These 3 Companies Are Changing the Status Quo for Women in Tech. Here's How.

by Alton Zenon III
October 9, 2019

A dearth of women leaders. Breastfeeding safety. Hiring biases. These are just a handful of the issues women in tech face on a daily basis.

We spoke with three women about some of the key problems they see facing women in tech, and the steps their companies are taking to address them directly. From placing more women in high-ranking leadership positions to making sure their voices are heard loud and clear, these companies are actively pursuing progress.

 

Women at Convoy taking selfie in brewery
convoy

Convoy is on a mission to make the women in its network feel as comfortable as possible in the workplace. Account Manager Nikki Brown said that whether a woman is breastfeeding in the office, voicing their opinion in a meeting, or traveling on a road toward senior leadership, the logistics company makes efforts to ensure its women employees feel supported in everything they do. 

 

What are some examples of issues facing women in tech that your company is addressing?

One of the top challenges women working in tech face is a lack of female leaders. It is harder for women to climb the ladder and land senior roles when other women haven’t paved the way and aren’t advocating for them. We are addressing this issue is by hiring and promoting strong female leaders. Convoy has many examples of strong female leaders — including the recent hiring of our new VP of Global Revenue Melissa McCann-Tilton, joining other leaders such as VP of Supply Kristen Forecki, who’s held numerous leadership roles here since being among Convoy’s first dozen employees. Our female leaders are committed to helping mentor, advocate for and support opportunities for other women. 

Additionally, women in tech frequently report being talked over, interrupted, or having their ideas dismissed in meetings. One way that Convoy is combatting this is by recognizing this behavior as a problem. We all make a concerted effort to respectfully listen to whoever is speaking, whether male or female. It is a common courtesy that we expect young children to learn: wait your turn to speak. Convoy is building a culture where courtesy is the norm. 

Our female leaders are committed to helping mentor, advocate for and support opportunities for other women.”

 

What other initiatives does your company have in place to support women in your company?

One of the initiatives that I am really excited about is our suite of benefits provided to help new mothers navigate their return to work. We understand how important it is for new parents to have a smooth transition back to work from parental leave, and we help women make that transition by reducing the complications of workplace pumping for breastfeeding moms. Convoy has a beautiful mother’s rooms on every floor, fully outfitted with medical-grade breast pumps and everything a breastfeeding woman needs to safely and comfortably express breast milk during their workday. We also partner with MilkStork to make work travel while breastfeeding simple and convenient. I love that Convoy recognizes the importance of these initiatives, and these benefits send the message to current and future employees that at Convoy, you don’t have to choose between having a great career and starting a family. 

One of the other areas I am really excited about is our [email protected] employee resource group. Women at Convoy is a company-sponsored collection of empowered employees who voluntarily work together to support the attraction, retention, and development of employees who identify as women through professional and business development, community initiatives, and recruitment activities.

 

Outreach team members chatting in their lobby
Jared Kessler, 2019

Reinforcing the idea of skills-based upward mobility and offering a number of women-focused perks are only two of many things that the sale-tech company Outreach is doing to help women thrive. Chief Operating Officer Anna Baird said she’s trying to set an example and forge a path for other women at the company in her role as a leader, and meets with women one-on-one to act as a mentor. 

 

What are some examples of issues facing women in tech that your company is addressing?

Part of helping women have a seat at the table is creating an environment to have an open dialogue about the challenges women are facing. You also need to have women leaders who can be a voice to foster understanding and pave ways to overcome those challenges. At Outreach, our management team is 40 percent female. We focus on ensuring a diverse slate for our roles, starting at the executive level so that we can attract diverse talent for all positions. To discuss diversity and inclusion, you need a diverse team at the table. Our first priority, across all our teams, is hiring leaders who know diversity and inclusion is critical to the success of the company.

Women often feel that if they work hard, they will be recognized, rewarded and promoted. Men, on the other hand, are often much more vocal about asking for things like promotions. Women need leaders who are actively pulling women up within the organization based on their contributions and qualifications for opportunities, and not just rewarding those who are most vocal. We discuss teams, promotions, and compensation with a focus on rewarding our most talented individuals. We review across our teams to make sure the slate is fair, no one is left out, and discuss how we might coach or mentor those who are almost there. Recognition of the challenges, an active dialogue, and a process that ensures these challenges are addressed are the ways we operationalize this at Outreach.

Women need leaders who are actively pulling women up within the organization based on their contributions and qualifications for opportunities.”

 

What other initiatives does your company have in place to support women in your company?

We have created several internal groups specifically designed to help foster conversations about issues facing women. We have Gals and Sals for our sales team and the Outreach Women’s Network. We’ve created spaces for women to openly share the challenges they are facing, and in turn, create positive changes. As the COO, I take it upon myself to personally connect with women throughout the organization. I want to know how people are feeling and if there are issues we need to address. We’ve also created a suite of benefits aimed at supporting women into their transition into parenthood, including 16-week paid maternity leave, flexible return to work options, a paid night-nurse, meal delivery, and dedicated mothers’ rooms at the office.

 

Nintex team members at conference
nintex

It’s difficult to succeed in reaching any goal if the infrastructure is not in place to do so. Nintex specializes in giving enterprise companies tech tools they can use to improve business processes. Vice President of Global HR Karina Mounivong said similarly, the company is also building infrastructure that gives women increased opportunities to progress through a successful career in tech.

 

What are some examples of issues facing women in tech that your company is addressing?

There are a number of issues facing women in tech but two that stand out are the lack of women in leadership roles and in technical roles.

Diversity in gender, ethnicity, culture, and demographics creates a stronger company by ensuring that our initiatives reflect a wide range of viewpoints, experiences, and skill sets. We’ve made major strides in promoting and hiring female leaders throughout the company. Over the last 12 months, we have added five female vice presidents to our executive team. We have achieved a 15 percent increase in females within our management team through new hires and promotions. One-third of those promotions came after our employees returned from maternity leave. 

Though our technology hubs are located outside our Bellevue, WA, headquarters, we have continued our focus on diversifying our hiring by adding more women to our research and development teams, as well. Our director of engineering in Kuala Lumpur is a woman, which is very uncommon in technology companies in the Asia-Pacific region. We also have multiple female delivery managers overseeing our development teams in our Kuala Lumpur and Melbourne offices. 

Over the last 12 months, we have added five female vice presidents to our executive team.”

 

What other initiatives does your company have in place to support women in your company? 

We have recently joined an affiliation with The WIT Network. It is a global community of professionals who encourage women and girls to study STEM and pursue careers in the technology sector, enable more women to attain leadership positions and career advancement, and support female entrepreneurs to start and develop profitable businesses. Through this affiliation, Nintex will also be launching our Women in Nintex Program, which will provide an additional channel for our female employees to obtain coaching, mentorship and new opportunities. 

We also continue to refine recruiting efforts to include diverse and inclusive interviewers on interview panels. We acknowledge that people gravitate toward those of similar backgrounds when making hiring decisions, so we spend time on interview training to educate our interviewers to steer away from “group think” selection and ensure that we are getting a wide variety of perspectives and feedback during the interview process. 

 

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