Diversity Woman Magazine

SPR 2019

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

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38 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 management or people skills to succeed," she says. "ey need training." Further, she says, currently it is incumbent on the diverse person to fit in, but it must be a two-way street. "As a manager, make sure you are listening and understand what your employees need," she advises. "It is always harder for women, African Ameri- cans, and Hispanic and disabled people to come into a group where they are the minority and to feel part of the group. Compa- nies need to figure how to do that because if they don't, valuable employees who don't feel part of the group are not going to stay very long." e attrition rate in tech companies is higher for women than men, especially women of color. For example, a 2018 Catalyst study on "emotional tax"—the state of being on guard, con- sciously preparing to deal with potential bias or discrimination— reveals that 60 percent of men and women of color surveyed feel that on a day-to-day basis they are subject to this "tax" and that they are more likely to leave their company earlier than those who don't feel on guard all the time. Washington says companies need to crunch the data differently to find out why. "Companies look at the data on attrition, but they look at it as a whole," she says. "ey need instead to break it down, by gender, race, etcetera. I call it a 'mirror test.'" Leaders need to ask, why are the attrition numbers higher for those who don't look like me than for those who do look like me? "Once you have those numbers comes the harder part—you have to figure out how to change them," Washington says. "Every- one in that company, especially managers, needs to ask himself or herself, 'Am I creating an environment where people can be successful, regardless of race or gender?' Executives need to hold themselves accountable." One pathway toward creating an inclusive workplace is through af- finity groups, such as employee resource groups (ERGs). ese groups are common in large companies. However, Archambeau believes that there is a way for many affinity groups to be more effective. "At least 10 percent, ideally more, of those participating in any given ERG should not be from that group," she says. "So if the African American affinity group has only African American mem- bers, they are just talking to themselves. At times, that is helpful, to let our hair down. But all that rich understanding of differences and how that can elevate a team or company come from talking to everyone, not just those in your group. It is important to have champions from management who are not naturally part of that group represented." W hile the responsibility for career advancement for women in tech and STEM occupations is a two-way street, the truth is that much of the burden still falls on the job seeker. ese successful women share their perspectives on how others can reach the pinnacle of their fields. As mentioned earlier, all three are proponents of tak- ing risks. But there are other techniques too. "First, set some goals for yourself," says Brown-Philpot. "Put timelines around those goals. at doesn't mean ev- erything will happen exactly as you mapped it. But you can see if you are on track before you wake up at 40 and see this is not where you thought you would be." Mentors and sponsors are also important. In Brown-Philpot's case, it sure didn't hurt that one of her men- tors at Google was Sheryl Sandberg, then its vice president of glob- al online sales and operations. "Sheryl was the one who pulled me out of a finance role into an operations role," says Brown-Philpot. "In effect, that moved me from a junior to a senior management role. Mentors are important—in my case, she saw I had the ability to do the job and she gave me the opportunity to grow." Washington urges women to find not just mentors, but sponsors. "Sponsorship is critical, over and beyond mentorship," she says. In choosing a mentor or sponsor, be strategic, says Archambeau. "Not only should you find people who do the job you want, but also find mentors who do the job you have now," says Archam- beau. "You won't get that next job until you master this job." DW Jackie Krentzman is Diversity Woman's editor in chief. The Leadership Challenge for Women in STEM Shellye Archambeau "At least 10 percent, ideally more, of those participating in any given ERG should not be from that group."

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