Inspired by the Avanade leadership program for women
- Posted on March 23, 2017
I was entering University midway through the dot-com bubble. At that time “tech” was very hot – thankfully it still is today – and studying Computer Sciences was the popular thing to do. I went in not knowing that it was a male-dominated program. In fact, it was only after commencing my studies that I realized I was one of only five women in a classroom of fifty men.
There are some days I don’t notice that I’m a minority in Tech. I’ve been with Avanade for over four years and the diversity and inclusion of every person here makes it easy to forget that women are still facing challenges outside our walls. Headlines in the paper say that we’ve come a long way but we’re still not there yet. When I was invited to the Avanade Leadership Program for Women (ALPW), along with 30 other high potential colleagues from around the world, I was absolutely delighted. Though I did for a moment wonder why this training was catered specifically to women. What boundaries are left to push?
Now four months into this program, I can say that this is a life-changing experience.
My fellow ALPW participants and I became more conscious and aware of the hurdles we still face as women. From there, we learned which competencies will help us overcome those. As a woman, I can attest that we have a general tendency to want to do it all, and of course to do it absolutely perfectly. This program taught us to empower our teams and to multiply (not in the reproductive sense!), to be more confident and influential, to create a strong personal brand, to ask questions rather than judge, to create career and personal connections through networking, to amplify our executive presence, and to recognize our calling cards. Most importantly for me, I learned to coach my inner critic; that little nagging voice which constantly judges me and gets in the way.
It was by far the most empowering and unforgettable learning experience of my life, and that’s certainly not an embellished sentiment. I’m honored to have been invited to this program and it was a privilege to meet some of the strongest, smartest, unique and most determined women from all corners of the world. Colleagues, spouses, mothers, daughters, friends, athletes, victims, teachers, leaders. Each one of their personal stories moved me. I was stunned by the amount of work they take on in their personal and professional lives, and that was a learning experience in itself. I’m also grateful to all the Avanade Leaders and Executives for their guidance and for sharing their own personal journeys, and to the external coaches who came to help thousands of women like us.
Thank you ALPW for making me ready to be bold for change.