This article appears in the Winter 2019 issue of Silicon Slopes Magazine.
By Cydni Tetro, President & Co-Founder, Women Tech Council.
A growing body of research shows a simple yet critical formula for success for all technology companies: women. Multiple studies across industries have shown that teams and boards with women and men outperform their male-only counterparts in revenue and profit. Despite this, only 27% of technology jobs are held by women, only 5% of technology executives are women, and only 2% of venture capital went to women in 2017.
At the Women Tech Council (WTC), our mission is to unite the technology community and drive success by creating networking, mentoring, visibility and opportunities for women in tech at every state of the economic pipeline. Through scalable programs and collaboration with companies and professionals across the technology community, this work is changing the landscape for women in technology, amplifying the talent of individuals across Silicon Slopes, and helping technology companies in all specialties and life cycles become more successful.
In 2018, we made unparalleled strides in this mission:
- With the launch of our 3x3 Connection Series, we created regular, ongoing opportunities for meaningful networking and career growth for men and women across Silicon Slopes. With the majority of hires coming from networks, creating a forum where networks exponentially expand directly impacts individuals and entire organizations from frontline employees to the executive level.
- We unveiled the Shatter List to give momentum and recognition to the programs that are removing the glass ceiling. By evaluating more than 10 different data sets to measure impact and recognizing the companies involved, this program has identified progress and motivated stronger participation and support for the practices that are making real impact for women in technology.
- We expanded our Executive Connections program to drive network growth and help more women advance to the C-Suite.
- We propelled the careers of women through recognition at the Women Tech Awards. More than 250 women have been recognized through this program, accelerating their careers and amplifying talent across the industry.
- Through SheTech, we activated 12,000 high school girls to pursue STEM. 90% of high school girls don’t know a woman in STEM or have a career role model, making it difficult for them to see themselves in these fields. Through hands-on experience with more than 200 technology companies and one-on-one mentoring with thousands of industry experts, we’ve helped thousands of these girls find their passion and inspired them to pursue STEM careers. College scholarship applications are showing it’s translating to the university level — more girls are choosing STEM paths because of SheTech.
- We began our SheTech national expansion with programs in Colorado and Idaho to spread our activation and impact to girls nationwide.
- With our new WTC Student Innovators, we helped reduce the attrition rate of women leaving college STEM programs and connected companies with up-and-coming talent. In college, 40% of women students stop pursuing STEM degrees between the 2nd and 3rd year. As part of this program, the Career Tour works to help students find access to internships and industry role models, while also connecting companies to a needed talent pool.
- We started our High School Tech Entrepreneur Apprenticeship program to teach students the skills to become technology entrepreneurs and inspire them early to begin this path, bolstering the talent pool and providing organizations the opportunity for early engagement.
These measures have made critical impact towards changing the landscape for women in technology by driving change at every stage of the talent pipeline. In 2019, we will amplify the breadth and depth of this impact even further through magnifying and expanding our programs, including:
- We are launching WTC Careers, a network that connects technology career opportunities and qualified women in tech to create impactful networking and opportunities that will drive the success of organizations and magnify the talent of employees.
- Through SheTech, we are activating 3,000 more high school girls to pursue STEM by connecting them with tech and mentors, and launching SheTech clubs in high schools across the state.
- We are kicking-off our Women-Led Startups initiative to provide resources, opportunities and networks to help women-led startups as they build, fundraise and hire.
- Through the Diversity & Inclusion Forum, we are releasing a best practices guide documenting what companies are doing to create more inclusive cultures in technology companies. These cultures help drive high-performance and create cohesive teams where all members can contribute and succeed.
This work amplifies the entire technology ecosystem. It’s what we have to do as a community to drive us to the next level. As we focus on increasing the number of women in tech at every stage of the talent pipeline, our collective efforts will ensure meaningful impact for the success of our entire community.
Join us in 2019 and be part of the community helping make Silicon Slopes the leading model for women in tech. In doing so, we’ll make our technology ecosystem and all our companies more successful and impactful than they’ve ever been.
For more information about Women Tech Council, visit www.womentechcouncil.com.