Gender Diversity: Executive Women in Technology (CommonSpirit Health and Vertex) – CXOTalk #742

How does anybody step into a role, 
after they've been told they were   promoted because they were a woman, and then 
deliver (for the first 90 days of their job)   wondering where the target is on their back?
Women cannot do it by ourselves. We need   women and men to work together to create an 
equitable work environment for everybody.  That's Suja Chandrasekaran and Diana McKenzie 
explaining gender diversity. They formed an   organization called T200 to address this issue.
T200 was formed from acknowledging women in   tech is in record low numbers.

Certainly, there 
are systemic barriers created by headwinds,   and sometimes even tailwinds turn into headwinds.
Suja Chandra, welcome to CXOTalk. Please,   tell us about your work.
I lead digital and tech as Chief   Digital and Information Officer at CommonSpirit 
Health. We are a provider health system.   We operate in 21+ states and serve our 
communities across the care continuum.  My background prior to this has been, 
I've been a technologist business leader   at retail and consumer-focused industries. Marquee 
names that I've been a part of include Walmart.   I was Global Chief Technology Officer at Walmart.
I led various leadership roles and led   transformation at Nestle and, prior to 
CommonSpirit, I was at Kimberly-Clark.   I also sit on the board of American Eagle 
Outfitters, Loom Global (which is a digital   supply chain platform company), and Agendia, 

(where we focused on precision oncology   with a specific emphasis around breast cancer).
Women's health is a passion for me. I also spend   time mentoring and developing others, and 
we'll talk about that in the upcoming moments.  Diana, let me introduce you and welcome you 
back to CXOTalk. Tell us about your work.  I get the opportunity to serve on the boards of 
some very exciting companies, and I'm doing a   senior advisory role with a private equity company 
called Brighton Park Capital. I also engage   quite frequently with promising healthcare 
tech startups as an advisor and an investor.  That builds on 30 years of experience in 
life sciences, primarily in technology roles.   I spent the last nine years of 
my career in chief information   officer roles both at Amgen and at Workday.
Right now, probably the most exciting thing about   my life is that I get more time to focus on paying 
it forward. I spend a lot of my time mentoring   and advocating for women in technology and for 
people who live with brain health conditions.  You're both such accomplished business leaders. 
Suja, you started—and I believe Diana was involved   from the beginning—an organization called 
T200 that is dedicated to supporting women   in senior-level business and 
technology roles.

Tell us about T200.  Around the 2015-2016 timeframe, the women in 
tech numbers were regressing since the '90s when   I started my career. At that time, there were 
about 28% of overall people in tech were women.  At that time, it was regressing below those 
numbers. I may be off by a few points.   The numbers were still poor, still, about 37% of 
techs started to have only one woman director, 58%   of women were concerned about the venture 
capital funding gap, and only 15% of CICOs   (chief information cyber officers) are women.
With this awareness and also, in general,   there was a need for women and women to 
be helped to reach those next-level roles.   Even just being and creating an environment 
of comradery where we can help each other,   we lift each other, we provide transparency.
Transparency is a prerequisite to equity.   Transparency is a prerequisite to 
being able to present opportunity.   There is a way you navigate career paths, and 
there is a way to teach people to do that.  And so, we started incubating this idea.

started as just a moment of inspiration got into   then vetting the idea. What could this look like? 
Not letting perfect be the enemy of progress. Just   speaking with other women, like-minded women that 
are passionate as me, and then starting a group.  In the early days, it was just literally 
three, four, five of us got together. It   was a WhatsApp chat group, so we included 
women into that WhatsApp chat group,   and we connected on various topics:
• Hey, what's going on?  • What are you doing here?
• There is this problem,   cyber security issue.
• How are you   addressing that, this talent situation?
• I need to prepare and present to my board.  • How are you approaching this particular 
topic? What questions to anticipate.  • How can we lift others?
We grew, and we set this   community up based on invitation only.

We do have 
a certain criteria that we're very curious about,   and then it grew. Five became ten. I 
literally remember those first few days.  With a last name like mine, it does take 
a little bit more influence and convincing   of who this is, what's your agenda. Then we 
found those women who are equally passionate in   giving to others as well as receiving. We are now 
about 200, 200+, I would say, and we matriculated   from a WhatsApp chat group to a Slack platform.
Certainly, the topics range in a multitude of   possibilities. Helping each other is 
certainly paramount. We launched Lift,   which is about lifting other women, the next 
generation of women who are at the C-level minus   one, which Diana was very much part of that 
initiative in mentoring and developing women.  We set ourselves goals.

We're very goal-driven, 
mission-driven, principles-driven, purpose-driven,   and goals-driven. Just like we bring the whole 
self of what we do at work, we bring it to T200.  Entirely voluntary, so it's a 501(c)(3). Diana 
and I worked very closely together to get it   registered as a not-for-profit. We 
have a formal board, and we both sit   on the board along with a few other women.
We are thriving. We are helping each other,   which in itself is a great story, what 
we got together, and lifting up the next   generation is an even greater story.
Diana, let me pose this to you.   What is the fundamental challenge when it 
comes to women in senior leadership roles?  These women, having access to role 
models, advocates, and mentors.   If they don't have these, then it's increasingly 
challenging for them to have the transparency   that Suja referenced earlier to understand 
what opportunities exist in the environment.  It's challenging for them because 
they don't necessarily know   and/or appreciate the importance 
of building those external networks   and ensuring that while they're heads-down doing 
what they're trying to do inside their company,   they also understand what the broader context is 
for what they could be bringing to the company   to drive the business of the company. 
These unequal growth opportunities,   you learn about those opportunities 
by engaging with networks.  There's a misperception that women 
have that they must have all the skills   before they apply for a job, and it's not 
a perception that's shared by many men.   And so, the opportunity to have someone who would 
advocate, sponsor for them, and take the risk.  I'll give you a specific example.

When I 
was a senior manager at Eli Lilly & Company,   there was a new director of architecture 
and strategy position had been formed.   I had a very powerful (in my mind) mentor, 
advocate, who advocated for me to step into   that role before I might have been ready.
I would say the same thing   was the case for me when I stepped into the 
CIO role at Amgen. Bob Bradway recognized   that I might not be ready but advocated for me 
to take that role. I will forever be grateful   to those advocates for helping 
me take that next step.  Contributing in a male-dominated setting and being 
heard is something that we hear a lot about women,   and it impacts their confidence if they don't feel 
like they're being heard. In reality, it may not   have anything to do with whether they are being 
heard or not being heard, but the fact that they   lack the context because the men that are in the 
room have a different context to the networks they   participate in that the women don't.

I'll continue 
to come back to the networking point as well.  I would say the last thing that is a challenge 
just overall is 74% of young women express a   desire for a STEM career, yet the reinforcement 
of that career opportunity fades such that by   the time they get to a university, they don't 
choose those careers. Or even if they apply   to university, the admission requirements are so 
difficult that they're unable to bridge the gap.  I think there are a number of factors that play 
into this that we as a community of leaders (both   men and women) can help to address to grow the 
number of women in these senior leadership roles.  Is this a bias issue? Is it an 
access to information issue? What's   going on? What are the dynamics at play here?
Even if let's say there are some skills to be   built, where do you focus? We all grow 
up in different elements of the ladder.   We play different roles.

What skills to focus 
on? What leadership competencies to develop?   Also, how do you communicate those stories, and 
how do you communicate it in a way that resonates?  This is hiring a chief technology officer, hiring 
a chief digital officer. It's not easy for the   CEO (and sometimes the boards). It is a role 
that spans the entire spectrum of the company.   Transformations are difficult. Change is 
always difficult. And so, it's an equally   challenging role for the C-suite and the board.
For us to be able to teach and help women   to make those connections, not just the network 
but you're in the conversation, and how do you   connect with a person you're speaking to in 
a way that you can tell what you have done   and show the credibility of what you bring to the 
table, that is one thing we do fairly frequently.   It's that perspective of lifting up, looking 
at your story of what you've accomplished,   everything you've done, and then presenting it 
in a way that's relevant to that conversation.  The other angle I would say is it's a 
double whammy when there are not enough of   somebody in a particular role.

Let's say there 
aren't enough women. Even today, there's 18%   of C-level tech leaders, digital leaders 
– call it whatever – only 18% are women.  When you don't have enough, and then the 
pyramid is sort of consistent. I would   say your lead tech in the cloud, you wouldn't 
see a woman in a cloud data center for miles.  When you don't see enough, you can't believe 
in it. That goes not just for the women who   are aspiring. It also goes to people that 
are hiring. So, there is an element of   turning around and telling these stories 
in forums like this and in other forums,   so there is the believability so that 
when you look at a particular role,   you can also envision a woman in that role.
This is a true story, and it happened.   There was a group of people that went to an 

There was one woman, a token woman, in   that group. Nobody believed she was an engineer. 
They thought she was there to take notes.   She started, this woman, somewhere in the nation 
– I forget where – this hashtag #imawomanengineer.  It goes with an example. It goes both ways. 
One is if there aren't enough role models,   what can women aspire to? But it also is 
enough of, if you don't see, there isn't the   believability.

We create that overall experience.
Of course, the advocacy. Advocacy for each other,   women lifting women, presenting them with 
the opportunities, those are all very much   necessary in order to address the access topic.
When Suja and I met for the first time in (I think   it was) 2019, Suja had been on this journey with 
the T200 community to build T200. I had moved to   the Bay Area in 2016 to take the role at Workday.
Shortly after moving to that area, I had the   opportunity to start meeting some of the 
other technology leaders in the Bay Area.   I was surprised to find that quite 
a few of these leaders were women.  I was surprised because even when I was at Amgen 
and I would make trips to the Bay Area to attend   the VC community gatherings for chief technology 
officers and information officers, or some of the   larger software vendors' annual customer meetings, 
I literally was 1 of 2 women in a sea of 40 men.  There wasn't any desire for that bias to exist. 
it just did because there was no network of women   going to these events.

the men went and the women didn't.  That's what caused us to start the 
Silicon Valley Women's CIO Network.   A couple of us said, "This is just silly," 
because there's so much that we can learn   and also contribute in these events that will take 
us all back to our companies and make us better,   make our teams better, make our companies better.
When Suja and I met, we actually bridged those   two groups. We still have the Silicon Valley 
Women's CIO Network with a very special set of   relationships between now over 40 women, but 
many of these women are also part of T200.  That's one story about bias.
I think the second one, if we   take it up to 100,000 feet, there really 
is scarcely a company or an organization   anywhere in the world that isn't undergoing 
some sort of transformation to become a more   digital company.

Every company, so it's not just 
technology companies anymore; it's every company.  That pivot is creating incredible demand for these 
specialized roles that Suja referenced earlier:   technology, product, data, cyber security, 
human-centered design. On the boards on which   I sit and the companies that I advise, one of the 
biggest challenges is hiring, filling all of their   open jobs with the talent they need.
If we continue to limit the supply   to a subset of the population that's out there 
and capable of contributing, not only will these   companies not be able to compete and hit their 
goals, but it could be an existential threat for   their ability to survive and exist in this 
world that's becoming increasingly digital.  You think about then the social impact 
of companies in the healthcare and the   financial services sector and the fact that 
they're adopting artificial intelligence and   machine learning models over these large 
data sets.

But we know that these data sets   are inherently flawed because of the biases 
that are introduced because care delivery   in the healthcare setting or the services that 
are delivered to populations have historically   not included everyone from a diverse demographic.
When we think about who better to solve those   problems, ensure that the technology solutions 
that are being built in these companies   are representative of the customer 
and stakeholder population,   it's just super important from a social impact 
perspective that we solve this problem not just   from how do we make everybody feel good that we 
have good, diverse representation in the company.  We have a very interesting question from Twitter. 
This is from Arsalan Khan, who is a regular   listener and asks such great questions. Thank 
you for that, Arsalan. He says this: "What do   you think is the role of societal patriarchy that 
can affect women in technology and engineering?"   He's wanting to know really about the broader 
social roots, the underlying context that enables   this situation to exist and perpetuate.
It's certainly what we do in our homes   with our children, boys and girls. 
What we do with them plays a huge role.  If you look at the history and a track 
record of any successful man or woman,   they would always say they would go a 
parent, a mother or father, a teacher,   a mentor that they met in their 
younger age.

That plays a huge role.  My mother, for example, said you can be 
whatever you want. You put your mind to it.   You find what you're good at. You find what 
you enjoy. Then you be the best at that.  She never stopped me, even though I was 
raised in India, which is generally a lot   more patriarchal than other societies. I went 
to engineering school, I went to tech school,   and I came through that path.
But I was quite surprised sometimes   when I come to the U.S.

This is a true 
story. A friend of ours, her daughter,   she went to school in SoCal. The high school 
that she went to, her high school counselor   discouraged her from doing a tech curriculum.
Her high school teacher – I'm talking ten years   back. I'm not talking medieval ages. Ten years 
back, a teenage girl at that point was discouraged   from doing that, and she picked her second-best 
interest, which was Japanese.

Language is always   a great thing. It opens up new frontiers. All 
that is great, but her real passion was tech.  She ended up coming back into tech afterward, 
but she lost some wonderful years during the   time when she could be spending time learning. 
That kid is now an amazing software programmer.   She works for one of the large studios here 
in California. She's coding animation. She's   sitting with software engineers, so she calls 
me and talks to me and gets counseled from me.  Yes, absolutely, everybody plays a role. 
There is a fair amount of discouragement.  Both in my prior jobs as well as 
even in general, I reach out to   high school students.

It is important 
to catch the girls in their sixth grade,   seventh grade, eighth grade. Those are very 
formative years. Show them the role models.  This is common knowledge. When the television 
series X-Files came about, there were a lot of   girls and women who became detectives. How 
many role models do we have that are software   engineers coding code in movies? Where are we 
seeing that women are stepping up and solving   complex cybersecurity problems? Let's see 
that in society. Let's see that everywhere.  Let's talk about that to girls and boys. 
I'm not about neglecting our boy children,   our male children, but it certainly is 
necessary that we encourage our women,   our female children, to focus and encourage them.
Yeah, it is going to be hard. Okay, so heck yeah.   We can solve it.

We can address it. It is 
going to be a lot of work, but we can do it.  Surrounding them with those kinds of environments 
so that they can thrive. Yes, absolutely.   Families, societal, school environments, 
mentors, friends, everybody plays a crucial role.  Diana, picking up off of this, we have another 
question from Twitter. This is from Wayne Anderson   who says, "Companies like Microsoft who do care 
intensely about overcoming bias are having trouble   getting candidates in many roles. What are we 
not doing? Do we need to invest in STEM and user   groups? But it's very hard to hire people."
I'll just comment that this is true for both   men and women, in general. But still, 
there is this perception that, hey,   we want to hire a woman but we're not getting 
enough qualified candidates. What about that?  I think the perception is reality. 
I actually happen to have a son who   manages a technical recruiting group in 
tech as well, and we talk a lot about this.  I think if we go back to how Suja 
answered the former question,   there is no question a pipeline challenge for us. 
In 1985, 37% of the computing degrees were women.   Today, it's 18%, so that number has declined.
One of the opportunities for us is to focus on   that, quite frankly, zero to K to 12 continuum to 
ensure that we're doing everything in our power,   both men and women, focused on women 
and racial-ethnic diversity as well,   in that pipeline to attract these 
young people to technology careers.  I do think a big challenge that we faced 
through those years when the dot-com era   was big, when there was sort of a hacking 
mentality, a gaming mentality that came to   engineering roles is it was difficult for 
women, young women, to find a place there.  But in reality, I think we all know, Microsoft 
knows, that technology is a means to an end.   In essence, what we're really trying 
to do is solve business problems,   and we're trying to do it creatively.
Being a technologist gives you the tools   to solve business problems in very creative 
and artistic ways.

I think if we can tell the   story different to young women as they're coming 
through these earlier years of their schooling,   to engage them, it makes a big difference.
I also think that where we are now, there's an   opportunity to demonstrate (as you've suggested) 
as a company, that there's a real commitment to   creating a diverse workforce. In doing 
so, the ability to attract and retain   the talent that you want to have 
represented in your workforce increases.  But in addition to that, there may be some other 
steps that can be taken.

pexels photo 4348401

The first of those   would be to ensure that all of the men inside the 
company—when we're talking about a gender-specific   issue—have a commitment to mentor and advocate 
for a balanced slate of talent inside the company:   men, women, racially diverse, et cetera.
In addition to that, making sure that   there's flexibility in how the networks are pulled 
together. How do teams gather outside of work? How   do they gather inside of work? In this new space 
of flex working, how do you make sure everybody   has an opportunity to participate when we're 
working around work-life balance priorities?  Then lastly, many companies are suspending 
the expectation or the requirement to hire   someone with a degree.

There are a number 
of technology positions that people can   apply for and contribute inside a company and 
start to work on their degree while they're there.  There also is the opportunity to reskill employees 
that are already there who have an interest   and an aptitude for technology.
There are multiple ways to get there,   notwithstanding the fact that our pool 
right now is not as great as it needs to be   and that needs to be a priority for the nation.  Suja, Diana was just describing the 
intention to create a balanced and diverse   workforce. Beyond the intention, what 
should organizations be doing in order   to make this happen and address these issues?
I'll start with a couple of stories.

One is   women do drop out of universities 
even after starting a tech path.  A colleague of mine, her daughter started 
in a BS engineering, computer science.   She did the freshman year. She did 
the sophomore year. Then she gave up.  It was too hard. She was not part of 
the groups that were working together   for better grades. She didn't feel good. Her 
grades were slipping, so she dropped off.  A pipeline problem has to be relentless, 
consistent, catching women where they are   not starting in the line or they are dropping off 
the pipeline. We have to create a very consistent   mechanism in creating and watch out for those.
I will also tell, in general, there is a drive   for talent and this happened in my own family. One 
of my family members, a young kid, she came home   for Thanksgiving. She said she's been working 
60-hour weeks for the last 2 years straight.  She was taking her first weekend 
off, and then her boss called   and said, "You have to work.

Get back to work."
The kid was sitting there crying, and I went and   spoke to her and find out, "Why are you crying?"
She said, "I hadn't taken a day off,   and I was working 60 hours every day the last 2 
years through COVID, and then the first time I   was going to take a day off during Thanksgiving 
and I can't because I have to get back to work."  I said, "It'll be fine." I calmed her down. She 
got her work done, and then she went. And then   she looked for a job for a couple of weeks.
She quit the previous job, which is with one   of the blue-chip large companies. I don't 
want to name them.

She went and now she's   coding autonomous vehicles with another 
company. A top-notch software engineer.  This is happening around everybody. This is 
not just a woman thing. We have to watch out.  When I probed a little bit deeper with her what 
happened, "Why do you have to work so hard? Nobody   should be doing that, and aren't your teammates 
working? What exactly is happening?" she said   there have been open accounts and they haven't 
filled it for two years. This is one of the   richest, multi-trillion valuation company.
This is a tough situation. We need to help   everybody lift up.
What have we done practically?   I believe in setting very clear goals.
At CommonSpirit Health, we had to hire   quite a few people. We've hired 500+ 
people in the last couple of years.  We gave ourselves a goal that we should meet a 
goal of 30% of women and people of diversity.   It was both.

It was not just women. It 
was women and people of diversity, 30%.  It's interesting. When you set these 
goals, there are different perspectives.   All perspectives are valid, but it's 
interesting to reread those patterns.  There was a group that said, "Are we stupid? How 
are we going to get the goals? There are not 30%   women to get the goals. There aren't 30% 
women that are going to be available."  Then the other group said, "Why 30%? 
It should be 50%. Did you look around   the society? 50% of us are women."
I knew I wasn't going to win that game,   but I said, "You know what? We need 
to set 30%. We'll see where we get."  It was not easy, but I give 
great credit to my organization.   We achieved a 40% of our new hires were women 
and people of diverse backgrounds – 40%.

When we   did that, now we have amped up our goal. It is at 
least 40%, and the subsequent hiring needs to be   even farther than that.
Now, I'm in healthcare,   and health tech is in an interesting situation. 
There is a general challenge for women in tech,   and healthcare even more of a tougher environment 
because of the hours, and especially in COVID in   the frontline of the battle, so we have to 
work two times as hard to make this happen.  There was a comment that's floating around, which 
I thought would be good to share with you all.   "Diversity just doesn't happen 
because you talk about numbers.   When the leader practices diversity, 
inclusion and belong follows instinctively."  The whole continuum of the long game, the whole 
continuum of being included, the whole continuum   of access. You hire in the 10, 15 years back, 
it's very easy to find one person, one woman in a   group, very easy to find one person of color in a 
group because there was a tokenization of checking   the box and counting a number.

But certainly 
today, the focus is around diversity, inclusion,   equity, belonging, and access.
That continuum is what is needed,   not just to bring in people, but also to 
keep them there because, without that access,   they are not going to thrive. Without 
that sense of belonging gives the clarity.  I lived this. I go into a room and I'm the only 
woman in the room or only person of color. It   creates a mental dissonance. You have to gather 
yourself a little bit more to be fully present   in that event. You practice it, and you get 
better at it. But people who are just pushed   into those environments, we have to help them.
The environment needs to be accepting and   belonging. Then accept the diversity 
of perspectives that they bring.   It's not about just bringing someone 
because it's nice to have that box   checked, but when they say something different.
Women tend to be a lot more nurturing and caring.   Women tend to be a lot more focused 
on people.

I put people first.   When women do that, then focus on that. Hear that.
Definitely, there is a meaning and a larger   purpose to it than just the morality of 
it. Morality is important—not any less—but   there is a clear economic value because ultimately 
it's in the diversity of those perspectives that   the right decisions come about.
Give them the space to speak.   Give your voice a place. Those are some 
of the tips I would offer, Michael.  We have another question coming 
in from Twitter.

You can see   I prioritize the questions that come in from 
the audience. They're always great questions.  This is from Emma McDonald who's picking up on 
something you both discussed a little bit earlier.   She's saying, "Can you comment on the 
impact to a woman's career progression   related to working from home over these 
last two years that you guys have discussed   and it's been in the press recently?"
Suja, I'll pick up, and then you can build.  The most recent statistic is that the quit 
rate, if you will, for women in tech roles   in 2021 was 53%, which just continues to 
build on this conversation we've been having.  Because they were at home, their children 
(if they had children) were also at home,   and they were trying to manage the work and the 
school schedules.

And in many cases, mom and dad   were both at home, or mother and their partner 
were at home, trying to manage the children. It   was a challenge for everyone, but it demonstrated 
itself in terms of statistics more for the women.  I think the benefit now, as we emerge from the 
pandemic and we're seeing companies embrace   more flexible working conditions, is we have 
an opportunity to go someplace that we weren't   necessarily able to go before from a flexibility 
standpoint. There are women who are able to get up   in the morning, take their kids to school, 
work, go pick their kids up from school,   and then get back on at night.

Having that 
additional flexibility in their calendar   addresses some of the challenges that 
caused a number of them to back away.  I think, to your point, the 
question about inclusion   is a question not only for women but it's also a 
question for anybody that is going to spend the   vast majority of their time working from home when 
there are people in the office and the two have to   interact with each other. There is this element of 
intentionality that Suja was referencing earlier   that flows through this entire conversation 
all the way back to the paternalistic question   that we got.

That is, if the success of your 
company and your ability to compete is dependent   upon the quality of the talent you have in your 
workplace, and your goal is to engage that talent,   retain that talent, develop that talent, then as a 
leadership team, you have to do everything in your   power to make sure you're creating an environment 
that engages and promotes inclusiveness.  It's a very different way of operating than many, 
many companies operated prior to the pandemic.

I   think there are a lot of companies that are still 
figuring it out but, ultimately, it comes down to   the role the manager plays in ensuring that 
they're creating an inclusive environment for   their team regardless of whether they're working 
from home, they're working from inside the office,   and/or they represent gender or racial diversity.
I think, ultimately, we have to ask the question,   what should companies be doing?
Three things, and it's definitely   at the organizations but it's also the 
individuals. Here is what I mean by that.  I don't believe the playbooks of the work 
from home, the hybrid work environment,   the playbooks have not been shaped 
and clear yet. They're not clear yet.   I think it is evolving, and we are going to be 
learning over the next several months and years.  Tools and technologies are better but they need 
to mature and emerge in a much further way,   and we are all part of shaping that industry also. 
Action for managers: creating that environment,   creating that rich environment.
Examples: chat groups.

Watercooler   conversations have completely stopped, 
so create those informal chat groups.   Create informal environments so people can come 
and thrive. Create an equitable work environment.   Create opportunities to work asynchronously.
What it takes in your specific company situation   so that everybody can be included and, in 
particular, the women can take advantage of it.  To Diana's point, women have been lopsidedly 
impacted because typically they have been the   caregivers for the young age as well as the 
senior caregiving is also with the women.   Give them that space. Create the 
environment. That is for the organizations   and the environment to prepare and produce.
Now, as an individual, we also have a role to   play. To the person who brought up the question, 
I love her for asking that question because   she's reflecting on it, she's thinking about it.
Two things happened. One is, through the work from   home, the introverts started thriving because a 
lot of it is on chat and that is an element of not   being able to speak up, but I am okay to think 
about my sentence and put it on chat.

Whereas in   a meeting, an extrovert or people who generally 
tend to speak, they take over the conversations.   So, people could leverage and take advantage 
of some of the modalities that introverts and   women tend to be a little bit more on the 
introverted side, especially women in tech,   so they can start taking advantage of those.
But thinking through influence techniques,   every individual needs to do that. How 
I influence, how I engage with my peers,   how I engage with my leaders, how I engage 
with my organization, what do I need to do?  Engaging with the networks was much easier 
when you just went on a conference and you   grabbed coffee with someone. You had a meal 
with someone. You just waved to someone. You   gave them a casual hug on the way between 
conference sessions.

Those are all gone.  When you're doing that on Zoom, it is even more 
intentionality to create that similar networking   environment. To some people, it actually can be 
an advantage because if you see social media,   the introverts started getting engaged a lot 
on social media, in general, ten years back.  Intentionally thinking through individual's 
influence mechanisms, all things considered,   where we are, is also up to the 
individual as well. I'm sure there's   a lot of coaching and teaching that can be done.
I will finish what I said, Michael. I don't think   the playbooks are written yet. We're all learning. 
Personally, I worry a lot about my organization   and am I doing enough.

I think we have to think 
about it and talk about it and create that more.  What should women do when they 
observe bias in the workplace?  I'm going to share a story about when this 
happened with me and how I handled it. I think the   first thing any woman needs to do is take a step 
back and seek to understand what just happened.  It doesn't mean that it wasn't intentional 
bias, but trying to understand,   first, sort of allows the perspective 
to then say, "As I approach the person   that generated the bias (or said the sexually 
harassing remark), were they aware of how that   landed on me? Were they aware that 
that wasn't acceptable? Ultimately,   can we get to closure on that so that I 
can see if it's going to happen again?"  Then if it doesn't happen again, we sort of circle 
back to the conversation we've been having.

"Hey,   this environment may not be an environment that 
truly values diversity, equity, inclusion, and   there are so many environments out there that are 
emphasizing this right now. Maybe the right place   for me to be is in one of those environments."
What I'll say is when I was very first promoted   to director – and I referenced that earlier – our 
CIO at the time was getting a lot of pressure from   the executive management at the company that he 
didn't have enough women on his leadership team.  I was told by the HR executive director that I 
was given the promotion because I was a woman   and that all of my peers (male), some of 
them had some concerns about my promotion   and they had been given 90 days to schedule 
time with me to tell me what their concern was.  How does anybody step into a role, 
after they've been told they were   promoted because they were a woman, and then 
deliver (for the first 90 days of their job)   wondering where the target is on their back?
I had that conversation with the HR director,   and I said I am not waiting 90 days.

the next week, I scheduled one-on-ones with   every single one of my new peers and had 
a conversation with them asking for open,   candid feedback about what their concerns 
were about my ability to perform in this role.  Ultimately, there's no question there were 
feedback and observations for me in terms of how I   participated, influenced, et cetera. But 
ultimately, I ended up being exceedingly   successful in the role, and some of these 
individuals that I worked with at the time, I   continue to stay very connected to in my network.
I think, at the outset, allowing a bad situation   to take things in a more negative direction 
without trying to address it head-on, you're   missing the opportunity to potentially educate 
and improve the environment for other women.  Suja, we're just about out of time, 
so very quickly, what can men do?  Every woman will tell you there were men along the 
way that helped to lift them.

The allyship, the   kinship, the understanding of the circumstances, 
the willingness to reach and lift them.  Many men come to us and say, "Hey. 
My mom was a big player in my life.   I have my daughter. I worry about my two 
daughters. I want them to have role models."  Give them confidence. Women generally tend to 
be low in confidence. There's a beautiful book   called Confidence Code. Give them confidence. Be 
their cheerleaders. Don't call them emotional.   Watch out for the biases that Diana talked 
about. You can be their sponsor, advocate.  Women cannot do it by ourselves. We 
need women and men to work together   to create an equitable work 
environment for everybody.  Unfortunately, we're out of time. A huge 
thank you to Suja Chandra and to Diana   McKenzie. Thank you both so much for taking time 
to be here today. I really am grateful to you.  Michael, thank you. It was a pleasure.
Thank you, Michael.  Suja, always a pleasure.
Thank you, Diana.  Everybody, thank you for watching. Before you 
go, please subscribe to our YouTube channel.   Hit the subscribe button at the top of our website 
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Tell a friend.   Check out We have amazing shows 
coming up. You really should subscribe to the   newsletter. We'll see you next time. 
Have a great day, everybody. Bye-bye..

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