Gender Diversity: Executive Women in Technology (CommonSpirit Health and Vertex) - CXOTalk #742

Gender Diversity: Executive Women in Technology (CommonSpirit Health and Vertex) - CXOTalk #742

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How does anybody step into a role,  after they've been told they were   promoted because they were a woman, and then  deliver (for the first 90 days of their job)   wondering where the target is on their back? Women cannot do it by ourselves. We need   women and men to work together to create an  equitable work environment for everybody.  That's Suja Chandrasekaran and Diana McKenzie  explaining gender diversity. They formed an   organization called T200 to address this issue. T200 was formed from acknowledging women in   tech is in record low numbers. Certainly, there  are systemic barriers created by headwinds,   and sometimes even tailwinds turn into headwinds. Suja Chandra, welcome to CXOTalk. Please,  

tell us about your work. I lead digital and tech as Chief   Digital and Information Officer at CommonSpirit  Health. We are a provider health system.   We operate in 21+ states and serve our  communities across the care continuum. 

My background prior to this has been,  I've been a technologist business leader   at retail and consumer-focused industries. Marquee  names that I've been a part of include Walmart.   I was Global Chief Technology Officer at Walmart. I led various leadership roles and led   transformation at Nestle and, prior to  CommonSpirit, I was at Kimberly-Clark.   I also sit on the board of American Eagle  Outfitters, Loom Global (which is a digital   supply chain platform company), and Agendia,  Inc. (where we focused on precision oncology  

with a specific emphasis around breast cancer). Women's health is a passion for me. I also spend   time mentoring and developing others, and  we'll talk about that in the upcoming moments.  Diana, let me introduce you and welcome you  back to CXOTalk. Tell us about your work. 

I get the opportunity to serve on the boards of  some very exciting companies, and I'm doing a   senior advisory role with a private equity company  called Brighton Park Capital. I also engage   quite frequently with promising healthcare  tech startups as an advisor and an investor.  That builds on 30 years of experience in  life sciences, primarily in technology roles.   I spent the last nine years of  my career in chief information   officer roles both at Amgen and at Workday. Right now, probably the most exciting thing about   my life is that I get more time to focus on paying  it forward. I spend a lot of my time mentoring  

and advocating for women in technology and for  people who live with brain health conditions.  You're both such accomplished business leaders.  Suja, you started—and I believe Diana was involved   from the beginning—an organization called  T200 that is dedicated to supporting women   in senior-level business and  technology roles. Tell us about T200.  Around the 2015-2016 timeframe, the women in  tech numbers were regressing since the '90s when   I started my career. At that time, there were  about 28% of overall people in tech were women.  At that time, it was regressing below those  numbers. I may be off by a few points.   The numbers were still poor, still, about 37% of  techs started to have only one woman director, 58%   of women were concerned about the venture  capital funding gap, and only 15% of CICOs   (chief information cyber officers) are women. With this awareness and also, in general,  

there was a need for women and women to  be helped to reach those next-level roles.   Even just being and creating an environment  of comradery where we can help each other,   we lift each other, we provide transparency. Transparency is a prerequisite to equity.   Transparency is a prerequisite to  being able to present opportunity.  

There is a way you navigate career paths, and  there is a way to teach people to do that.  And so, we started incubating this idea. What  started as just a moment of inspiration got into   then vetting the idea. What could this look like?  Not letting perfect be the enemy of progress. Just   speaking with other women, like-minded women that  are passionate as me, and then starting a group. 

In the early days, it was just literally  three, four, five of us got together. It   was a WhatsApp chat group, so we included  women into that WhatsApp chat group,   and we connected on various topics: • Hey, what's going on?  • What are you doing here? • There is this problem,   cyber security issue. • How are you   addressing that, this talent situation? • I need to prepare and present to my board.  • How are you approaching this particular  topic? What questions to anticipate.  • How can we lift others? We grew, and we set this   community up based on invitation only. We do have  a certain criteria that we're very curious about,  

and then it grew. Five became ten. I  literally remember those first few days.  With a last name like mine, it does take  a little bit more influence and convincing   of who this is, what's your agenda. Then we  found those women who are equally passionate in   giving to others as well as receiving. We are now  about 200, 200+, I would say, and we matriculated  

from a WhatsApp chat group to a Slack platform. Certainly, the topics range in a multitude of   possibilities. Helping each other is  certainly paramount. We launched Lift,   which is about lifting other women, the next  generation of women who are at the C-level minus   one, which Diana was very much part of that  initiative in mentoring and developing women.  We set ourselves goals. We're very goal-driven,  mission-driven, principles-driven, purpose-driven,  

and goals-driven. Just like we bring the whole  self of what we do at work, we bring it to T200.  Entirely voluntary, so it's a 501(c)(3). Diana  and I worked very closely together to get it   registered as a not-for-profit. We  have a formal board, and we both sit  

on the board along with a few other women. We are thriving. We are helping each other,   which in itself is a great story, what  we got together, and lifting up the next   generation is an even greater story. Diana, let me pose this to you.   What is the fundamental challenge when it  comes to women in senior leadership roles?  These women, having access to role  models, advocates, and mentors.   If they don't have these, then it's increasingly  challenging for them to have the transparency   that Suja referenced earlier to understand  what opportunities exist in the environment.  It's challenging for them because  they don't necessarily know   and/or appreciate the importance  of building those external networks   and ensuring that while they're heads-down doing  what they're trying to do inside their company,   they also understand what the broader context is  for what they could be bringing to the company   to drive the business of the company.  These unequal growth opportunities,  

you learn about those opportunities  by engaging with networks.  There's a misperception that women  have that they must have all the skills   before they apply for a job, and it's not  a perception that's shared by many men.   And so, the opportunity to have someone who would  advocate, sponsor for them, and take the risk.  I'll give you a specific example. When I  was a senior manager at Eli Lilly & Company,   there was a new director of architecture  and strategy position had been formed.   I had a very powerful (in my mind) mentor,  advocate, who advocated for me to step into   that role before I might have been ready. I would say the same thing  

was the case for me when I stepped into the  CIO role at Amgen. Bob Bradway recognized   that I might not be ready but advocated for me  to take that role. I will forever be grateful   to those advocates for helping  me take that next step.  Contributing in a male-dominated setting and being  heard is something that we hear a lot about women,   and it impacts their confidence if they don't feel  like they're being heard. In reality, it may not  

have anything to do with whether they are being  heard or not being heard, but the fact that they   lack the context because the men that are in the  room have a different context to the networks they   participate in that the women don't. I'll continue  to come back to the networking point as well.  I would say the last thing that is a challenge  just overall is 74% of young women express a   desire for a STEM career, yet the reinforcement  of that career opportunity fades such that by   the time they get to a university, they don't  choose those careers. Or even if they apply   to university, the admission requirements are so  difficult that they're unable to bridge the gap. 

I think there are a number of factors that play  into this that we as a community of leaders (both   men and women) can help to address to grow the  number of women in these senior leadership roles.  Is this a bias issue? Is it an  access to information issue? What's   going on? What are the dynamics at play here? Even if let's say there are some skills to be   built, where do you focus? We all grow  up in different elements of the ladder.   We play different roles. What skills to focus  on? What leadership competencies to develop?   Also, how do you communicate those stories, and  how do you communicate it in a way that resonates?  This is hiring a chief technology officer, hiring  a chief digital officer. It's not easy for the   CEO (and sometimes the boards). It is a role  that spans the entire spectrum of the company.  

Transformations are difficult. Change is  always difficult. And so, it's an equally   challenging role for the C-suite and the board. For us to be able to teach and help women   to make those connections, not just the network  but you're in the conversation, and how do you   connect with a person you're speaking to in  a way that you can tell what you have done   and show the credibility of what you bring to the  table, that is one thing we do fairly frequently.   It's that perspective of lifting up, looking  at your story of what you've accomplished,   everything you've done, and then presenting it  in a way that's relevant to that conversation. 

The other angle I would say is it's a  double whammy when there are not enough of   somebody in a particular role. Let's say there  aren't enough women. Even today, there's 18%   of C-level tech leaders, digital leaders  – call it whatever – only 18% are women.  When you don't have enough, and then the  pyramid is sort of consistent. I would   say your lead tech in the cloud, you wouldn't  see a woman in a cloud data center for miles.  When you don't see enough, you can't believe  in it. That goes not just for the women who  

are aspiring. It also goes to people that  are hiring. So, there is an element of   turning around and telling these stories  in forums like this and in other forums,   so there is the believability so that  when you look at a particular role,   you can also envision a woman in that role. This is a true story, and it happened.   There was a group of people that went to an  event. There was one woman, a token woman, in   that group. Nobody believed she was an engineer.  They thought she was there to take notes.   She started, this woman, somewhere in the nation  – I forget where – this hashtag #imawomanengineer. 

It goes with an example. It goes both ways.  One is if there aren't enough role models,   what can women aspire to? But it also is  enough of, if you don't see, there isn't the   believability. We create that overall experience. Of course, the advocacy. Advocacy for each other,   women lifting women, presenting them with  the opportunities, those are all very much   necessary in order to address the access topic. When Suja and I met for the first time in (I think   it was) 2019, Suja had been on this journey with  the T200 community to build T200. I had moved to  

the Bay Area in 2016 to take the role at Workday. Shortly after moving to that area, I had the   opportunity to start meeting some of the  other technology leaders in the Bay Area.   I was surprised to find that quite  a few of these leaders were women. 

I was surprised because even when I was at Amgen  and I would make trips to the Bay Area to attend   the VC community gatherings for chief technology  officers and information officers, or some of the   larger software vendors' annual customer meetings,  I literally was 1 of 2 women in a sea of 40 men.  There wasn't any desire for that bias to exist.  it just did because there was no network of women   going to these events. Therefore,  the men went and the women didn't.  That's what caused us to start the  Silicon Valley Women's CIO Network.   A couple of us said, "This is just silly,"  because there's so much that we can learn   and also contribute in these events that will take  us all back to our companies and make us better,   make our teams better, make our companies better. When Suja and I met, we actually bridged those  

two groups. We still have the Silicon Valley  Women's CIO Network with a very special set of   relationships between now over 40 women, but  many of these women are also part of T200.  That's one story about bias. I think the second one, if we  

take it up to 100,000 feet, there really  is scarcely a company or an organization   anywhere in the world that isn't undergoing  some sort of transformation to become a more   digital company. Every company, so it's not just  technology companies anymore; it's every company.  That pivot is creating incredible demand for these  specialized roles that Suja referenced earlier:   technology, product, data, cyber security,  human-centered design. On the boards on which   I sit and the companies that I advise, one of the  biggest challenges is hiring, filling all of their   open jobs with the talent they need. If we continue to limit the supply   to a subset of the population that's out there  and capable of contributing, not only will these   companies not be able to compete and hit their  goals, but it could be an existential threat for   their ability to survive and exist in this  world that's becoming increasingly digital. 

You think about then the social impact  of companies in the healthcare and the   financial services sector and the fact that  they're adopting artificial intelligence and   machine learning models over these large  data sets. But we know that these data sets   are inherently flawed because of the biases  that are introduced because care delivery   in the healthcare setting or the services that  are delivered to populations have historically   not included everyone from a diverse demographic. When we think about who better to solve those   problems, ensure that the technology solutions  that are being built in these companies   are representative of the customer  and stakeholder population,   it's just super important from a social impact  perspective that we solve this problem not just   from how do we make everybody feel good that we  have good, diverse representation in the company.  We have a very interesting question from Twitter.  This is from Arsalan Khan, who is a regular  

listener and asks such great questions. Thank  you for that, Arsalan. He says this: "What do   you think is the role of societal patriarchy that  can affect women in technology and engineering?"   He's wanting to know really about the broader  social roots, the underlying context that enables   this situation to exist and perpetuate. It's certainly what we do in our homes   with our children, boys and girls.  What we do with them plays a huge role.  If you look at the history and a track  record of any successful man or woman,   they would always say they would go a  parent, a mother or father, a teacher,   a mentor that they met in their  younger age. That plays a huge role.  My mother, for example, said you can be  whatever you want. You put your mind to it.   You find what you're good at. You find what  you enjoy. Then you be the best at that. 

She never stopped me, even though I was  raised in India, which is generally a lot   more patriarchal than other societies. I went  to engineering school, I went to tech school,   and I came through that path. But I was quite surprised sometimes   when I come to the U.S. This is a true  story. A friend of ours, her daughter,   she went to school in SoCal. The high school  that she went to, her high school counselor  

discouraged her from doing a tech curriculum. Her high school teacher – I'm talking ten years   back. I'm not talking medieval ages. Ten years  back, a teenage girl at that point was discouraged   from doing that, and she picked her second-best  interest, which was Japanese. Language is always   a great thing. It opens up new frontiers. All  that is great, but her real passion was tech. 

She ended up coming back into tech afterward,  but she lost some wonderful years during the   time when she could be spending time learning.  That kid is now an amazing software programmer.   She works for one of the large studios here  in California. She's coding animation. She's   sitting with software engineers, so she calls  me and talks to me and gets counseled from me.  Yes, absolutely, everybody plays a role.  There is a fair amount of discouragement. 

Both in my prior jobs as well as  even in general, I reach out to   high school students. It is important  to catch the girls in their sixth grade,   seventh grade, eighth grade. Those are very  formative years. Show them the role models.  This is common knowledge. When the television  series X-Files came about, there were a lot of   girls and women who became detectives. How  many role models do we have that are software   engineers coding code in movies? Where are we  seeing that women are stepping up and solving   complex cybersecurity problems? Let's see  that in society. Let's see that everywhere. 

Let's talk about that to girls and boys.  I'm not about neglecting our boy children,   our male children, but it certainly is  necessary that we encourage our women,   our female children, to focus and encourage them. Yeah, it is going to be hard. Okay, so heck yeah.   We can solve it. We can address it. It is  going to be a lot of work, but we can do it. 

Surrounding them with those kinds of environments  so that they can thrive. Yes, absolutely.   Families, societal, school environments,  mentors, friends, everybody plays a crucial role.  Diana, picking up off of this, we have another  question from Twitter. This is from Wayne Anderson   who says, "Companies like Microsoft who do care  intensely about overcoming bias are having trouble   getting candidates in many roles. What are we  not doing? Do we need to invest in STEM and user   groups? But it's very hard to hire people." I'll just comment that this is true for both   men and women, in general. But still,  there is this perception that, hey,  

we want to hire a woman but we're not getting  enough qualified candidates. What about that?  I think the perception is reality.  I actually happen to have a son who   manages a technical recruiting group in  tech as well, and we talk a lot about this.  I think if we go back to how Suja  answered the former question,   there is no question a pipeline challenge for us.  In 1985, 37% of the computing degrees were women.   Today, it's 18%, so that number has declined. One of the opportunities for us is to focus on  

that, quite frankly, zero to K to 12 continuum to  ensure that we're doing everything in our power,   both men and women, focused on women  and racial-ethnic diversity as well,   in that pipeline to attract these  young people to technology careers.  I do think a big challenge that we faced  through those years when the dot-com era   was big, when there was sort of a hacking  mentality, a gaming mentality that came to   engineering roles is it was difficult for  women, young women, to find a place there.  But in reality, I think we all know, Microsoft  knows, that technology is a means to an end.   In essence, what we're really trying  to do is solve business problems,   and we're trying to do it creatively. Being a technologist gives you the tools  

to solve business problems in very creative  and artistic ways. I think if we can tell the   story different to young women as they're coming  through these earlier years of their schooling,   to engage them, it makes a big difference. I also think that where we are now, there's an   opportunity to demonstrate (as you've suggested)  as a company, that there's a real commitment to   creating a diverse workforce. In doing  so, the ability to attract and retain   the talent that you want to have  represented in your workforce increases. 

But in addition to that, there may be some other  steps that can be taken. The first of those   would be to ensure that all of the men inside the  company—when we're talking about a gender-specific   issue—have a commitment to mentor and advocate  for a balanced slate of talent inside the company:   men, women, racially diverse, et cetera. In addition to that, making sure that   there's flexibility in how the networks are pulled  together. How do teams gather outside of work? How  

do they gather inside of work? In this new space  of flex working, how do you make sure everybody   has an opportunity to participate when we're  working around work-life balance priorities?  Then lastly, many companies are suspending  the expectation or the requirement to hire   someone with a degree. There are a number  of technology positions that people can   apply for and contribute inside a company and  start to work on their degree while they're there.  There also is the opportunity to reskill employees  that are already there who have an interest   and an aptitude for technology. There are multiple ways to get there,  

notwithstanding the fact that our pool  right now is not as great as it needs to be   and that needs to be a priority for the nation.  Suja, Diana was just describing the  intention to create a balanced and diverse   workforce. Beyond the intention, what  should organizations be doing in order   to make this happen and address these issues? I'll start with a couple of stories. One is  

women do drop out of universities  even after starting a tech path.  A colleague of mine, her daughter started  in a BS engineering, computer science.   She did the freshman year. She did  the sophomore year. Then she gave up.  It was too hard. She was not part of  the groups that were working together   for better grades. She didn't feel good. Her  grades were slipping, so she dropped off. 

A pipeline problem has to be relentless,  consistent, catching women where they are   not starting in the line or they are dropping off  the pipeline. We have to create a very consistent   mechanism in creating and watch out for those. I will also tell, in general, there is a drive   for talent and this happened in my own family. One  of my family members, a young kid, she came home   for Thanksgiving. She said she's been working  60-hour weeks for the last 2 years straight.  She was taking her first weekend  off, and then her boss called   and said, "You have to work. Get back to work." The kid was sitting there crying, and I went and   spoke to her and find out, "Why are you crying?" She said, "I hadn't taken a day off,   and I was working 60 hours every day the last 2  years through COVID, and then the first time I   was going to take a day off during Thanksgiving  and I can't because I have to get back to work." 

I said, "It'll be fine." I calmed her down. She  got her work done, and then she went. And then   she looked for a job for a couple of weeks. She quit the previous job, which is with one   of the blue-chip large companies. I don't  want to name them. She went and now she's  

coding autonomous vehicles with another  company. A top-notch software engineer.  This is happening around everybody. This is  not just a woman thing. We have to watch out.  When I probed a little bit deeper with her what  happened, "Why do you have to work so hard? Nobody   should be doing that, and aren't your teammates  working? What exactly is happening?" she said   there have been open accounts and they haven't  filled it for two years. This is one of the   richest, multi-trillion valuation company. This is a tough situation. We need to help  

everybody lift up. What have we done practically?   I believe in setting very clear goals. At CommonSpirit Health, we had to hire   quite a few people. We've hired 500+  people in the last couple of years. 

We gave ourselves a goal that we should meet a  goal of 30% of women and people of diversity.   It was both. It was not just women. It  was women and people of diversity, 30%.  It's interesting. When you set these  goals, there are different perspectives.  

All perspectives are valid, but it's  interesting to reread those patterns.  There was a group that said, "Are we stupid? How  are we going to get the goals? There are not 30%   women to get the goals. There aren't 30%  women that are going to be available."  Then the other group said, "Why 30%?  It should be 50%. Did you look around  

the society? 50% of us are women." I knew I wasn't going to win that game,   but I said, "You know what? We need  to set 30%. We'll see where we get."  It was not easy, but I give  great credit to my organization.   We achieved a 40% of our new hires were women  and people of diverse backgrounds – 40%. When we   did that, now we have amped up our goal. It is at  least 40%, and the subsequent hiring needs to be  

even farther than that. Now, I'm in healthcare,   and health tech is in an interesting situation.  There is a general challenge for women in tech,   and healthcare even more of a tougher environment  because of the hours, and especially in COVID in   the frontline of the battle, so we have to  work two times as hard to make this happen.  There was a comment that's floating around, which  I thought would be good to share with you all.  

"Diversity just doesn't happen  because you talk about numbers.   When the leader practices diversity,  inclusion and belong follows instinctively."  The whole continuum of the long game, the whole  continuum of being included, the whole continuum   of access. You hire in the 10, 15 years back,  it's very easy to find one person, one woman in a   group, very easy to find one person of color in a  group because there was a tokenization of checking   the box and counting a number. But certainly  today, the focus is around diversity, inclusion,  

equity, belonging, and access. That continuum is what is needed,   not just to bring in people, but also to  keep them there because, without that access,   they are not going to thrive. Without  that sense of belonging gives the clarity.  I lived this. I go into a room and I'm the only  woman in the room or only person of color. It  

creates a mental dissonance. You have to gather  yourself a little bit more to be fully present   in that event. You practice it, and you get  better at it. But people who are just pushed   into those environments, we have to help them. The environment needs to be accepting and  

belonging. Then accept the diversity  of perspectives that they bring.   It's not about just bringing someone  because it's nice to have that box   checked, but when they say something different. Women tend to be a lot more nurturing and caring.   Women tend to be a lot more focused  on people. I put people first.  

When women do that, then focus on that. Hear that. Definitely, there is a meaning and a larger   purpose to it than just the morality of  it. Morality is important—not any less—but   there is a clear economic value because ultimately  it's in the diversity of those perspectives that   the right decisions come about. Give them the space to speak.  

Give your voice a place. Those are some  of the tips I would offer, Michael.  We have another question coming  in from Twitter. You can see   I prioritize the questions that come in from  the audience. They're always great questions.  This is from Emma McDonald who's picking up on  something you both discussed a little bit earlier.  

She's saying, "Can you comment on the  impact to a woman's career progression   related to working from home over these  last two years that you guys have discussed   and it's been in the press recently?" Suja, I'll pick up, and then you can build.  The most recent statistic is that the quit  rate, if you will, for women in tech roles   in 2021 was 53%, which just continues to  build on this conversation we've been having.  Because they were at home, their children  (if they had children) were also at home,   and they were trying to manage the work and the  school schedules. And in many cases, mom and dad  

were both at home, or mother and their partner  were at home, trying to manage the children. It   was a challenge for everyone, but it demonstrated  itself in terms of statistics more for the women.  I think the benefit now, as we emerge from the  pandemic and we're seeing companies embrace   more flexible working conditions, is we have  an opportunity to go someplace that we weren't   necessarily able to go before from a flexibility  standpoint. There are women who are able to get up   in the morning, take their kids to school,  work, go pick their kids up from school,   and then get back on at night. Having that  additional flexibility in their calendar   addresses some of the challenges that  caused a number of them to back away. 

I think, to your point, the  question about inclusion   is a question not only for women but it's also a  question for anybody that is going to spend the   vast majority of their time working from home when  there are people in the office and the two have to   interact with each other. There is this element of  intentionality that Suja was referencing earlier   that flows through this entire conversation  all the way back to the paternalistic question   that we got. That is, if the success of your  company and your ability to compete is dependent   upon the quality of the talent you have in your  workplace, and your goal is to engage that talent,   retain that talent, develop that talent, then as a  leadership team, you have to do everything in your   power to make sure you're creating an environment  that engages and promotes inclusiveness.  It's a very different way of operating than many,  many companies operated prior to the pandemic. I   think there are a lot of companies that are still  figuring it out but, ultimately, it comes down to   the role the manager plays in ensuring that  they're creating an inclusive environment for   their team regardless of whether they're working  from home, they're working from inside the office,   and/or they represent gender or racial diversity. I think, ultimately, we have to ask the question,  

what should companies be doing? Three things, and it's definitely   at the organizations but it's also the  individuals. Here is what I mean by that.  I don't believe the playbooks of the work  from home, the hybrid work environment,   the playbooks have not been shaped  and clear yet. They're not clear yet.   I think it is evolving, and we are going to be  learning over the next several months and years.  Tools and technologies are better but they need  to mature and emerge in a much further way,   and we are all part of shaping that industry also.  Action for managers: creating that environment,   creating that rich environment. Examples: chat groups. Watercooler  

conversations have completely stopped,  so create those informal chat groups.   Create informal environments so people can come  and thrive. Create an equitable work environment.   Create opportunities to work asynchronously. What it takes in your specific company situation   so that everybody can be included and, in  particular, the women can take advantage of it.  To Diana's point, women have been lopsidedly  impacted because typically they have been the   caregivers for the young age as well as the  senior caregiving is also with the women.  

Give them that space. Create the  environment. That is for the organizations   and the environment to prepare and produce. Now, as an individual, we also have a role to   play. To the person who brought up the question,  I love her for asking that question because   she's reflecting on it, she's thinking about it. Two things happened. One is, through the work from   home, the introverts started thriving because a  lot of it is on chat and that is an element of not   being able to speak up, but I am okay to think  about my sentence and put it on chat. Whereas in   a meeting, an extrovert or people who generally  tend to speak, they take over the conversations.  

So, people could leverage and take advantage  of some of the modalities that introverts and   women tend to be a little bit more on the  introverted side, especially women in tech,   so they can start taking advantage of those. But thinking through influence techniques,   every individual needs to do that. How  I influence, how I engage with my peers,   how I engage with my leaders, how I engage  with my organization, what do I need to do?  Engaging with the networks was much easier  when you just went on a conference and you   grabbed coffee with someone. You had a meal  with someone. You just waved to someone. You   gave them a casual hug on the way between  conference sessions. Those are all gone. 

When you're doing that on Zoom, it is even more  intentionality to create that similar networking   environment. To some people, it actually can be  an advantage because if you see social media,   the introverts started getting engaged a lot  on social media, in general, ten years back.  Intentionally thinking through individual's  influence mechanisms, all things considered,   where we are, is also up to the  individual as well. I'm sure there's   a lot of coaching and teaching that can be done. I will finish what I said, Michael. I don't think  

the playbooks are written yet. We're all learning.  Personally, I worry a lot about my organization   and am I doing enough. I think we have to think  about it and talk about it and create that more.  What should women do when they  observe bias in the workplace?  I'm going to share a story about when this  happened with me and how I handled it. I think the   first thing any woman needs to do is take a step  back and seek to understand what just happened.  It doesn't mean that it wasn't intentional  bias, but trying to understand,   first, sort of allows the perspective  to then say, "As I approach the person   that generated the bias (or said the sexually  harassing remark), were they aware of how that   landed on me? Were they aware that  that wasn't acceptable? Ultimately,   can we get to closure on that so that I  can see if it's going to happen again?"  Then if it doesn't happen again, we sort of circle  back to the conversation we've been having. "Hey,  

this environment may not be an environment that  truly values diversity, equity, inclusion, and   there are so many environments out there that are  emphasizing this right now. Maybe the right place   for me to be is in one of those environments." What I'll say is when I was very first promoted   to director – and I referenced that earlier – our  CIO at the time was getting a lot of pressure from   the executive management at the company that he  didn't have enough women on his leadership team. 

I was told by the HR executive director that I  was given the promotion because I was a woman   and that all of my peers (male), some of  them had some concerns about my promotion   and they had been given 90 days to schedule  time with me to tell me what their concern was.  How does anybody step into a role,  after they've been told they were   promoted because they were a woman, and then  deliver (for the first 90 days of their job)   wondering where the target is on their back? I had that conversation with the HR director,   and I said I am not waiting 90 days. Within  the next week, I scheduled one-on-ones with   every single one of my new peers and had  a conversation with them asking for open,   candid feedback about what their concerns  were about my ability to perform in this role. 

Ultimately, there's no question there were  feedback and observations for me in terms of how I   participated, influenced, et cetera. But  ultimately, I ended up being exceedingly   successful in the role, and some of these  individuals that I worked with at the time, I   continue to stay very connected to in my network. I think, at the outset, allowing a bad situation   to take things in a more negative direction  without trying to address it head-on, you're   missing the opportunity to potentially educate  and improve the environment for other women. 

Suja, we're just about out of time,  so very quickly, what can men do?  Every woman will tell you there were men along the  way that helped to lift them. The allyship, the   kinship, the understanding of the circumstances,  the willingness to reach and lift them.  Many men come to us and say, "Hey.  My mom was a big player in my life.  

I have my daughter. I worry about my two  daughters. I want them to have role models."  Give them confidence. Women generally tend to  be low in confidence. There's a beautiful book   called Confidence Code. Give them confidence. Be  their cheerleaders. Don't call them emotional.   Watch out for the biases that Diana talked  about. You can be their sponsor, advocate. 

Women cannot do it by ourselves. We  need women and men to work together   to create an equitable work  environment for everybody.  Unfortunately, we're out of time. A huge  thank you to Suja Chandra and to Diana   McKenzie. Thank you both so much for taking time  to be here today. I really am grateful to you. 

Michael, thank you. It was a pleasure. Thank you, Michael.  Suja, always a pleasure. Thank you, Diana.  Everybody, thank you for watching. Before you  go, please subscribe to our YouTube channel.   Hit the subscribe button at the top of our website  so we can send you our newsletter. Tell a friend.   Check out We have amazing shows  coming up. You really should subscribe to the   newsletter. We'll see you next time.  Have a great day, everybody. Bye-bye.

2022-03-25 13:59

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