September 19, 2017 | Diversity & Access

Adaora, Maureen, Patty and Sarah

Martina Lauchengco

Written by

Martina Lauchengco

Image for post

Right after our inaugural Seat @ the Table, Megan, a Solutions Engineer at Stitch Labs grabbed me: “A bunch of us want to talk about how to keep the momentum going,” which was exactly the kind of action we were hoping for. She helped bring together a small group — including a co-founder, coach, and early careerists — for a dinner to talk about what progress would look like.

It was different for each of them.

The founder had a quieter style and wanted to invest in the generation following her. The coach wanted to empower women with workshops addressing confidence with surfing. The early careerists wanted tips on having better conversations with their bosses about job levels and salary.

It was a great reminder that having a seat at a table is an individual pursuit depending on where someone is in their career and whatever challenges are most pressing at the time. Progress will be a journey of 1,000 individual steps and the result of our collective action adding up to make a difference.

But it is not just the action of women rather the action of men that perhaps have a bigger impact. The sad truth is there are simply more of them in every rank of management, so they must be advocates for women to progress. Take my boss, Greg, who advocated for me to join two Boards. He’s also openly willing to lean into D&I and massively supports my participation in conversations and panels about how to improve diversity and inclusion across both tech and venture. These are long but important journeys, and I’m lucky to have seats at those tables and a boss who is willing to take action and advocate on my behalf.

Like many of you, I prefer action to words, which is why we’re so excited to partner with SAP’s UN Next Gen Challenges Summit in New York City for our next Seat @ the Table event. Gender Equality is UN global goal #5, and beyond our panel, our discussion will focus on how to take action. What’s new is the second half of the evening when attendees participate in small groups workshopping ideas and practices they can immediately put in place. We get to use SAPs beautiful design thinking space, which by itself is inspiring.

We’ll still have our hallmark panel featuring four incredibly talented leaders at different levels of management sharing stories and advice to inspire us:

Then we ask attendees to bring the best practices or ideas they’ve seen in action to the conversation so we can all benefit and learn. The topics we’ll be workshopping after the panel are:

  • How might we help people in a minority (women, introverts, people of color etc.) in tech feel more powerful, especially in challenging environments?
  • How might we get men more systematically engaged in the progress of women in the tech workplace?

On that final topic, S@T is again open to anyone who wants to see more women have more seats at more tables in tech, but we have a special request: bring a male colleague with you. Progress only happens if they believe #HerSeat is as important as women do.

Seat at the Table

Thursday, October 19, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. — 7:00 p.m.

SAP Leonardo Center, 10 Hudson Yards, NY

Register here.