In 2015, we had a conversation with a Nashville CTO about their struggle hiring female technology talent in their company. They were embarrassed to say that less than 10 percent of their IT team was made up of women. Sadly, they are not alone.
Most companies struggle when it comes to diversifying their workforce, and recruiting female candidates from other companies wasn’t going to solve the problem. It was just going to create a revolving door of candidates as companies just keep outbidding one another and inflating salaries.
On a local and national level, there are so many great women-focused and IT networking groups. They all individually do an incredible job of getting women together to network and speak about the issues that plague them working in a male-dominated industry. But what was missing? How can we be different?
When we were first thinking about starting WomenGetIT, we had lunch with a friend who had made a name for herself in the technology industry in Nashville. During our lunch, she mentioned that after earning her Master’s degree in Information Systems, she almost took a job selling insurance coming out of school. She remembers the struggle to find a position in technology, and it wasn’t due to her lack of knowledge or skills. She didn’t have anyone to speak with about the barriers to entry and had no network to offer her support. Sadly, her story is not unusual or unique.
So, what’s the solution?
- How do we add net new women into the world of technology?
- How do we reach out to and engage the women who are on the verge of entering IT?
- How do we make it less intimidating for more women to join in?
We started WomenGetIT as an answer to all of these questions. Our mission is to connect local IT leaders to future tech talent and provide them with mentorship and support. Our target audience consists of a variety of backgrounds, including STEM major students, junior technologists, women who are mid-career and interested in changing their career, and women who are looking to re-enter the workforce after raising their families.
This is how our mentoring live events are formatted:
- Each mentoring event has 7-9 table discussion leaders. The table discussion leaders are leaders in the tech industry in the local area. The discussion leaders pick their own topics of discussion. Previous table topics have included:
- How to Reinvent Yourself
- Trust me, I’m Agile
- Innovation or Die
- Navigating a tech career without a CS degree
- For 90 minutes, the table leaders lead discussions on their topic. All members of the table are encouraged to participate – asking questions, sharing stories, and giving advice to other group participants.
- We firmly believe that everyone has something to give and everyone has something to learn. They goal is that everyone come away with at least one actionable item that they can implement in their life.
This is not your average networking event. You aren’t just trading business cards, shaking hands, and connecting on LinkedIn. We have created a platform where our members are creating real, meaningful relationships. By coming to our events, you are a part of something special. You are a part of a tribe.
Over these past few years, we have received an overwhelmingly positive response from IT leaders locally and across the world. Hand in hand, they are helping us lead the pack and make a difference in the lives of these women.