An open letter to tech industry leaders
To my fellow leaders in the tech industry:
With LeanIn Organization’s #MentorHer initiative freshly launched, and International Women’s Day on March 8 urging us to #PressForProgress, now is the perfect opportunity for us to practice some introspection and honestly ask ourselves, "Am I doing everything I can to Press for progress? "
If not, no time like the present to take it up a notch.
Study after study has confirmed that companies with diverse workforces and leadership experience better financial performance, higher profit growth, smarter teams, and more radical innovation than those with less diversity.
The fact is, the long-term survival of our companies depends in part on our diversity. And we know that a diverse pool of high performers is not going to create itself – we need to be proactive in building it.
With this in mind, I’m calling on you, my fellow tech leaders – men and women alike – to proactively seek a woman to mentor if you are not already mentoring one, and promote your commitment using the #IMentorHer hashtag.
Yes, “I Mentor Her.” We’re asking you to own your role as a mentor, beyond just supporting the idea of mentorship in general.
According to World Economic Forum’s global Industry Gender Gap Report, women make up only 5% of CEOs, 11% of senior managers, and 24% of the overall workforce in the Information and Communications Technology industry. Mentors are a key contributor to moving up the career ladder, yet they tend to be more elusive for women. ICASA’s The Future Tech Workforce: Breaking Gender Barriers report cites “lack of mentors”, “lack of women role models in the field” and “limited networking opportunities” as the top barriers faced by women in tech.
Regardless of your own gender, we all have a duty to mentor and sponsor women. Even those leaders who have not yet made it to the C-suite or senior management – no matter where on the org chart you are, there are always women that are newer in their careers (or maybe they haven’t even made a career choice yet) who could use your good example, your encouragement, and your advocacy.
I can tell you from experience as someone who has benefitted from good mentors over the years that being a mentor is even more satisfying than being a mentee! And I know many of you are already doing a lot to mentor women. iTalent Digital is fortunate to serve so many clients and technology partners who are committed to gender parity and workforce diversity.
If you are already mentoring a woman, use the #IMentorHer hashtag to let us know and share your experience. If not, look around and see whom you could help, and make a public commitment to follow through.
It takes all of our mentorship contributions to make a meaningful impact on improving diversity and closing the gender gaps in our workforces.
Please join me in professing #IMentorHer.
Renée La Londe
CEO & Founder