Women’s groups INSIDE tech companies provide a support system

Women’s groups INSIDE tech companies provide a support system

While men might outnumber women in the technology field, there is no lack of support for women in technology in Indianapolis. In fact, as a show of support and encouragement, many women’s groups have been created in internal organizations to support the efforts and contributions of women in technology.

In Indianapolis alone, we’ve identified a variety of different groups operating within technology companies, ranging from startups to enterprise businesses, through social outreach and other networks. We know we don’t have all of the tech companies with internal women’s groups here so please send an email to sara@techpoint.org if you’d like to be considered for this list. Learn more about each group and how they were started below.

 

Appirio

Appirio Women in Tech Group

Name of the group: “Lean In” Circles

When they were started: January 2016

Focus of the group:

Julie Barker

Julie BarkerSenior Director of Global Talent Management

“A ‘Lean In circle’ is small group of like-minded professional women and men that meet regularly to learn, grow, and develop skills to take on new opportunities and challenges,” says Julie Barker, Senior Director of Global Talent Management at Appirio. “As one of our members said so eloquently, ‘A circle gives you a chance to keep each other accountable and celebrate each other’s wins.’”

How it was started:
“The group was started by 2 women within 2 different departments due to passion and is not part of their day job. Appirio has 12 lean in circles with 155 members globally,” says Julie.

When and where they meet:
The group offers a quarterly speaker series where they bring in external speakers.

Why they’re important:
“Our Lean In circles create a safe place to talk about both work and personal lives; they are a built in support system and group of friends,” says Julie. “As a result, there is a feeling of trust and support within the circles and for Appirio and the leadership.”

“They also create a drive for people to be their best selves and do better work and pursue opportunities as well. They cultivate an environment where people can be vulnerable, which doesn’t always happen in a remote consulting environment,” says Julie. “I know many team members also reach out to those in their circle outside of the standard meeting times to bounce off ideas, get input, and connect.”

Centric

Name of the group: Inspired Women at Work (iW@W)

When they were started: 2012

Focus of the group: To create a sense of community for the women of Centric, to give women a place to get together and talk, support each other, discuss topics of interest, and receive mentorship from senior women leaders of Centric.

Danielle Laffey

Danielle LaffeyManager, Salesforce Practice Lead

How it was started: During the start of Centric’s Diversity and Inclusion program, several women spoke up that a support group for women employees would be something they would like to participate in. From there, the community and involvement continues to grow year over year.

When and where they meet: Centric has 13 offices spread throughout the US but we don’t want to limit our network to geographical areas. Therefore our group focuses on building connections and relationships across all our women. We hold regularly scheduled conference calls several times a year. The group meets during our quarterly business meetings for in-person networking, learning and social event. We also have a learning platform where our group shares articles and resources.  

Why they’re important: “Women face unique challenges in the workforce, especially in industries that tend to be male dominated. Creating a group where women can discuss these challenges, support each other both personally and professionally, and mentor one another is vitally important to creating a more inclusive work environment,” said Danielle Laffey, Manager, Salesforce Practice Lead at Centric. “Women groups also have the ability to educate the company on gender issues and ways we can all do better to challenge unconscious bias and stereotypes.”

Emarsys

Emarsys Women in Tech Group

Name of the group: Women of Emarsys (WEmarsys)

When it was started: Spring 2016

Focus of the group:

Heather Gaunt

Heather GauntSenior Manager of Enablement

“At Emarsys, every employee is encouraged to make their individual mark on the business. Our women’s group offers an additional opportunity for women to share their story, inspire others, and make a local difference in the workplace,” says Heather Gaunt, Senior Manager of Enablement at Emarsys.

“We have grown rapidly in the past two years; our women’s group offers a warm and steady sense of inclusion, especially for our new team members,” says Heather. By providing a stable and safe environment where female peers can relate to each other, we are better able to navigate the intricacies of our tech careers and make stronger contributions to the business.”

How it was started:
“We started in the Spring of 2016, approximately one year after the Emarsys North America office opened. At the time we had 9 women within the US office and we are now up to 27,” says Heather.

When and where they meet:
“To date, we’ve done our best to meet quarterly and even monthly, at times. We focus on a different topic that is of interest and relevant to the group,” says Heather. “We do a bi-annual planning session to understand best meeting cadence, what topics would be of interest, and other initiatives to focus on.”

“To this point, we’ve had sessions on work/life balance, confidence, a clothing drive for Dress for Success, and also hosted a few inspirational women speakers and events, including one with Ladies in SaaS,” says Heather.

Response from the leadership:
”It has been fantastic to witness the tremendous support from leadership and the organization as we’ve embarked on this journey,” says Heather.

Emplify

Name of the group: Women of Emplify

When it was started: January 2016

Focus of the group: Women of Emplify (WE) is intended to facilitate interaction and organize activities that support the sustained conversation on the subject of female empowerment and leadership.

Who WE Is:

  • An employee resource and advocate
  • A safe space to discuss the challenges women have in business
  • A support system for women and their supporters at Emplify
  • Educators and facilitators
  • Open-minded

Who WE Is Not:

  • Exclusive group for women
  • Femme Fatale
  • Forceful of our ideas, beliefs, or practices

When and where they meet:
“We typically meet once a month in our office,” says Nicole MacLean, Events and Campaign Manager. “Depending on the type of event, we’ll get together either over lunch or in the afternoon starting about 4:30 p.m. We’ve also done a few socials outside of the office such as a bowling night at Pinheads and a wine tasting at Easley Winery.”

Why they’re important:

Nicole MacLean

Nicole MacLeanEvents and Campaign Manager

“WE (Women of Emplify) has been an important addition to the Emplify culture because it has provided a platform to the office for discussion and development,” says Nicole. “WE’s mission is to help women thrive, whether that be professionally or personally, and provide support to everyone at Emplify. They say 80% of success is just showing up, and I think that WE just having a regular cadence and presence in the office helps keep this topic top of mind and the lines of communication open.”

 

High Alpha

High Alpha Blue Angels Women in Tech Group

Name of the group: Blue Angels

When it was started: Late 2016

Focus of the group:
“Our three core pillars for the Blue Angels program are regular programming, smaller support and mentoring groups called ‘squadrons’, and focused community outreach,” says M.T. Ray, VP of Talent at High Alpha. “For our regular programming, the group’s vision is to provide professional and personal development opportunities through guest speakers and other activities organized quarterly. The squadrons are smaller (6-10) mentoring groups that meet monthly or every-other-month.”

How it was started:

M.T. Ray

M.T. RayVP of Talent

“The High Alpha partners, myself, and the rest of our leadership had the idea and desire to launch a program like this for quite some time,” says M.T. “We also heard from women across the portfolio companies that they would be interested in a group like this.”

“We officially formed the initiative at High Alpha in late 2016, led by a steering committee with an individual from each of our portfolio companies.”

The group was successful from the start, and High Alpha unveiled a unique brand and name for the group in June 2017, the “Blue Angels”.

Why it’s important:
“The group has had a profound impact on our company and our portfolio companies,” says M.T. “It’s provided great professional development and networking opportunities for the women that work across High Alpha Studio’s portfolio as well as a unique culture and hiring differentiator for our companies as we continue to attract amazing, diverse talent at our companies.”

Kronos

Kronos Women in Tech Group

Name of the group: Women in Business

When it was started: March 2017

Focus of the group:

Margaret Carter

Margaret CarterCampus Recruiter

“Women in Business was started by a group at the Kronos Indianapolis office that wanted to come together to empower others, share knowledge and experience, provide opportunities to network, and promote Kronos as a great place for women to work in the technology industry,” says Margaret Carter, Campus Recruiter at Kronos.

Why it’s important:
“It is important for our company to create an environment in the technology industry that promotes equality and inclusiveness,” says Margaret.

NextGear Capital

NextGear Capital Women in Tech Group

Name of the group: Women With Drive

When it was started: July 2016

Focus of the group:
“We believe it’s important to have a network that helps our female team members feel empowered in the workplace and to have a platform to express their thoughts and ideas,” says Sarah Lutey, Director of Corporate Strategy.

How it was started:

Sarah Lutey

Sarah LuteyDirector of Corporate Strategy

“The Cox Automotive Carmel Chapter of Women With Drive was started by three female leaders of NextGear Capital: Sarah Lutey, Jennifer Gaylor and Sandy Moon,” says Sarah. “Our mission statement is: ‘NextGear’s Women with Drive Employee Resource Group is committed to establishing a network that promotes the personal and professional development of women. Through enhancing business performance, effecting change in the workplace, and promoting involvement in the community, our goal is to deliver awareness, support, and empowerment to the diverse needs of women within our marketplace.'”

When and where they meet:
“We have at least one meeting every month where we either bring in guest speakers to talk about various topics or we have our own team members facilitate meetings,” says Sarah. “We have also done a few social events after business hours.”

Upcoming event:
“Our next social is a joint networking event between NextGear and TechPoint that will allow female business and technology leaders to engage with our Senior Leadership Team at NextGear,” says Sarah.

One Click Ventures

One Click Ventures Women in Tech Group

Name of the group: Go Girl Book Club

When it was started: October 2014

Focus of the group:
“We read a wide variety of books on topics of personal development, feminism, and leadership,” says Angie Stocklin, Co-Founder and COO. “Our very first book was #GIRLBOSS, and we recently wrapped up Bad Feminist and Notorious RBG.”

How it was started:

Angie Stocklin

Angie StocklinCo-Founder and COO

“One Click launched our Go Girl Book Club in response to requests for additional professional development and internal networking opportunities,” says Angie.

“It is personally important to me, as a female business owner, to provide an opportunity for female professionals to grow and develop during their time at One Click,” says Angie. “It is also really important to provide a safe space to discuss a variety of views and opinions without fear of judgment, and to establish camaraderie around shared experiences.”

When they meet:
“We officially meet once per month to discuss our current book, and generally read 6 books per year,” says Angie. “But we also augment book discussions with movie nights & networking events, and have a dedicated Slack channel where we provide support for each other and share articles and news with each other.”

Angie reports that the group has “grown significantly over time and it now has 18 members”.

 

Salesforce

TechPoint women in tech group

Name of the group: Salesforce Women’s Network

When it was started: 2008

Focus of the group: Founded in 2008, Salesforce Women’s Network was Salesforce’s very first Ohana Group. There are now more than 3,200 global members working toward gender equality in the workplace and beyond. The programs in Indiana include Lean In peer mentorship circles, speaker and panel series, networking events, volunteer efforts focused on women and girls in the community, children’s initiatives, and much more.

Allison Lucas (Dowe)

Allison Lucas (Dowe)Finance Manager

“Our vision statement is ’empower Indianapolis-based women at all levels in their careers to achieve success and satisfaction and to further Salesforce’s commitment to the strategic retention and career growth of women,'” says Allison Lucas (Dowe), Finance Manager.

“Our focus is always on improving inclusion and equality to help make Salesforce the best place to work for all,” says Allison.

When they meet: “We have 5 committees that organize programming year round,” says Allison. “These initiatives include Women’s Inspiration Network (WIN) Gives Back (volunteer work focused on women and girls in the community), MomsWIN (to support working parents), Lean In (for peer mentorship via circles that meet each month), WIN & Wine (for networking and career development often including speakers and panels), and the newly launched WIN Adventure (to get outside as well as push ourselves outside of our comfort zones). Events are shared with the entire Salesforce Indianapolis community and open to everyone.”

Sharpen

Sharpen Women in Tech Group

Name of the group: Sharpenettes

When it was started: 2016

Focus of the group:

Amanda Poole

Amanda PooleTalent Acquisition Specialist

“It’s really important to leadership that the women at Sharpen feel empowered, supported, and encouraged to pursue professional development,” says Amanda Poole, Talent Acquisition Specialist at Sharpen. “Even though our group was a casual, grassroots approach initially, the company recognized the importance of having a women’s group — especially in tech — and has made investments in it.”

According to Amanda, the Sharpenettes has “instilled a lot of confidence in the women at Sharpen. We feel valued and recognized as an essential part of the success of this company.”

“It’s been a vehicle for the women in our organization to network, support, help, and promote each other in the workplace,” says Amanda. “We are lucky enough to have participation from every single woman in the company, which is great because we have a diverse group. Everyone brings something unique to the table.”

How it was started:
“We tripled our employee headcount in 2016 and forty-five percent of those new hires were women,” says Amanda. The group started soon after.

When and where they meet:
“Our group has something for everyone, we meet once a month for after-work drinks, have a weekly book club meeting, and attend regular professional networking events outside the company such as Girl Develop It!, Ladies in SaaS, and Women in Hi-Tech,” says Amanda.

What else?
“Right now we are reading ‘You are a Badass’ by Jen Sincero, and have ‘Feminist Fight Club’, ‘Lean In’, and ‘#Girlboss’ on the docket for future reads,” says Amanda. “We also have the always-entertaining Slack channel that keeps us all connected on a day-to-day basis.”

Springbuk

Springbuk Women in Tech Group

Name of the group: Women of Springbuk (WOS)

When it was started: June 2016

Focus of the group:

Kristy Bittles

Kristy BittlesDirector of Experience

“At the moment, our primary focus is sharing local women in tech events and supporting each other on both internal and external struggles and wins,” says Kristy Bittles, Director of Experience at Springbuk. “In the coming months, I’m planning on expanding our efforts to host more in-person events for our WOS crew, and I’m always interested in learning about different ways our WOS group can get involved with the rest of the tech community.”

How it was started:
“In the past three years, I have kept a pulse on women in business and women in tech, but I hadn’t had the support network to share these insights with,” says Kristy. “This changed in mid-2016 when we added two amazing women to our team and discovered our shared passion for such a network. That’s when we started the Women of Springbuk group.”

When and where they meet:
“Today, our WOS group is living out as a slack ‘support’ channel that lets the ladies of Springbuk know from the start they have additional team beyond their department,” says Kristy. “We share articles, challenges, success stories, and book recommendations. We get together for drinks and discussion or just to relax.”

What’s next for WOS:
“Currently, one of our Client Success Managers, Caitlin Hickey, is looking into starting a mentorship program with college grads and I have reached out to other tenants of the Union 525 Building to see if they’d be interested in doing a building-wide meet-up for women in tech,” says Kristy.

TechPoint Supporting Women in Tech

In June, we announced our partnership with the Indy Women in Tech Foundation (IWiT) and the addition of Emily Trimble, Indy Women in Tech Program Manager, on our team. Read more about the partnership and the work we’re doing to advance women in tech.

Know of another women’s group in Indiana? Tell us! Send us an email at sara@techpoint.org.

Appirio

CATEGORY: Cloud/Hosting Technology, Crowdsourcing Technology CITY: Indianapolis

Appirio is a global services company that helps customers compete and win in the cloud.

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Emarsys North America

CATEGORY: Big Data/Analytics, Marketing/Sales Technology CITY: Indianapolis

Emarsys North America opened in 2015 to bring the excitement of it's powerful B2C Marketing Cloud to the U.S. market.

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Kronos Incorporated

CATEGORY: Business Productivity Software, HR Technology CITY: Indianapolis

Kronos is a leading provider of workforce management and human capital management cloud software solutions.

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NextGear Capital

CATEGORY: Financial Technology, Mobile App Technology CITY: Carmel

The industry's leading independent inventory finance company, providing flexible lines of credit for dealers to purchase inventory.

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One Click

CATEGORY: Consumer Technology, E-Commerce CITY: Greenwood

One Click is on a mission is to be the world's most people-focused eyewear company.

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Springbuk

CATEGORY: Analytics, Healthcare Technology CITY: Indianapolis

Springbuk is a health analytics tool that simplifies employer data into a single warehouse for 1:1 engagement and predictive insights.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Staff Report. TechPoint is focused on strengthening the tech community in Indiana.