Diversity Woman Magazine

SPR 2019

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

Issue link: https://diversitywoman.epubxp.com/i/1096324

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36 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N S p r i n g 2 0 1 9 d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m "First, frankly, it is about your physical presence," she says. "You need to stand tall, so people see you. You must exude con- fidence, whether you feel it or not, so people believe you, believe what you are saying. I'm talking specifically about body language. "Secondly, I've learned that men have short attention spans. But of- ten women want to set the context, before they get to the point, to be sure that the point is understood. Given the reality, it is really impor- tant to first make the point and then go into the context. at way, if you get cut off, people will hear you making the point. Women tell me how frustrating it is to make a point, and then five minutes later a man makes the same point—and he gets all the credit." Brown-Philpot says that as a black woman CEO, she is subject to death by a thousand microaggressions—and has come up with her own way of combating them. "Ever since I left Detroit, where my high school was 98 percent black, I have been only one of very few black women in college and in my career," she says. "What typically happens is that people are surprised when they find out I am the CEO of a tech company. For example, I will sit down on a plane, exchange niceties with the person next to me, such as, 'What do you do?' When I tell them I run a company, they invariably ask, 'What kind of company?' 'A tech company,' I say. is is often a shocking moment for people. Archambeau attributes much of her career success to intention- ality. "I am probably different from many people in that I decided ear- ly on I wanted to be a CEO," says Archambeau, who is now retired from MetricStream but still serves on several corporate boards and is an advisor to companies. "I am a big believer in building a plan and executing it." Brown-Philpot also came to technology circuitously. She took a computer class in high school in Detroit, but as she recalls, nobody told her about the field of engineering. "If you were smart, you became a doctor or lawyer back then," she says. But she was good at math and, after graduating from the Wharton School of Business, forged a career in finance on Wall Street. In 1999, she was asked to close some tech deals—and she was hooked. "It was exciting to see how these Silicon Valley com- panies created value," she says. Brown-Philpot moved west and attended Stanford Business School. While interning at a venture capital firm, she realized that she would prefer working for a company that created value. She joined Google in 2003, when it had a relatively modest staff of a thousand. Over the next nine years (and another 49,000 employees), she went from managing 14 employees to more than a thousand. In 2012, she became Google's senior director of global consumer operations— and was soon ready to move on to the next challenge. In 2013, she joined TaskRabbit as its COO. In 2016, she was promoted to CEO. A year later, she led the company's successful sale to IKEA. Washington also didn't start in the sector she ended up in. She began in finance but didn't enjoy it. When Tandem Computers in Cupertino offered her a job, she jumped at it and moved to Silicon Valley. "I thought long and hard about what I wanted and where I want- ed to go—and decided I wanted a fun place to work, where I could learn about operations," says Washington. She next moved on to PeopleSoft as a senior vice president and controller. But when the company was bought by Oracle, she went to Hyperion Solutions, where she was able to fulfill her ambition to become a CFO. In 2008, she made the leap across sectors, to biotech, when Gilead Sciences hired her as its CFO. "Eventually we came up with a product that cured hepatitis C, and it was awesome to be part of it," Washington says. "I had learned something important about myself—I needed to work at a company where I believe in its mission and role." Leaping over barriers The statistics are clear: women are drastically outnumbered by men in technology and STEM. According to Catalyst, women in the United States made up just 25 percent of those in math and computer occupations in 2016. And the metrics for women of col- or are starker. e same study showed that women of color made up less than 10 percent of the workforce in STEM roles in 2015. So Archambeau says the first challenge for women in tech, par- ticularly women of color, is being taken seriously, and being heard. The Leadership Challenge for Women in STEM Stacy Brown-Philpot "Every person in the company is responsible for creating diversity in their area."

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