What you missed at Move the Dial’s Global Summit

BY Jadecy Kidane

Last week, 2800 people gathered in Toronto for the #movethedial Global Summit. With the  mission to advance the leadership and participation of all women in tech, the day was packed with personal and inspiring stories from a melting pot of industry leaders.

#movethedial also encourages young girls to pursue careers in STEM. The inclusion event welcomed people of all ages and identities to learn from others in the tech sector.

The theme of the conference was simple: all in. While you may immediately think ‘giving 120%’, that wasn’t it. ‘All’ meant all genders, all races, all ethnicities, and all backgrounds. Why? Because moving the dial is a team effort.

The day was a one-of-a-kind experience for everyone, including the women of BlueCat that attended. If you couldn’t make it to this conference, here are our takeaways.

 

1. Take action now.

“Don’t wait. No one will think about your success more than you, so don’t think you are going to get noticed by others by just doing what is expected. Do things that are unexpected.” - Cheryl Kerrigan, VP of People.

During the Diversity and Inclusion panel, leaders from Google, Dropbox, and eBay encouraged anyone considering creating a D&I program to just start. These initiatives are long term endeavors that don’t necessarily have a clear endpoint. Take the first step to create momentum.

2. Take ownership of your work and help others do the same.

“Give yourself credit for what you do. Acknowledge your own successes and make others aware of them.” – Elly Vousden, Office Manager

“Let women know your appreciation of their positive work and actions. Call them out to give credit and kudos, both directly but also when they are not in the room.” – Rosalie Thompson, Technical Writer

When marketing executive Boz Saint John talked about the early days of her career, she shared how she recommended director Spike Lee hire Beyoncé for an upcoming project while as his assistant. She reminded us that our opinions are valuable regardless of the position you’re in. If you can meaningfully add to a conversation, don’t doubt yourself and just do it. 

3. Be vulnerable.

“Courageous leaders tell stories of growth, not stories of success. While success stories are a great inspiration, they don't shed light on the tough times.” – Mythri Murthy, Sales Development Representative

“One way to be an ally is to choose not to cover. Be vulnerable. Share your story.” – Erin Bionda, Marketing Manager

There was one speaker that was especially open and honest about a moment in his past. In ‘The Role of Men’ panel, Consul General of Canada Zaib Shaikh told us about a time that he stood idly by as a male peer made offensive comments to a female peer. Zaib acknowledged his inaction played a part in allowing that situation to happen. Learning from that moment, he reminded us that men have an equally important part in making change.

4. Don’t be well balanced. Be well lopsided.

“I always feel immense pressure to prove to everyone that I can be good at whatever I do, like it's no big deal and to do it with grace and panache. When Randi Zuckerberg said "pick 3" to focus on, depending on what your priorities are for the day, month, or year, this stuck with me!” – Shruti Suppiah, Events and Partner Marketing Manager

Randi named five areas in life: work, sleep, family, fitness, friends. Then she tells us to pick three because doing all five is hard and frankly, unrealistic. Instead, prioritize what’s important for the right moments and don’t beat yourself up for not being able to do it all.

5. Learn it. Earn it. Return it.

“A mentor is not the same as a champion. A mentor will give you advice, but a champion fights for you. I need to be more of a champion.” – Erin Bionda, Marketing Manager

 “The theme of relationships kept coming up, and that if we really wanted to move the dial, we need others. Foster relationships, pay it forward, be curious, and be open with our own experiences.” – Michelle Lovelace, Sales Learning Consultant

The ‘Raising HER’ panel featured three generations of women sharing their stories in traditionally male-dominated industries, which included Rola Dagher, President of Cisco Systems Canada. She shared a great mantra with us: learn it, earn it, return it. This was a reminder that a rising tide lifts all boats. So while we individually are striving for better, don’t forget to look around and lend a helping hand.

 

 

Jadecy Kidane

Jadecy Kidane is the Marketing Content Manager at BlueCat.

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