- DFW Alliance of Technology and Women (DFW*ATW) is a vital non-profit organization committed to increasing the number of women in leadership and strengthening the pipeline of girls entering technology fields.
- Employee Resource Groups like HOLA help provide the community and networking opportunities Latinas need to thrive, innovate and lead at RingCentral.
A rising tide
In 2002, a group of women working at Texas Instruments formed a support group to help each other navigate the traditionally male semiconductor industry.
Today, that support group has grown into a nonprofit network with 400+ members, all actively advocating for women and girls and helping them succeed in technology.
Filling the pipeline
For Enterprise Account Executive, Marla Ravkind, being involved with DFW*ATW is a chance to focus on building a pipeline of women. “If we want to address the disparity of women in the technology workforce, we have to say to ourselves, “Where does this begin?” And the truth is, it begins in grade school. We build out groups and do a lot of fun, STEM-related activities, and once we get them interested, we encourage them and connect them to programs that can develop their specific interests.”
Expertise in navigating the technology industry is a game-changer for students, as they can be guided into specific areas that are not only interesting, but positioned for growth. That’s where DFW*ATW’s “Ignite” program plays a role. “Ignite is our most popular program,” says Ravkind. “Since COVID, we have a lot of women and mothers that had to pause their career and are ready to get back into the workforce. We help them upskill with certifications like AWS (Amazon Web Services) or (Microsoft) Azure. We build out the curriculum, in partnership with AWS and Azure, and hire the trainers to get them certified.”
Training is good. Connections are better. That’s why Ravkind and DFW*ATW don’t stop with certifications. “We’ve even built a job portal called Employer Connect, where we are able to connect women with organizations like RingCentral, CapitalOne, Accenture and Salesforce. We track their progress, see who’s been hired where, and serve as ambassadors for these women – sharing their accomplishments and making sure they’re noticed for their achievements. Now, we just need to see more women in the C-suite. We’re laying the groundwork for that right now.”
“This year, we’re really focused on aligning our priorities withHispanic and African-American ERGs as well as other organizations that promote diversity,” says Ravkind. “We’re pushing that initiative forward to say: “Hey, these are the communities that we should go into for these young girls to get them interested in STEM. e’re shining a light on these opportunities for kids whose schools truly don’t have the resources and I can tell you this past year, it’s making a difference. We pay close attention to our demographics, and interest is growing significantly with Hispanic women and girls.”
Setting an example
COVID took a lot of women out of the workforce, which makes now a critical time to blaze a trail for others. “When young Hispanic women and girls see someone as inspirational as (Pinnacle Group CEO) Nina Vaca, they say, “Wow, she looks like me, she talks like me, she grew up like me,” and that’s a big deal. By sharing the stories of more Hispanic women, it makes it easier for the next generation – they don’t have to feel like outsiders, or like they don’t belong. It tells them: there’s an opportunity here for me too.”
Lighting the path to success.
How can RingCentral let Hispanic women know there’s opportunity for them here? Ravkind says we have to continue creating an inclusive environment – and making sure Hispanic women are aware of the opportunities available. “People want to come to an organization where they are going to feel supported, and feel like there is an opportunity for growth. Women want to be put in a position where they can and will be successful. Having leadership that is invested in your success is key! We need to be intentional about recruiting and share success stories with candidates. This will help them see how clear the path to success is at RingCentral.”
Originally published Oct 04, 2022