What an evening! What an amazing audience! “Great variety and line up” of speakers! Lyft generously hosted in their modern offices in SF.
EQ Inspiration is not your traditional event. We mix people from all groups to encourage communication across genders, generations and business roles. We offer a wide range of speakers who approach a theme from their angle and point of view. The idea is create thinking outside the norm, to invite to conversation between individuals, and coming to a realization that diversity of thought invites creativity and innovation.
I am proud to be doing something completely new. Approaching equality in tech and related industries by broadening the conversation and introducing people who normally wouldn’t get a chance to meet to each other. My goal is have someone for everyone to meet at their level.
Thank you all attendees
Thank you for taking the time, for your open minds, for your willingness to listen and learn, for making new connections across genders, generations and business roles. EQ Inspiration is about connecting people, talking about what’s important with groups we usually don’t connect with, and making our circle of emotionally intelligent people wider every day. The winner of three tickets for our next event is Karthikeyan Ganapathy! and the winner of a Happiness Hack book is Todd Mazurek! Congratulations!
Thank you to the speakers
Ellen Petry Leanse, author of the Happiness Hack, opened with “Your Brain on Equality”, describing to us how “interacting with people unlike yourself is the best way to activate your highest forms of cognition: critical thought, creativity, long-term planning, comparative scenarios, mood regulation, objectivity, self-awareness”, leading to higher productivity and improved business results. Ellen shared that “non-homogenous teams are simply smarter. Working with people who are different from you may challenge your brain to overcome its stale ways of thinking and sharpen its performance.” She suggested that we focus on not what makes a great team, but what makes a team great: “It turns out that what makes a team great is weaving together people with different perspectives in respectful, open, equality-based collaboration.”
Our men role models from the tech industry, addressing the men, managers and aspiring managers in the room, showed that to be a great leader you have to focus on the development of your teams, keep culture in place during growth, and share and measure your efforts. Massimo Rapparini CIO of Logitech described why equality matters to him, recognizing that women don’t have the same opportunity as men, and that different cultures across the three continents where he has teams determine how diversity and inclusion work is done. In both Ireland and in India Massimo has programs in place to hire and advance women, to give them an equal chance. His main focus is to get senior leadership to 50-50 in all IT locations, to create role models, and avoid loosing women who are the only ones on their team. Joff Redfern, VP of Product at Atlassian, spoke about the power of the team and in order to build a great product cognitive diversity is key. Joff spoke about maintaining a corporate culture though massive growth with a clear vision and a strong leadership team. They both addressed the importance of becoming aware of our biases as leaders and I snuck in my horror story of “Situational Bias”.
Presenting three women engineers as role models to the younger generation women in the room was awesome! Madhura Dudgaonkar Senior Engineer from Workday encouraged the women in the audience to speak up and she talked about the satisfaction of realizing team members potential. (if I were a young engineer I would choose her as my manager!). Sarah Clatterbuck, seasoned executive in a senior engineering role at LinkedIn. She is a true role models for young women considering work in STEM. She leads the Women in Tech program that sponsors and drives their High School Trainee program at LinkedIn. Fantastic initiative!
Myra Nawabi shared her personal story from refugee to successful engineer at Lockheed Martin Space Systems. She talked about how major challenges throughout her life have made her even more determined to succeed, describing how she would focus on what she could control when everything felt like it was falling apart. Myra is an inspiration, a role model, who reminds us of perspective, and that helping others less privileged is important. Myra is the founder of LeanIn Palo Alto, and has recruited over 1700 women to join that network.
Our last presenter was Ray Arata, co-founder of the Better Man Conference and the Inclusive Leadership Group. Ray spoke about “Leading from the Heart”. He told the women in the room to “share their stories, acknowledge their allies, and to give direct feedback”. He asked the men to “connect with their harts, commit to new practices,and stand up and speak out” is his firm, confident, yet humble way.
This time we introduced Miranda Loos from the Robertson Institute of Intercultural Leadership (CIL) at UC Berkeley which is a center for training and research to advance leadership, understanding and collaboration across cultures; Laura Maish from Beaconforce, offering a software product to modernize management of teams in real time; Karen Fleshman founder of Racy Conversations; Joseph Souson from the Association for Women in Science; Lewis Brown Griggs a veteran in diversity work; and Roberta Guise from Femresouces, Look them up, if you haven’t already!
We will continue to explore ways to bring people to the discussion who wouldn’t usually consider an event for equality.
I am always looking for men role models from tech and related industries who will share what they are doing in their organizations or on their teams to improve the ratio, and always looking for women role models who want to share their own work, success story, and how they have been supported by allies throughout their careers.Please let me know if you know anyone I should meet and interview.
I hope to see you at a future EQ Inspiration! Thank you, Eva