- For Women’s Equality Day RingCentral’s Briana Kaler, Glenna Barron, Georgiya Marchus, and SanYee Dieh discuss RingCentral’s WISE mentorship program
- The WISE Employee Resource Group (ERG) hosts a mentorship program 2-3x a year. This program is open to everyone regardless of gender.
Women’s Equality Day is celebrated in the United States on August 26th to commemorate the 1920 adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which prohibits the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex. In honor of Women’s Equality Day, we sat down with some previous participants in our Women in SaaS Empowerment Employee Resource Group (WISE ERG) mentorship program. They discussed the value of mentorship for career advancement and how mentorship promotes women’s equity in the workplace.
An introduction to WISE.
RingCentral’s WISE ERG believes everyone should be comfortable bringing their best and most authentic selves to work. Through events, education and mentorship, communication, and advocacy, WISE strives to build an environment where everyone can thrive. The WISE mentorship program has just kicked off its latest session and the current cohort is the largest one yet with over 70 participants!
One way WISE elevates its members is by acknowledging and publicizing their achievements. A recent post in the WISE ERG group chat recognizes one of our interviewees, Senior Financial Analyst Briana Kaler:
Congratulations to Briana for receiving Harvard’s Finance Leadership Award! In addition to her incredible work at RingCentral, Briana is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Finance from Harvard. We are so proud of you for continuing your education and pursuing your dreams!
Highlighting the achievements and the advancement of other women at RingCentral is a great encouragement. Briana told us that early in her career, she did not see many women leaders in finance, which was discouraging. “The WISE mentorship helped me gain the perspective I was lacking in a field where I saw little female representation. Now we have Sonalee (Parekh) as CFO and great representation across the board.”
While having women in leadership provides valuable role models, the WISE mentorship program gives mentees tangible tools for career advancement. Mentors and mentees are encouraged to meet regularly for discussion, problem-solving, role-playing, and guidance. Product Marketing Manager SanYee Dieh joined RingCentral as an intern right after college. “When I first joined the WISE mentorship program, I wasn’t as confident, but my mentor helped teach me how to speak up for myself in meetings and on calls.” SanYee’s mentorship experience helped build confidence while she learned to manage the complex relationships between various teams. Through biweekly meetings spent in role-play and discussion, she gained tangible tools to successfully navigate her career.
Mentors are instrumental.
Senior Sales Enablement Manager Glenna Barron told us her first mentor was instrumental in her career at RingCentral. “Her advice is to always go to meetings with an agenda. She also taught me to network internally—to harness those relationships internally with your cross-functional partners, key stakeholders, and allies—because those relationships will help with projects that need to be done.”
Director of Web Marketing Georgiya Marchus has been part of the WISE ERG since its inception and appreciates all of the programs that support her career growth. She’s had mentors inside and outside of RingCentral during her 5-year tenure and appreciates the perspective of an insider. “I’ve had two different mentors and it has been really interesting to see how they handle changes within the company.” She told us internal mentors tend to understand the culture better and are uniquely suited to advise on matters specific to RingCentral.
Although no one wants to encounter challenges with colleagues or managers, our mentees have found it helpful to have advocates and allies in these situations. One mentee recalled a time when a coworker requested that she work extended hours on a project “since she does not have children.” Another mentee could relate, having also experienced similar unfair expectations. Having a WISE mentor to talk to about constructive problem-solving and ways to promote more equitable policies is a powerful antidote to workplace discrimination. Briana noted that it’s helpful “having allies that are aligned with you that have your best interests in mind. If there is a misalignment, you have someone in your corner.”
Equity in the workplace.
With “#EmbraceEquity” as a common theme for this year’s Women’s Equality Day, we asked our mentees what workplace equity means to them. Glenna told us, “It means having equal access to projects and opportunities that my peers do.” Georgiya added, “Ideas have no hierarchy. If you are in power, it is your responsibility to give everyone the chance to share. Some of the greatest things that we have achieved have come out of giving that voice and opportunity for others to speak.”
Another way the WISE ERG is accelerating women’s careers is through The Leadership Accelerator Program (LEAP), which encompasses a comprehensive 5-course training covering topics such as working with sponsors and proactively sharing strengths. This program is offered annually to a select/nominated group of 20 women, providing them with valuable tools to advance their careers. A 2022 report from McKinsey found that only 52 women are promoted to manager for every 100 men in the technology industry and LEAP aims to change that.
More women in leadership.
At RingCentral, the WISE ERG is amplifying the voices of women at all levels of the company while promoting their career advancement. The LEAP program proactively aims to increase the number of women executives, which studies show benefits profitability and innovation.
Through education, mentoring, and advocacy, the WISE ERG is bringing more opportunities to women within our organization and greater equity to the technology industry.
Originally published Aug 29, 2023