Women In Business - Our Time to Lead: Women and Men Creating Our Future
Santa Clara’s Women in Business club hosted Telle Whitney Tuesday night in their event entitled “Our Time to Lead: Women and Men Creating Our Future.” The goal was to create dialogue and foster discussion about how men and women can work together to create a better workplace environment for everyone.
Whitney, the keynote speaker of the night, could not have been a more fitting guest. A computer scientist and entrepreneur at heart, Whitney is the former CEO of the Anita Borg Institute, the principal of Telle Whitney, LLC, and the co-founder of the Grace Hopper Celebration - a series of conferences designed to bring the research and interests of women in computing to the forefront that has grown to the largest gathering of women in computing in the world.
As a woman who has excelled in a field typically overpopulated by men, she knows the importance of having strong relationships and mutual respect between men and women in the workplace.
“I’m passionate about women being at the table to create technology,” she said. “We really need to have men and women working together. Listen. Listen to what others say and make sure that everyone involved has a voice.”
Throughout her speech she gave lots of advice on how to make sure women’s voices are heard in the workplace. She talked about the three main things corporations can do to create change: hold leaders accountable, evaluate diversity and inclusion programs, and mobilize all people to work together. She reminded attendees that it’s okay, and should actually be encouraged, to ask about diversity and inclusion numbers and initiatives during the initial interview process.
One of the main questions Whitney received was about how to deal with the imposter syndrome at work, especially as a female in a majority male work environment or a new graduate in general. Her response was to recognize that everyone has this feeling at some point and to just keep moving forward.
“We must become comfortable being uncomfortable. If you’re too comfortable where you are, you aren’t growing,” she stated.
The event was well-received by student participants as well. Women in Business Vice President of Events, Anna Rosztoczy, explained that over 50 guests attended, making this event the best turnout of the year.
“It was such an honor to get to learn from Telle Whitney herself about this topic of gender inequality in the workplace - an issue she is so passionate about and involved in,” she said.
Other students shared similar praise for the night, highlighting how a Women in Business event that brings men and women together to create something greater was really encouraging.
“I loved the concept of this event. So often we’re focused on women supporting women, which is great, but bringing men and women together provides for a constructive conversation about inequalities that exist in the workplace,” said senior Siena Armanino.
While Whitney’s presence provided everyone in the room with some valuable advice and actions to think about, some students had an even closer connection with her work.
Senior, computer science major Olivia Hess shared that this was a big deal to have Whitney on campus, especially as someone who had been to the Grace Hopper Celebration twice. The impact of the conferences were only further validated as she shared that they were a big reason she landed her post-graduate position as a software engineer at Apple.
“As someone who has been to Grace Hopper twice and experienced first hand the reach and impact that the organization has, it was amazing to get to hear from the co-founder of the conference at my own school, especially because someone that well-known in the CS world is almost unreachable to any given student without an event like this.”
A well-deserved hats off to the Women in Business organizers of this event who pulled together a fantastic guest, a great turnout, and valuable content Tuesday night. Perhaps the entire thing was best summarized by Women in Business President, Sam Martellaro, who said, “as a formative female presence within the computing industry, Telle Whitney shared a vastly different perspective on a company’s responsibility when it comes to diversifying their workforce. Her presence not only inspired the women (and a couple men) there to do our part, but also showed us what steps we can take to set change in motion.”
Article by Kyle Lydon'20