The Women of Silicon Valley conference was a two-day event on May 10-11th last week in San Francisco, bringing together more than 1,000 tech-industry professionals representing the breadth from major corporations to the smallest and newest startups. The event was packed with everything you’d expect at a business conference; engaging keynotes, informative panels, numerous working sessions, and a vibrant expo lounge – which served as a great place to network and meet with diverse companies. But this event had something, or maybe felt somehow, different. What was striking was the palpable energy and excitement present. No doubt it had something to do with the fact that this was the first time many of us had been at an in-person event in over two years, but it was more than that. The conference’s theme was ‘resilience;’ it fit the occasion perfectly, reflected in the buzz that can only be generated when a large, diverse group of women comes together after a time of great upheaval and transformation. These times have called on us to be resilient in new ways as we rethink how to give more meaning to our work and personal lives post-pandemic.
I had the opportunity to work the RingCentral booth and speak to many of the women in attendance. It was great to support my colleagues representing our workplace’s gender, diversity, and inclusion values here at RingCentral.
RingCentral had two speakers at the event Jennifer Caukin, our VP of Analyst Relations, and Kelly Malone, our Director of Application Security. Jennifer’s keynote, “From the Great Resignation to the Great Reset,” looked at the current times from the standpoint of an individual employee, a leader, and an employer. It’s easy to look at the Great Resignation as a ‘glass half-empty’ scenario, especially when you see people around you leave your company. But Jennifer presented a different perspective. Why not imagine the ‘glass as half-full’ and take this time as the opportunity for ‘The Great Reset’? Given our new realities, she shared checklists for employees, leaders, and employers on the most crucial ways to evaluate choices and move forward successfully.
Kelly led a workshop on navigating a career pivot using transferable skills. The workshop was for women interested in creating a new career path, the mentors and sponsors of those looking for a career change, or those rejoining the workforce after a career break. There was lively discussion throughout the workshop, encompassing over 40 participants spanning various industries. With the trend of the Great Resignation, the workshop addressed questions we often have when we are at a career crossroads, such as how do I leverage my current skill-set to pivot into a new field or function in technology?
Jennifer, Kelly, and my other teammates who attended shared their top takeaways from this memorable event:
Jennifer Caukin, VP Analyst Relations, RingCentral: “One of my key takeaways from the conference is there’s an appetite for taking an up-close look at all the upheaval brought about by the pandemic and great resignation, as well as gain practical advice on how to move forward and leverage it to transform in a positive way as employees, as leaders, and as employers.”
Kelly Malone, Director Application Security, RingCentral: “The first keynote speaker talked about your experience being a mosaic with a variety of experiences that lead to a colorful blueprint. That’s a great analogy. I also really liked the second keynote on the glass half full and the opportunity for a reset with a checklist for leaders and employers.”
Briana Kaler, Financial Analyst, RingCentral: “Finally being back in person again felt great at this conference, as well as feeling the energy of community and women empowering each other. It was really powerful. The emphasis on soft skills and being empathetic with ourselves and each other was a really important takeaway.”
Sara Boushakra, Senior Brand Specialist Talent Acquisition, RingCentral: “It’s important to recognize that having a vast skill set and finding your passions is key. It can be so many different things and getting bogged down with one purpose or one passion may be limiting. I think it’s important to recognize you can have a variety of different passions and through them find transferable skills that you can apply toward your journey.”
Paola Zeni, Chief Privacy Officer, RingCentral: “The conference was a great opportunity for women to learn from each other and empower each other at a time of great change. Meeting in person after long months of virtual connections was a joy and a testament to our resilience.”
Dianne Panlilio, Program Analyst, Business Process & Automation, RingCentral: “It was refreshing to attend a conference that was geared toward women’s experiences in the tech industry. There is great value in meeting in person with female tech leaders, it inspires me to make waves in the tech industry too, and hopefully be a role model for Asian American females. Thank you, RingCentral for giving me the opportunity to explore all aspects of the tech industry from a female perspective.”
Nicole Brown, Manager, Professional Services, RingCentral: “It was empowering to see the opportunities and diversity represented at the event. It allowed for women and allies to gather and show that we have the resilience to accomplish anything we set our minds on. It was truly inspiring to me on a personal level to get to share the experiences I had with my stepdaughter when I returned home. We looked up some of the exceptional women represented at the conference. It was a wonderful chance to show her that the tech world is for anyone and everyone.”
We’re all aware of the challenges women continue to face in their careers, particularly in the tech industry. This is why this year’s Women of Silicon Valley conference was the perfect opportunity to bring together a community of women to talk about resilience, empowerment, and change. For RingCentral, it’s a topic that has been top of mind and one that we spotlighted during International Women’s Day and Women’s History month, taking a stance on the gender pay gap and exploring the power of connection. Change starts with a conversation and I’m really proud to have been part of the team who attended this conference to support other women and talk about shaping a future that will bring out the best in all of us.
Originally published May 19, 2022