Just a few months ago, Women’s History Month dominated social media platforms with inspiring stories of female empowerment and a renewed focus on women’s achievements in both past and recent history.
While this spotlight showcased the tremendous gains women have made in education, politics, and business, there’s still a lot to be accomplished – especially in the technology industry.
Despite the fact that women represent more than half of all college graduates in the U.S., they make up just 30 percent of workers at large technology companies. On top of this, more than 50 percent of women with careers in STEM fields will eventually leave their careers altogether because of hostile work environments according to the Harvard Business Review.
The importance of increasing and retaining women in tech is a key issue that our senior leadership at Viant has taken very seriously. That’s why I’m very happy to announce the launch of Viant’s very own Women’s Initiative. Our mission statement is: Foster a culture of passion, purpose and collaboration that not only empowers women through participation, but strives to benefit all members of the organization.
This is an exciting time for everyone as we look to give the women of our organization more learning and organic coaching opportunities to encourage continuous growth and professional development. We hope that by bringing everyone together, we can offer opportunities to learn from one another, share challenges, and empower all Viant employees.
Personally, a couple of years ago I had felt I had hit a wall with my professional growth. While I had always been focused on recruitment and training in my responsibilities, I wanted to further grow our training program and take on a leadership role, but the position simply didn’t exist at the time. I looked for feedback from other women leaders within the company as well as in my own support network on how to approach this challenge.
Over and over, the feedback was that I needed to be my own advocate and take ownership of my career, by putting down on paper exactly what I saw my future role to be. Rather than hoping my manager would plan my future for me, this feedback helped me realize how empowering it was to take the lead on my own development and chart my course at the company. Within a few weeks, I presented my career plan to my manager, and received his full support.
In the time since I put my career plan into action, I realized that other employees at Viant might not know how to tap into the same type of support network that I had. I wondered if they had mentors or peers they could rely on and seek out advice when trying to overcome obstacles in their career. From my own experience, I knew that I wouldn’t have taken the initiative in my own career if it wasn’t for the advice and encouragement of the women in my life. To help facilitate this kind of support network, the Women’s Initiative was born.
Fortunately, women have a strong presence in our company’s culture, making up 45% of employees globally and 43% of leaders at our company (managers with direct reports).
In launching Viant’s Women’s Initiative, we sought to create a program that was designed by women, but impacted ALL employees at Viant.
We launched this initiative at our first ever Women’s Summit during our employee conference earlier this year. We started off with a smaller focus group of Viant’s senior female leaders to brainstorm ideas on how to bring this idea to fruition. We had tons of great ideas, but used the time to efficiently filter down the major challenges that we come across as female professionals within the ad tech industry. We wanted to make sure that we were realistically able to tackle our objectives in the next three quarters. We chose to focus on three key topics with a goal to help women break through the glass ceiling, and create a more diverse, open culture that empowers all employees.
Continuously finding ways to empower employees as individuals, leaders, and promote growth opportunities both personally and professionally
Overcoming uncertainties about your own abilities or weaknesses in order to build self confidence
3. Overcoming the “Always On” Mindset:
Creating a healthy work/life balance, since we all know that if you’re happy at home, you’re likely to be happier at work, and vice versa
To promote these values, we created a female-led task force around each challenge. Volunteers from every department across all job levels meet in groups on a reoccurring basis to discuss coaching opportunities and programs that can be put in place to push the entire company forward.
Programs such as the Women’s Initiative are meant to help empower, retain, and advance the women in our organization. The female and male leaders who have supported this initiative will surely be the ones facilitating change and growth moving forward. We believe the continuation of flexible hours such as Work From Anywhere Fridays during the summer months and our progressive parental leave programs will continue to help our talented female employees stay in the workforce and not have to make the choice between a career or raising their children.
I’m looking forward to seeing the progress we’ll make with the Women’s Initiative at Viant, as well as what lies ahead for women everywhere.
Get more insight on Viant’s culture and what our employees have to say about Viant in our Core Values video below: