International Women’s Day 2022 – breaking the bias through mentorship
"The more women help one another, the more we help ourselves. Acting like a coalition truly does produce results." - Sheryl Sandberg
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is “Break the Bias”. It’s no secret that within the tech industry, women only make up a small percentage of executive and senior level management. At Qualtrics, it is our mission to close experience gaps - and we’re not talking just at the company level. “We believe that by understanding human emotions, beliefs, sentiments and values, we will close some of the world’s biggest gaps: political misunderstandings, human rights issues, health care disparities, gender equality, education, and income. Because many of the world’s most pressing problems occur from a lack of understanding – and that’s a problem we can solve.” So how do we close this gap and achieve gender equality?
We lead by example. We want representation that matches the world around us, and inclusion that far exceeds this, so we use everything at our disposal to reduce or eliminate both conscious and unconscious bias from our organization, and hope that with our influence, we can be a guiding light for our customers to do the same.
At Qualtrics, we created Women's Leadership Development (WLD) to address the gender gap in tech through education, community support, and mentorship. When thinking about “Breaking the Bias”, mentorship is especially impactful because it’s a mutually beneficial relationship and has a multiplier effect. Mentors gain valuable leadership experience which is important (for women especially) to help gain transferable skills to enable them to move into leadership roles. Not only is it just the right thing to do, when women move into leadership roles at a company, amazing things happen. For example, 52% of employees say having women in leadership improves flexibility in the workplace. But that’s not all, when women see other women in leadership roles, they attract other women - hence the multiplier effect.
One of the most important things that happens, after women Break the Bias, is that they “build as they climb”, clearing a path for others behind them, and helping to bring others up. We've talked to our WLD group to hear stories of how they've been able to overcome or bypass bias by having stronger mentorship. Here are some of their stories:
|Katie Bell - Senior Solution Engineer in Dallas:
"Leadership and mentorship have played a very impactful role in my career. The way I approach and navigate situations is a testament to the leaders I have encountered over the years. I have been fortunate enough to develop trusting relationships with several of my direct managers which allows a safe space for me to be open and honest with what I expect from the current role I am serving within as well as talking through opportunities that exist for me in the future." Read her full story here.
|Rebeccah Kilty - Global Operations Manager in Provo:
"At HBS [Harvard Business School], I was incredibly lucky to have numerous women leaders who saw my potential and empowered me to grow with additional responsibilities and projects. I was transparent with them that higher education wasn't my passion and they in turn were enormous advocates on my path to business school.
I've also been incredibly impacted by those who show leadership even without holding an official title. Even without that formality, there's so much impact that we as individuals can make through our actions - this is something today I continue to stress to my team." Read her full story here.
|Folake Adewumi - Senior Solution Engineer, Toronto:
"Mentorship is a gift that keeps on giving. From editing my CV to pushing me toward my goals (sometimes calling me out if I’m not aiming high enough lol), navigating the workplace and helping me grow in my career, I can’t say enough the impact my mentors have had on my life and my career. Because of that, I don’t take any opportunity to mentor others for granted. It’s an absolute privilege." Read her full story here.
|Beth Neighbors - Solution Engineer in Chicago:
"I wouldn't be where I am today without some of the leaders and mentors that I've had along the way. In my early sales career I had a leader/mentor that truly cared about me as a person, advocated for me, and helped me reach my potential through various promotions and roles at that company. This also set me up for success in future roles.
My leaders and mentors at Qualtrics have been amazing, especially when it came to making career changes. I have mentors that have helped with everything from account strategy to having real, transparent conversations about my career goals and the best path for me." Read her full story here.
The great thing about mentorship is that you don’t have to be an executive to help someone in their career. Anyone can be a mentor. Julia Anas, Executive Sponsor of WLD and Chief People Officer at Qualtrics, often speaks of the importance of having your own personal board of directors. As we celebrate International Women's Day, we all strive to do better for the women who come after us, to #BreakTheBias where it still exists, and to create a world in which these conversations are no longer needed because parity exists. As you celebrate today, think about not only steps you have taken yourself, but who is in your corner, who's board of directors on which you serve, and what we can do to help each other create a better future for those around us.
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