July 13, 2018

WIT members attend Girls in Technology Catalyst Conference

Author: Cydney Ross

Women In Technology and Talent & Experience, partnered in sponsoring a few WIT members to attend the Girls in Tech Catalyst Conference in San Francisco, California. The conference covered a variety of topics impacting the technology industry today including diversity within the workforce, finding the elusive work-life balance, creating solutions using emerging and red herring technology, and learning what steps women can take to advance their career. The speakers hailed from a variety of companies, but some of the most exciting were the Co-Founder and CTO of Salesforce Parker Harris, the CTO of Gap Rathi Murthy, the Director of Lighting at Pixar Danielle Feinberg, and the Co-Founder and CEO of hint, Kara Goldin. While I’ve only highlighted a few, you can check out the full slate of speakers here. Each speaker brought a unique energy and an authentic presence as they shared the ways that they have struggled, persevered, adapted, matured, and excelled in their careers.

Here are some highlights from the conference:

Cathy Polinksy, CTO of Stichfix, on reaching a Critical Mass of Diversity

“We have to focus on finding culture adds instead of culture fits. When anyone uses the term, ‘culture fit’ it often means they are looking for ‘people like us’ or ‘people you want to grab a beer with’. Culture fits often lead to the creation of homogeneous teams that do not benefit from diverse perspectives and thoughts that will lead to more creative and innovative solutions.”

Amy Bohutinsky, COO of Zillow, on her Crooked Career Path

LinkedIn study of C suite executives found that individuals that held at least 3 different job functions gained the equivalent of 3 years work experience when applying for a new job. If that individual held at least 4 different job functions, it’s the equivalent of having an MBA. She encourages everyone to stop thinking so much, follow what you’re interested in, and go with what feels right when considering your next career move.

Kira Wampler, CEO of Art.com, on Being Disruptive

“Adventurous consumers can be used to harness disruption. If you’re not disrupting, you are primed to be disrupted. Never forget that change is a when not an if.”

Danielle Feinberg, Director of Lighting at Pixar, on Her Career Journey

“We all need to stop listening to the loudest voices in the room and join the conversation. If people can’t deal with you, then they are the one making the mistake”

Reena Tiwari, Sr. Dir. of Information Security at Symantec Corp, on How to Differentiate and Promote Yourself

Developing an executive presence means crafting your message to your audience. You should take the time to figure out how your stakeholders want to hear the information and make sure to prepare all the relevant details that will give them confidence during the decision making process. 

Parker Harris, Co-Founder and CTO of Salesforce, on Equality in the Workplace

“If I could go back in time, I would have made equality core to the culture at our founding. Companies need to be transparent about their diversity data and share the numbers both internally and externally. It is only when you give people the information they need to have a conversation that employees will talk and share openly about their experiences in order to develop an understanding of what is at the root of the problem.”

Charlie Bell SVP of Amazon Web Services, on Lessons on Leveraging Passion & Innovation in Tech

“Be an owner. If there is a fire, you want to be the person that is helping to put out the fire rather than running as quickly as you can to safety. Leadership recognizes those that step up and get things done. A sneaky way to get your opinion heard without asserting yourself in an aggressive way is to ask a question. Jeff Bezos likes to use the question ‘Help me understand…’”

As we continue to evolve our culture and the way that we work, we are excited to bring some of the lessons back to our teams and WIT as we start the new fiscal year.


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