By: Kim Keating
For the last 20 years, I’ve worked to build a career in high-tech and telco. During that time I’ve seen the role of women in workplace evolve and grow. Certainly, we’ve made strides. But, are we there yet? Not by a long shot.
A few weeks ago, I joined women leaders from AT&T, Accenture, Catalyst, Neiman Marcus and Salesforce to discuss this very topic. We shared how we’re accelerating progress for women in the workplace and how we’re paving it forward. Your eyes saw that right. We believe owning the opportunity to “pave” the road ahead creates opportunities for ourselves—and others. It’s a subject near and dear to my heart. And I quickly learned that evening, it’s an important topic to many others here in Dallas.
The fact is progress for women in executive roles continues to remain static, as Catalyst SVP of Global Operations, Catherine Corley, stated when she kicked off the night. There’s been more focus and attention from the media and Fortune 500 companies, but it’s not really moving the needle. A hefty amount of the resources available on this topic are geared to teach women how to thrive in the workforce. Catherine summed up what we all feel passionately about here, “It’s not the women that need fixing; it’s the workplace that needs fixing.”
How can the workplace change? An engaging panel discussion led by John Donovan provided valuable insight. John is an Executive SVP at AT&T and a tremendous advocate for women in business. He shared the stage with Salesforce’s Maria Martinez, AT&T’s Brooks McCorcle, Accenture’s Katie Costigan and Neiman Marcus’ Georgia Christensen. Each talked about their own career strategies, overcoming stereotypes, engaging men as allies, inclusive leadership and the need to not only find mentors and advocates, but being a good advocate for others. After the panel, Salesforce’s Peter Coffee ended the evening with his takeaways and with our direction— what every attendee in the room must change tomorrow. Find ways to advocate for others. Insert your voice into the discussion. And without question, don’t wait for others to force the change. Be the one to move the needle.
It was exciting to be with 125 like-minded, passionate women and men. But more importantly, we left with a renewed sense of ownership and conviction for driving change at all levels of the workforce. For me, it was an honor to co-chair the event and be another spark accelerating progress for women in leadership positions today and for future generations.
Catherine said it best – the workplace needs to be fixed. As we look into 2016, we can’t wait to do even more. And, we invite everyone to join us! Progress has been made over recent years, but let’s encourage everyone to fix the workplace for greater diversity and gender equality. It’s on all of us to pay it forward… Or as we believe, #PaveItForward.
Additional story resources
– See more at: http://about.att.com/newsroom/accelerating_women_leadership_opportunities.html#sthash.vcsVChYM.dpuf