Real Time Communications Featured Article

Women in Communications Breakfast Advocates Change, Equality

September 09, 2015

The empowerment and equality of women in the workplace has never been a more important topic than today with so many industries still male-dominated.

Now that girls are no longer left out of the math, science and tech fields because the jobs are too “nerdy” or “they cannot pass the tests needed to enter these fields,” we have seen more effort made to attract females, especially school-aged girls to pursue these important fields—where their intelligence and capabilities can make serious advancements.

About a year ago, Light Reading had the idea to bring together all of the women in the Communications space who were finding themselves outnumbered at tech events, and join them together in  a group that would host its own gatherings and allow women to network and talk about their goals while at these industry events.

A series of successful breakfast meet-ups have taken place since, and now the fifth Women in Comms breakfast is happening next week, Wed., Sept. 16 from 7:15 - 8:50 a.m. (CDT) during the NFV Everywhere Americas event in Dallas, Texas.

The theme of this latest event will be “Championing Change” and will feature panelists Monique Hayward, Director, Outbound Marketing, Network Platforms Group, Intel as well as Brooks McCorcle, President, AT&T Partner Solutions; Bita Milanian, Senior Vice President of Marketing Communications, Genband and Nancy Green, Healthcare Global Lead, Verizon Enterprise Solutions.

I had a chance to catch up with the events moderator, Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director at Light Reading, to hear more about Women in Communications and what’s in store for the future.

Thomas noted that while the initial goal was to recruit more women into the tech and communications field, the movement has grown so much that the focus is now becoming not only on retaining women in the industry but to start dialogue on gender equality and gender intelligence as well.

“It's been great to see the attention this topic has been getting lately—in the mainstream press and really focused on the tech space as well. There’s been more coverage of women who excel in the space, as well as of the issues women face in the industry, and a lot of companies have been making moves to help women, by—for example—rethinking their maternity leave policies.”

Recruiting women into these roles is also an important focus today. While getting young girls interested in pursuing future careers in these fields is great for the future, there is also a need now to learn how to better craft job descriptions to make these jobs sound appealing, and not as impossible. “Creating a culture that respects and empowers women is key,” Thomas noted.

Part of that includes taking the ideas and tips from these events back to the office and giving men a chance to get in on the conversation.

These events are also a great place to gather tips on how women can build their confidence in the workplace and help establish themselves as equals. Thomas shared a few highlights with us including a tip for women to realize that no one will stand up for them like they can for themselves. Thomas further explained that women should be bold whenever there is a promotion available for example and go after it and take the risk.

The next step for Women in Comms is a new website that was just launched as well as the possibility of making it a bigger initiative via a not-for-profit setup. Thomas noted that at the company’s Big Communications Event in May in Austin next year there will be a full one-day Women in Comms event with networking, a coding workshop, mentoring and even a Job fair dedicated to women.

“Our goal is to put our words into action so that we can host a conference to both discuss how to get more women in communications, but also give an immediate and actionable way to do so.”  

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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