The subject of women in technology has made national headlines and dominated social media discussions in recent months. While much of the conversation has focused on the important issue of work/life balance, there are other broader challenges facing women in Silicon Valley and across the tech industry.
Since before Marissa Mayer’s HR decisions and “Lean in” became trending topics, the Silicon Valley Women@Microsoft (SV W@M) group has worked to support and develop women in the tech industry. And when the media moves on to the next story, W@M will continue to build a vibrant and well-connected community of professional women across Microsoft and the Valley.
SV W@M Co-Director and Software Development Engineer Sharena Pari-Monasch says, “Traditionally, there has been a focus on employees in Mountain View. But with the addition of Yammer, Skype and other companies, there are many women spread among a variety of offices. We are reaching out to be sure that everyone knows that they are part of a larger community.
SV W@M’s other Co-Director, Training Program Manager Jennifer Rozario, adds, “We also provides opportunities focused on career development, leadership and professional and personal inspiration. We have speakers, hands-on workshops and networking events.”
Sharena continues, “Sometimes we do unexpected stuff like critique LinkedIn profiles to better understand how women are presenting themselves.” “And sometimes we just do fun social events,” says Jennifer, “like lunches or a happy hour get-together with wine on the patio.”
SV W@M’s focus does not end with those currently working for Microsoft or in the tech industry. They also work hard to be good role models for the next generation of female engineers and to encourage young women to consider a career in technology.
Dan’l Lewin, CVP of Evangelism at MSV agrees, “Silicon Valley Women@Microsoft is an incredible group of Microsoft employees who care deeply about engaging women of all ages in the technology industry. They have been a catalyst for change and helping address a fundamental problem we have in our industry, which is the shortage of qualified talent. By helping organize and catalyze the conversation, W@M makes a big difference.”