The IT industry is still very strongly male-dominated. Despite the stereotype, there are many women with great potential and competencies to thrive and be very successful in it. To support this thesis, we have a perfect example of our internal initiative. It promotes the idea of diversity, inspires change, and gives real power!
In May 2020, after some complications resulting from the current situation and transitioning to full-time remote work, the official inauguration of the Women in Power finally happened. The formula of an on-line conference, although different from the original concept, proved to be quite successful. What’s even more important, our first virtual meeting officially initiated the process of long-term changes. Our direction- more open and diverse work environment, actively supporting women in the IT industry.
That’s how it started- the founders have a floor
Women in Power exists thanks to the internal initiative of people who saw clear disproportions in their professional environment. They have also decided that it was time for changes and worked really hard to make the difference. The project is designed by women and for women. The whole concept is created by four founders – Anna Wdowiak, Urszula Wnuszyńska, Aleksandra Grzelak, and Ewa Białowąs.
When we started thinking about the project, women constituted 17% of all employees in our company. Only 10% in the technical departments. It was a starting point to consider what is the reason for this huge disproportion and what can we do to reduce it.
– Anna Wdowiak, HR Manager
We have noticed that women in our company (and not only here) tend not to use their full potential. We knew for sure that they can do much more. This observation was followed by the decision to take actions. To do something that will increase their self-confidence, support professional development and enable the exchange of experiences.
– Aleksandra Grzelak, WFM & Delivery Manager
Change is a process, but you have to start somewhere
We have been working on WiP since 2019. At first, it was just a vision, an idea. Gradually the concept evolved into a multi-stage, complex project involving a lot of people.
Initially, there was a small group engaged. Then more and more people have heard about it and wanted to help. Thanks to the cooperation with the marketing department, the initiative quickly got its visual identity, logo, and website. From the very beginning, many men supported it, including CEO- Szymon Bartkowiak and managers. They appreciated the initiative and were personally involved in its development. As a result, the series ” Male point of view on WIP” was added to the agenda. It proved to be a valuable addition that perfectly integrated the event formula.
The same idea, brand new formula
The main goal of WiP is to empower the participants. Helping them with establishing a strong position in the IT environment by providing the right tools is very important too. We hope that increasing self-confidence, creating development opportunities, and encouraging faith in one’s competencies will lead to a greater percentage of women in leadership positions and increase the overall employment of women in the company in the long term. How we planned to achieve it? By the regular summits open for all. However, due to the remote work situation, it is quite complicated at the moment.
From the very beginning, the concept was focused on meetings, creating space for the knowledge and experiences exchange. The planned summits, apart from valuable workshops and lectures, were meant to be an ideal opportunity for integration and getting to know each other, to create a strong community. A pandemic situation thwarted these plans, but abandoning the project was not an option, not even for a moment. The whole team just had to brainstorm once again and re-design the formula. Effective and attractive, but safe. That is how the idea of breaking the conventions into shorter but more frequent on-line meetings was born.
First season- the summary
So far, we have hosted five virtual meetings of the TT PSC women’s community in a new formula. Since the project started in May, 79 participants joined the organization. Each meeting was also attended by inspiring women who have achieved professional success and agreed to share their experiences. During the first season, we have met with Urszula Dziewit, Elżbieta Mądra, Barbara Górska, Karina Popieluch, Magdalena Bracco Spruit, and Marta Kowalczyk-Rompała.
Every meeting had a theme. All speeches and workshops were focused on one subject to explore different points of view and get the big picture. Thanks to this approach, during the Q&As and open discussion time, we can effectively focus on a specific issue. It also makes it easier to find a reference point, motivates the participants to open up, and draw valuable conclusions. After all, this is the whole point and the most important aspect for the organizers.
The topics of the meetings included issues related to diversity, women in the world of technology, discrimination, communication, and feedback. The formula of the event proved successful in practice. After five sessions we can confidently say that despite the necessary changes, it fulfills its function perfectly. Every Women in Power summit starts with a short intro by one of the founders. The second permanent item on the agenda is the “male point of view”, followed by the speech of the guest, usually in the form of a discussion panel. The meeting is summed up and “closed” by the Q&A session and open-discussion time. This is the key aspect in building self-confidence and engagement of the participants.
What’s next? Future plans and mission continuation
Upcoming events will bring even more extraordinary guests. During the winter season, some well-known specialists will guide us through the women’s re-branching and building a personal brand. For the next stages we have also planned online workshops on soft skills development. Next year we will introduce a mentoring program for women and to develop the Women in Power leadership path. The first one is open for all, whose main goal is to strengthen self-confidence and raise individual competencies. The leadership path is dedicated to participants who show predispositions to be a leader in their area of expertise. If the situation allows it, the first stationary summit will be organized next year. We hope that it will be a great, inspiring event with all our speakers and participants.
– Anna Wdowiak, HR Manager