how to be a good teammate, how to value each person because they bring a unique skillset, and most important, how to lead from any position to help the group.”
Read more about the women in the third WIN cohort here.
Women have always had a lot on their plates, juggling their professional goals with societal expectations and responsibilities to their families, partners, and communities.
But women have never had a year like 2020.
It seemed like we couldn't go a day without a new national media outlet reporting on just how hard it is to be a woman right now. NPR said it best in their package Enough Already: How The Pandemic Is Breaking Women.
After nearly a year of job losses that have disproportionately impacted women of color, compounding caregiving expectations that have fallen mostly on mothers, and extended isolation, more likely to intensify loneliness for older women, it's hard to imagine how we're going to recover from it all.
But that's exactly what UN Women is hoping to do with their International Women's Day theme this year: "Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world."
That plays into the larger theme of International Women's Day, #ChooseToChallenge, celebrated around the world on March 8, 2021. IWD organizers are asking individuals and companies to celebrate women's achievements, raise awareness against bias, and take action for equality.
Inspired by these themes, we decided to ask PowerToFly partner companies how they are supporting women at work through both longer-term initiatives and March-specific programming for International Women's Day and/or Women's History Month.
Read on and get inspired!
Hosting a Leadership Day — Facebook
"Our Women@ employee resource group is hosting Women@ Leadership Day on Monday, March 8 to bring together women from across the company to celebrate, empower and develop leadership at all levels. This year's theme is 'Lead with Me — Uniquely You, Uniquely Powerful.'
At Facebook, women tap into their unique background and lived experiences to define how they lead. We fearlessly live our mission inside and outside of our company, giving others the power to build community and bring the world closer together. Each woman is uniquely powerful, and together we're an unstoppable force."
Launching a Gender and Finance Hub — Moody’s
"In honor of International Women's Day, Moody's will launch a designated Gender and Finance hub featuring a range of our business offerings, leadership programs and community partnerships that center on promoting gender equality.
In addition, our employee-led Women's Business Resource Group will hold a range of virtual events and activities around the world to celebrate the accomplishments of women and address the barriers women still face in the workplace and greater society. Throughout March, we will profile leading women at Moody's to recognize their contributions and give them a platform for guiding the next generation of leaders."
Spotlight Sessions, Workshops, and a Kudos Board — MongoDB
MongoDB's 2019 International Women's Day event in NYC
"We're actively working to increase representation at every level. This is done through the investment in programs to mentor and accelerate the development of high potential talent to grow into leadership roles, enabling managers to become inclusive leaders, constantly reviewing our processes for effectiveness and fairness, and diversifying our candidate pool through internal initiatives and external partnerships like PowerToFly.
MongoDB is celebrating Women's History Month with a variety of events:
- Spotlight sessions with various internal MongoDB Women's Group speakers who will share their strengths and skills with other members
- A workshop session with four MongoDB women leaders titled 'Being a Woman Leader and Growing Your Career'
- A Women in Engineering panel with two external speakers, highlighting women with successful careers in engineering
- An internal kudos board where women and allies can give shoutouts to their women peers
- Global purple shirt day on International Women's Day
- A women and allies Yoga and Meditation session"
Celebrating the Year of the Woman 2.0 — Freddie Mac
"Freddie Mac supports the development of our community of women by providing opportunities for networking, leadership and career development using internal programming and external organizations that enable us to retain and attract talent. Our Women's Interactive Network (WIN) Business Resource Group is hosting activities throughout Women's History Month that celebrate the resilience and power of women.
- 'Get Out of Your Own Way' workshop featuring author and executive coach, Regan Walsh
- 'Women Surviving and Thriving Covid-19' roundtable with Freddie Mac leaders
- Kick-off series on refining and developing leadership skills with Jacqueline M. Baker, Principal Consultant and Founder of Scarlet Communications"
Challenging Hiring Practices — Elastic
Elastic's Singapore office celebrating the #EachForEqual theme of IWD last year
"We've been working towards wider female representation in leadership positions at Elastic. We recently doubled down on our commitment towards challenging a male-dominated field with our equal pay policy, these internal initiatives, and by filling several senior-level positions with top female professionals.
Elastic is celebrating Women's History Month (WHM) and International Women's Day (IWD) by amplifying female voices throughout the organization. First, we're releasing a variety of content on our culture blog this month including a statement from Leah Sutton, our senior vice president of global human resources at Elastic, on how we're meeting the #ChooseToChallenge in our hiring practices. We'll also release a roundup of recent blog posts featuring our female leadership. Finally, our Elastic Cares team will hold sessions throughout the month to encourage volunteering with organizations that empower women both in the workplace and in day-to-day life."
A Day of Reflection — Chainalysis
"International Women's Day is one of Chainalysis's Days of Reflection (Company Holidays focused on DE&I). To celebrate, the Diversity Committee has planned several events including a panel discussing 'Can crypto help solve gender inequality?', a Linkedin campaign featuring some amazing women at Chainalysis, 'Wear Purple' day, and a Linkedin Power Hour inspired by PowerToFly to name just a few!"
A Holistic Program to Educate and Engage — ServiceNow
"At ServiceNow, we've increased women in leadership (director-plus) by nearly 8% in just three years. We've also been intentional about diversifying our board of directors, which is now 30% women. One of our most effective programs has been our annual Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Leadership Summit). It has brought together new and established female leaders, along with male allies, to learn to combat bias and microaggressions, as well as how to combine caring with candor for powerful conversations.
ServiceNow is proud to be celebrating International Women's Day with our employees globally. We've worked closely with our Women at Now Belonging Group (ERG) to develop a holistic program that will inspire, educate, and engage employees globally, including:
- A series of events focused on dialogue around allyship and intersectionality
- Employee voices from around the world sharing what they will personally 'choose to challenge'
- Featured article in FairyGodBoss on why ServiceNow is a top company for women
- Thought leadership content and blogs shared on our social media channels focused on amplifying ServiceNow's support for gender equity and belonging."
Investing in Talent — Datadog
Female leaders and employees at Datadog's IPO in 2019
Per Armelle de Madre, Datadog's Chief HR Officer:
"In 2020, Datadog was able to increase our representation of women in leadership by 220%. And we're excited to continue building on that momentum in 2021 and beyond. While we place emphasis on better diversifying our candidate pipeline by partnering with organizations such as PowerToFly, we also aim to create an environment of education and empowerment internally at Datadog to encourage female employees to grow into positions of leadership.
At Datadog we are incredibly excited to be co-hosting an International Women's Day webinar event for both employees and external attendees featuring a panel of prominent female Sales leaders from Datadog, Microsoft and OpenView.
Internally, we wanted to promote the intersectionality of gender and ethnic diversity in line with both Black History Month and Women's History Month, and in February we were honored to welcome Margot Lee Shetterly, the author of Hidden Figures, for a Q&A with Datadog employees to learn what drove Margot to tell this story that forever changed the course of computer science at NASA, and inspired the movie of the same name.
In addition, we're excited to be partnering with Bravely for an internal presentation for employees on 'Women at Work,' a fireside chat with Sarah Sheehan and Ericka Spradley, which will be followed by career coaching sessions for Datadog's female employees."
Leading by Design — Deloitte
"We are committed to investing in our women. In November 2020, as part of this commitment, we introduced Leadership by Design, a program aimed at helping professionals shape and advance their career paths at Deloitte. Since its launch, more than 1,200 women across all levels have enrolled in Leadership by Design.
On March 8th, Deloitte will hold a conversation with champions and thought leaders in gender equity around how they each have harnessed their own power to challenge orthodoxies in their respective fields, and the world."
Celebrating with Songs, Speakers, and Support — New Relic
"To celebrate Womxn's History Month, New Relic will be celebrating through various events, social media spotlights, and non-profit donations. The list of events includes:
- Guided meditations
- Movie nights
- Womxn's History trivia games
- Guest speaker events
- Distant disco nights featuring strong womxn songstresses
- Career development in partnership with Dress For Success
We'll also be highlighting our Womxn ERG in the #ChooseToChallenge campaign, supporting Womxn entrepreneurs through Kiva, and donating to Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation."
Global, Local, and Inclusive — Smartsheet
"We're focused on encouraging our employees to stretch and grow within Smartsheet. We're working to launch an internal job board that will provide employees the opportunity to apply for roles before the role is posted externally. We're pairing this work with diverse candidate slate goals for our most senior roles to ensure we have considered diversity of talent. By giving our current employees the first opportunity at our open roles and holding ourselves accountable with representation goals throughout each stage of the hiring process, we're working to grow our talent and ensure that we're reflecting the diversity of our workforce.
Our Women's History Month and International Women's Day celebrations will be global with local tailoring:
- Sharing: Creating a montage of responses from employees on "women who inspire"
- Creating community via creating groups of women and gender minorities (3-5 people) to build bridges and support
- Creating opportunity for our employees to share an area of expertise via a TED-style internal talk
- Bringing in external perspectives: Hosting speakers on gender-equality topics
- Local (Australia): Panel of women (internal and external) across levels and experiences to share their journey"
Pushing Toward Equal Representation — Relativity
From Relativity's International Women's Day celebrations in 2020
From Relativity's CHRO, Beth Clutterbuck:
"Relativity is intentional about recruiting women in tech, particularly leadership. In 2020, we added two women to our Executive Team, one to our Board and one as the Managing Director of APAC, one of our fastest growing customer regions. We've continuously made a conscious effort to hire more women, especially in Europe where tech skews heavily to men. We increased our women headcount in Poland by 10%, and in EMEA broadly, we now have nearly equal gender representation at 49% women (22% increase YoY). Relativity aspires to reach its global goal of 50/50 gender representation in all roles by 2024."
From Relativity's Tricia Johnson, Program Manager, Field Marketing:
"Workplace (RelWoW) Community Resource Group will celebrate International Women's Day and Women's History Month with a full slate of programs during March. We offer various programming to engage employees in the ways they respond best. This year's programs include:
- An internal panel highlighting diverse career paths within Relativity
- An external recruiting panel on mentorship
- Multiple channels to discuss what International Women's Day 'Choose to Challenge' means to individuals
- A book club featuring a book by Samantha Kirby
- A blog highlighting key milestones for women in the legal industry
- A BadAss Women of History virtual tour"
Developing Early- and Middle-Career Women — CSL Behring
"A core component of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives includes a focus on the recruitment and development of gender diverse talent. Not only do we have female representation goals established for our Board, Executive and People Manager roles, but we also have multiple programs or initiatives focused on developing our female entry-level and middle management talent through formal leadership development and mentoring programs to increase women's representation in leadership.
At CSL Behring we are encouraging, developing and showcasing our female talent around the globe through various panel discussions, seminars and messages. Notable events include:
- Women in Leadership Panel discussions where senior female leaders will share their career experiences including lessons learned and advice for others who are looking to advance their careers.
- Video of leaders sharing messages on the advancement of women and recognizing IWD.
- Sponsorship of multiple IWD partner events providing networking and development opportunities for females in leadership and STEM, as well as programs directed towards engaging men to advance women in leadership through allyship."
Launching an ERG for Women’s Success — OfferUp
"Female leadership is important at OfferUp. As part of our DEI plan, we track several metrics including our promotion activity and our goal is to increase the amount of women promoted every year. Our plan also includes the launch of our first employee resource group, Women In Tech, which will educate, enable and empower women at the company through learning opportunities, mentoring experiences and employee support.
For Women's History Month, we are promoting the success of our women employees and hosting education and recognition events for our full staff, including:
- On International Women's Day, a Women in Leadership speaker panel featuring women leaders from the Puget Sound who will talk about their leadership journeys
- A launch event for the Women in Tech employee resource group
- Weekly education on prominent women in history in our all-company newsletter
- Women in History themed all-company trivia competition"
Looking at a Post-COVID World for Women — Raytheon Intelligence & Space
"Raytheon Intelligence & Space believes we are stronger together. We are focused on critical areas to increase women's representation in leadership by removing barriers to advancement, delivering purposeful development and targeted retention. We deploy conscious inclusion programs and practices to drive outcomes and attract talent. We also mitigate bias in job postings and interview questions.
In celebration of Women's History Month, Raytheon Intelligence & Space will be sponsoring and participating in the California Conference for Women, and sharing career advice from our executive team with employees. We will also be hosting a webinar focused on women in STEM, the challenges facing women in the COVID environment and the changing workplace in a post-COVID world. In addition, our Raytheon Women's Network Employee Resource Group is hosting a series of employee-focused events to commemorate the month."
Listening to Women's Stories — CallRail
"In honor of Women's History Month and International Women's Day, CallRail is accepting this year's challenge through their ERG, the Women's Circle. With a full week dedicated to celebrating the progress women have made in tech and challenging the road ahead, The Women's Circle is looking inward to celebrate the success of women at CallRail and the unexpected paths that led them here.
Through a virtual, company-wide Q&A panel, we'll listen to the stories of women in all positions of leadership about how they made it to these roles - from the hurdles to the triumphs and everything in between."
RiseUp and Mentor — Dassault Systemes
"Dassault Systemes has made a public statement promising to reach 30% Women People Managers by 2025. To reach this goal, a new program called RiseUp has been launched in order to accelerate women's leadership and empowerment. Currently, a high-performing group of women have been identified and are being coached and mentored in preparation of becoming people managers.
- This year the UN Women's theme is 'Choose to Challenge.' We are challenging our employees to take action for equality and have launched a social media campaign internally and externally.
- We are hosting a series of webinars highlighting our internal Women Leaders. We had a fireside chat with Michelle Ash, CEO of our GEOVIA Brand. We learned about her views on the mining industry, women leadership, and inclusion.
- In our EURONORTH Geo, a Diversity Week is being held and will include Unconscious Bias training."
Hosting Employee Panels and Breakout Groups — VTS
"VTS has made a consistent and conscious effort to increase women in leadership roles by having a promote-from-within culture, and ensuring that the company has access to coaching opportunities to get them to the next step in their career. Currently, women in leadership positions at the company make up almost 40% of that group—and it's on the rise!
VTS is hosting a panel of our employees on March 10, moderated by our Interim Head of People Margaretta Noonan, who is a member of the advisory board for the Global Summit of Women. Going along with this year's International Women's Day theme of 'Choose to Challenge,' we are hosting different breakout groups after the panel. These sessions aim to have our employees learn how to challenge themselves in order to invest in their personal brand, unlearn bias, and support women in work and life."
Cheersing to Women’s Success at Afternoon Tea — dv01
"At dv01 we have several women in leadership positions, including COO and VP of Sales, and have continued to promote women to management positions. We provide our team members with increasing responsibility and give them space to take ownership of their projects. Additionally, we pride ourselves in offering a flexible work schedule, which allows our team members to work around life's many challenges. We continue to acknowledge the hard work of women and motivate them to grow within the company.
For International Women's Day at dv01 we'll be hosting a Women's Day Party starting with a morning yoga session and a virtual afternoon tea! Throughout the month we will have several events geared toward women and female empowerment, including women's history month trivia, virtual viewings of films either directed by women or with strong female leads, and other events which highlight accomplished female writers and artists."
"Following the Sun” with Events Around the World — Ciena
"Women@Ciena is hosting a global event to celebrate International Women's Day on one continuous Zoom. Kicking off in Singapore, this year's global event will 'follow the sun' to each region, from APJ to India to EMEA and to the Americas, with unique events being hosted in all regions and live handoffs taking place in between – All in Together!
We will have exciting surprise guests including a four-star Navy Admiral to hear her thoughts on diversity and experience a live cooking demo to inspire heart healthy lunches amid our Zoom-filled days.
Also, we will offer breakout sessions like: Your Career Path is a Journey – Are You Navigating?, Choose to Challenge, Taking Grit to a New Level, Owning your Personal Brand, among others.
The day will close with an all-star Ciena panel with members from our Leadership team, highlighting the importance of allyship."
Celebrating a Culture Where Everyone Can Thrive — Autodesk
"Autodesk is proud to celebrate Women History Month by hosting a series of events. Autodesk Women Network (AWN), one of the company's many ERGs, is pleased to kick-off the month with a fireside chat featuring Herminia Ibarra to discuss diversity, authentic leadership, belonging, and the important role we all play in making Autodesk a place where people of all gender identifies can thrive. Furthermore, we have coordinated a series of talks, workshops, and a belonging circle on Belonging and Authentic Leadership. We are excited to kick-off March events and celebrate women globally! #Autodesklife"
Honest Discussions on Supporting Women — LogMeIn
Women around the world continue to be dramatically impacted by the shift in how we work. At LogMeIn, we believe we each have a responsibility to challenge gender bias and inequity in the modern workforce and find creative ways to seek out and celebrate women's achievements, especially in a remote environment. Join us on March 24th at 11:00 a.m. EST for a discussion about this year's WHM theme: explore why women need our support now more than ever, and what you can do to support women in this new flexible working era. Register here."
Coaching Circles and Leadership Forums — NBA
"The NBA's Women's Network conducts a series of year-long coaching circles. Circles are small groups of 10-12 women who want to connect, learn and grow together. This is a safe space for women to connect and share experiences and also build new skills together. This year's theme is Finding Personal & Professional Success in 2021 and each circle will meet virtually 6 times during the year.
The NBA is also hosting the 3rd Annual Women's Leadership Forum, a gathering of women from the league office and NBA, WNBA, G League, 2K League and Basketball Africa League teams. At this year's forum, we will celebrate champions and changemakers who will lead discussions that empower us to inspire one another, break down barriers and learn from our collective experience to achieve our full potential."
Leading by Example — Bumble
"Bumble is a women-led company that has an equitable gender representation within our C-suite with 54% comprising of women. Furthermore, 73% of Bumble's board is made up of women. At Bumble, we truly value cultivating a culture that's rooted in kindness, respect, equality, diversity, inclusion, and growth. This means that from the very beginning of the hiring process, we actively seek diverse candidates and our careers page strongly encourages people of color, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and non-binary people, as well as individuals with disabilities to apply.
Bumble is excited to celebrate Women's History Month this year through the following lineup of programming for our global team:
- International Women's Day Kickoff: Team members will be invited to participate in their #ChooseToChallenge social campaign by sharing their commitment to gender equality throughout their social channels.
- Throughout the month, we will host interactive events that will foster community by inviting amazing guest speakers from organizations such as PowerToFly to share why fast-tracking gender equality is essential to prosperity for all, to a panel event featuring women in leadership at Bumble about the importance of community connections and women lifting up other women."
Building a “Foundation for Progress” — Procore
"Procore is a people-first company, and we remain committed to our vision of improving the lives of everyone in construction––regardless of race, gender, background, or otherwise. At its core, our vision is founded on inclusion, with a focus on enabling every person at Procore, and in the industry, to do their best work. We have revisited our employee calibration practices and focused on hiring a workforce with more women and people of color. We've also taken steps to educate our leaders by offering mentorship and training opportunities.
As part of International Women's Day and Women's History Month in March, Procore is organizing several activities to celebrate the achievements and contributions of women in the construction industry and beyond. We recently hosted an external webinar on the future of Women in Construction as part of our series 'Foundations for Progress.' Our employees and industry professionals were invited to join construction leaders as they took stock of the progress women in construction have made and the work that still has to be done. This month, we're publishing a number of thought leadership articles to provide guidelines, stories, and anecdotes that inspire action. Read more about the impact of Procore's Women in Construction efforts."
Leveling Up Skillsets — uShip
In our weekly company newsletter, we highlight different events going on in our local community as it relates to Women's History Month, that employees can attend, watch online, or read about."
Sourcing Talent from Within — Primer
"When we have an open leadership role, we intentionally source women candidates either internally or externally. We know we'll be growing and women in management positions now will be in senior leadership positions in the future. We are also building relationships between our employees, and women leaders on our Advisory board. We know mentorship is important for women as they take on leadership roles.
We are engaging with the women of Primer to understand what would be most meaningful for them. Some of the ideas we are considering are swag celebrating women at the company, events with women leadership mentors, and virtual luncheons."
Intersectional Empowerment — S&P Global
"In celebration of Women's History Month and International Women's Day, S&P Global will highlight employee testimonials internally and externally in addition to feature programming with women thought leaders. Our Employee Resource Groups play an integral role in our employee engagement. This month we are partnering with WINS: Women's Initiative for Networking and Success and BOLD: Black Organization for Leadership & Development to welcome esteemed speakers Lola Akinmade Akerstrom and Baroness Floella Benjamin to speak to our employees on the theme #ChooseToChallenge."
Video to include: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmJgm4AxmeA
Honoring a History of Women — T. Rowe Price
These pioneers brought invaluable skill sets and unwavering commitment to the firm.
Isabella Craig handled statistical calculations and accounting before becoming the Secretary of the corporation and a client counselor. Early associates credited her talents as a major influence on the quality of the firm.
Marie Walper managed administrative duties during the firm's formative years. As the firm grew, she remained Mr. Price's personal assistant and sounding board. She also helped codify the firm's ethics and served as treasurer.
We pay homage to our history as we honor women at the firm today."
Intentional Hiring & Promotion in Leadership — VideoAmp
"As a People First organization, we believe in promoting from within as our default to accelerate career growth. This philosophy has resulted in several promotions to leadership and executive roles for the women in our workforce, most recently in the Engineering department, Client Success, and on the Revenue team.
Our diversity partnership with PowerToFly has been beneficial in bringing more interest, attention, and active applications for roles at VideoAmp by women interested in the adtech space from around the country. Most recently, we welcomed a highly talented woman in a leadership role on our Engineering team, a department that historically has lacked a strong female presence, and we expect to continue this effort as a priority. We celebrate and seek out those with unique experiences to further a culture of belonging and innovation. Our business is growing and this means we expect the opportunity for women to grow at VideoAmp. Together we rise!
- Embrace wellness is a core value at VideoAmp, and to honor and celebrate the women in our workforce, this year we're hosting a wellness practitioner to take us through a guided mindfulness practice focused on self-compassion and self-care, from the unique perspective of women in the workplace. Our goal is to give back to the women who contribute everyday as a means to celebrate and give thanks."
We asked 30+ women how you can make this 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
Accenture is turning the spotlight on our women in tech.
Along with taking actionable steps to reset tech culture—expected to double the number of women in tech in the next 10 years—the report reminds us that learning from the voices of our women in tech drives innovation and transformation every day.
Career advice from women in tech
Meet five women at different stages of their technology careers, working in a rapidly growing industry landscape where diverse perspectives are the lifeblood to innovation.
From ethical artificial intelligence and laboratory R&D to platform partnership management, learn how these successful women are driving their career paths forward in new and exciting ways. They share important advice they wish they'd had when starting their journeys.
Technology Senior Analyst, 3 years in technology
What I do: I specialize in client-facing communication and present demos and stories to clients, engaging them in our team's work. I also help create custom websites and applications for clients, working end to end across platforms to solve unique problems.
Best part of my work: I think outside of the box and create something that was never imagined before.
My advice: Don't be intimidated by the size or the rapid pace of the technology industry—just go for it. Take classes and keep learning; there are hundreds of classes that highlight different parts of the industry. We offer all kinds of unique learning and development opportunities at Accenture.
Remember to believe in yourself. When I started in my career, I was overwhelmed by the many different aspects of technology. The best way to get rid of those fears is to try everything.
Blockchain Segment Lead, 11 years in technology
What I do: I lead blockchain partnerships in enterprise technology. My work is all about innovation and problem solving; I get to take all the pieces of information and figure out how they fit together.
Best part of my work: I come to work and every day feels like a blank piece of paper. There's so much room to innovate and create—it's an addictive feeling.
My advice: Trust your instincts. If you think something is right, raise your voice and speak up. At the start of my career, I spent a lot of time second-guessing myself, researching twice before I raised information in a meeting.
Time is important; be known as a thought leader and creator of ideas, not just one who's validating ideas. Believe in yourself—there is so much value you can contribute.
Americas Tech Innovation Lead, 23 years in technology
What I do: I lead our innovation capabilities focused on technology across North America and Latin America. This includes research and development, open innovation and rapid-prototyping capabilities to help identify, shape and scale emerging technology solutions.
Best part of my work: Technology has tremendous potential to be a catalyst for change and hope. Opportunities are growing fast; innovation is being amplified like never before and technology continues to have a significant influence in our lives.
My advice: Have confidence and don't worry too much about what you don't know. Frequently, we get in the trap of thinking, "I can't take that role because I am underqualified," or, "I don't know as much as everybody else." Take a leap into things you are not comfortable with and always be ready to learn—you'll build confidence along the way.
Responsible AI Lead, 9 years in technology
What I do: I facilitate the integration of responsible artificial intelligence (AI) into client solutions. I think about the implications of AI and work with people to create solutions, and I see the results of what we've planned and built.
Best part of my work: As a social scientist, I design experiments and interventions that make a difference.
My advice: Pursue what you find interesting. Acquire as many transferrable skills as you can. Learn how to learn—that's most important. Figure out the process of acquiring new information and leverage what you've learned in another field, another industry.
Be brave. If you are stuck in an environment where you don't feel valued, leverage your skills and move somewhere you do.
Technology Research & Development Executive, 15 years in technology
What I do: I'm a leader in Accenture Labs, responsible for a global systems and platforms research and development group. Our projects include semantic modeling, edge analytics and robotics.
Best part of my work: Tech is like magic. I'm constantly learning and finding ways to apply technology, then seeing it in action in the world. It's so inspiring to learn all the time.
My advice: Believe in yourself and advocate for yourself. Nobody knows you or values you as much as you do. It took me a long time to figure that out.
Innovation is part of our DNA at Accenture. Read more about the transformational work we do, every day.