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The Changing Face of Tech, with Paula Ratliff

The Changing Face of Tech, with Paula Ratliff

We sit down with Paula Ratliff, President of Women Impact Tech, to discuss the importance of surrounding yourself with other professional women, creating a work culture where women can thrive, and why the retention rate for women in tech is so low.


0:00:00.1 Maricella Herrera: Hi everyone. Before I get to the episode, I want to take a moment to address the United States Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade on June 24th, which stripped away the right to have a safe and legal abortion. Restricting access to comprehensive reproductive care, including abortion threatens the health and independence of all people, which we have already seen with abortion bans and restrictions in countries like Poland and Malta. This decision has dire consequences and could have harsh repercussions for other landmark decisions within the United States. I encourage our audience, American and otherwise, to learn more about what you can do to help at I encourage you to speak up, take care and spread the word.

0:00:44.0 Intro: Welcome to the Ellevate Podcast, Conversations With Women Changing the Face of Business. And now your host, Maricella Herrera.


0:01:06.6 MH: Hi everyone, welcome to the Ellevate Podcast. I'm Maricella Herrera, the CEO of Ellevate Network, and the host of this show. Today, I'm here again with Oi Yin Lo, our program manager at Ellevate, who is also my partner in crime for the executive roundtables. How are you, Oi Yin?

0:01:28.5 Oi Yin Lo: Hello, I'm good, thank you. How are you doing this week?

0:01:31.5 MH: I'm doing good. It's getting very close to the New York City Marathon, which I am running on Sunday. So I'm very nervous. But other than that, I'm doing well.

0:01:47.6 OL: That's exciting. Is it your first one?

0:01:50.7 MH: First one, and people who have been listening to this podcast as well as the people in the executive roundtable, are probably sick and tired of me mentioning running or a marathon or a race of any kind. But this is the big one. Yes, this is what I've been training for.

0:02:07.2 OL: Yeah, I mean, it's a huge achievement.

0:02:09.1 MH: Thanks. It's something I wanted to do for a while, so I'm just happy that I am in good health and I'm not gonna work since I'm talking in the future, and that I can actually get a chance to do this. So it's been interesting, I've been using a lot of my time running, especially as I've been training, to listen... To a little bit, extend my podcast listening from just murder shows to other stuff, and I've really gotten into Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard. Have you ever listened to it?

0:02:54.2 OL: I have listened to maybe one episode, I understand the premise of it, mostly because I am a fan of his wife, more so than him.

0:03:05.7 MH: Yeah.

0:03:06.8 OL: So I've heard her to talk about it.

0:03:10.6 MH: Yeah, everyone I think is a fan of his wife. There was an episode of some reality cooking show or something, and Dax Shepard and Colin Hanks were guests. And Dax was like, oh, if something happens here, they're not gonna say Dax Shepard and Colin Hanks, they're gonna say, Kristen Bell's husband and Tom Hank's son died somewhere.

0:03:35.9 OL: That's very true.

0:03:38.5 MH: And, yep. Well, the show is great. He is actually quite smart, and he has very strong points of view. I just listened to an older episode with an Oxford professor of ethics and philosophy. And honestly, it was so, so good. I actually shared it on our Slack channel. Look it up, people, if you have a chance, 'cause it made me think... It did make me think a lot of how, 'cause he's talking about what are the things that really make an impact and are we doing them, are we really doing the things that will make an impact in the world? So like Fairtrade, is shopping Fairtrade better than shopping from some of the poorer countries? Where does your money have more impact? Even though those poor countries might not be able to comply with a lot of Fairtrade, not regulations, but standards, I guess. And I think about this a lot because in El Salvador, like my family grows coffee and, and I understand that there are certain standards. For example, if you want to sell coffee to Starbucks, you have to comply with certain standards, but they're very prohibitive for a lot of like coffee growers in nations that are poor. So, I don't know. It really, it really made me think.

0:05:11.8 OL: Yeah, I mean I think that points to like larger issues when we're talking about accessibility and equity. It's often something that people are able to promote if they're promoting it from a place of privilege. I don't think that they always take into account that the reasons behind why somebody might not be able to do something is not necessarily because they have a choice. It's because that's what's available to them.

0:05:42.1 MH: Yeah, they even talk about sweatshops, for example, and exactly what you were saying, right? That is what's available in many places as work.

0:05:53.6 OL: Yeah, and it's either that or or nothing at all. And so you make the choice for what you need to do just to survive sometimes.

0:06:03.2 MH: Yeah, so I highly recommend it. It's very good. I've been getting lots of ideas for Mobilize Women, which is our annual summit. For those of you who don't know, it is... We're hosted in June. We will be hosting it June 6th and 7th in 2023. And we tend to talk about things like this, things that make us think and really confront some of the notions that we might not want to, that might be a little uncomfortable, but that can make us really take action and change the world a little bit. So it's been good. What have you been into this week?

0:06:46.2 OL: I actually read an interesting article. I started following a new newsletter called The Hustle. And one of the articles that they had this week was Don't Confuse Office Culture basically. And it was a Gallup study that looked at I guess employee satisfaction in different types of workplaces, and hybrid scored the highest. Not surprising 'cause I think, you know, in these pandemic/post-pandemic times, we're seeing many more options in terms of work environments, but they were saying that hybrid actually creates a stronger sense of workplace culture than even fully in person.

0:07:37.4 MH: Really. I'm very surprised about that.

0:07:39.0 OL: I think, at least it seems like the measures that they were looking at, it's because when you have people who are "like forced to come in full-time," you're more likely to get burnt out, you're more likely to be less engaged even because you're constantly interrupted and distracted if you're all in the same place. And they even found that like hybrid workforces are less likely to be looking for a different job.

0:08:11.4 MH: Really?

0:08:12.9 OL: So it's pretty interesting.

0:08:15.4 MH: I mean, on the one hand it makes sense that when you're thinking about hybrid, I've been thinking a lot about trust and that and flexibility and, you know, hybrid work would give you that, right? There has to be a level of trust if that's the way that you're gonna work. And it should be more flexible than either being fully remote or fully in person. Maybe not fully remote, but fully in person for sure. So in that way I can see how it would be satisfying, but I also see how it can be isolating. But I guess if it's hybrid, you eventually see the people that you work with.

0:08:53.7 OL: Right. I think they were looking at it primarily with, like the standard hybrid where it's two or three days in the office and two or three days remote. So you're able to find that balance when you're in the office to really be the time that you catch up with one another. And then the days that you're remote, then you're concentrated on like just productivity and doing things that require that more intense focus.

0:09:26.7 MH: That makes sense. That's interesting. I'll check it out. So the newsletter is The Hustle?

0:09:31.7 OL: The Hustle, yeah.

0:09:34.0 MH: I'll check it out. I haven't heard of this one, so should not be signing up for more newsletters. I was just saying how I have 400 unread emails in my email inbox.

0:09:44.4 OL: Yeah. Well, they're starting a podcast soon too. So then you could just get like the quick 10-minute snippet, kind of how the New York Times does it with their morning.

0:09:58.7 MH: Well, today, we're actually gonna be talking about what is going on in the tech world, particularly for women who are in carriers in tech, also how tech has to do with everything really nowadays. Our guest, Paula Ratliff, is the president of Women Impact Tech and she's devoted her career to aiding corporations and crafting strong DEI statements backed in action and results. She's now turning her attention to further promoting gender, sexuality, and racial diversity in the tech space. My conversation with Paula is actually quite interesting. We covered a lot from what companies are doing well, what companies are really trying to build inclusive cultures, and we talk about the Dobbs decision and the impact it will have for women, and we covered a lot of ground, so hope you enjoy. And we'll go to my conversation with Paula. Welcome. I'm here with Paula Ratliff today, and I'm so excited to have you join us Paula. How are you?

0:11:20.5 Paula Ratliff: I'm great. Thank you for the opportunity.

0:11:24.9 MH: So Paula, I know you're currently the president of Women Impact Tech and you know, your career has been really focused in DEI and bringing that equity or equality into corporations and other places. But can you give me some personal background, like how did you get to where you are today?

0:11:48.9 PR: Yeah, what a great question. So, I always tell this story. I had my own business that I started after college, did a couple of different jobs and then a headhunter recruited me to go into staffing. And I was already registered to go work on my MBA and my mother was like, Paula, you don't know anything about staffing. And I was like, you know, I've done the interviews, I've talked to some sorority sisters that graduated with me that are in this industry, and mom, it's gonna be fine. It's really the pretty girls in this industry, not the smart ones. So I always thought staffing would be a stopgap in my resume, and my mom never let me forget it because I've spent 22 lovely years with ManpowerGroup in the staffing industry, and she would remind me every few years, now, that industry is the pretty girls, not the smart ones.

0:12:44.6 PR: You got your MBA, what are you doing? But I loved it. I loved staffing. There was always something different around the corner. I loved consulting with clients about their workforce strategies and their workforce needs. So it was a great fit for me for a long time. And I did get a little bit burnt out during the pandemic where other people were getting to relax and, you know, having a little bit of a breather working from home and enjoying more family time. Our business was on fire, so I was supporting really big pharmaceutical clients, mask manufacturers, and felt so much responsibility, not just for our company, but a tremendous responsibility for our community, for ensuring that I was able to support these clients in a way that we could get out of the pandemic and get back to a normal life.

0:13:38.3 PR: So I made it till about October of 2020... No, I guess it was June or July of 2021. And then I just took a break, took the summer off, really enjoyed time with my kids, and then started looking for something that was more meaningful work, something with a purpose that was focus-driven for, you know, changing lives. And I found this opportunity with Women Impact Tech. And as you may know about us, it's really a two-pronged approach. It's an amazing opportunity for women to network with one another and support each other in such a proactive way to advance their career in tech where there are often only one woman on a tech team. So building a network is essential to helping overcome imposter syndrome to help, you know, with self-doubt and how to negotiate salary, how to even get a voice at the table sometimes so that you can make an impact on your team.

0:14:38.8 PR: And the other thing we do, which you touched on, is we work with corporations to help them, really create a culture and an environment where women in tech can thrive in their career. So helping with their DE&I initiatives, not just to recruit great women, but how to retain them and give them an opportunity to really grow and thrive within these cultures of our sponsors and organizations. So diversity's always been essential in the staffing industry. I did... I was the executive sponsor and worked and supported all of our supplier diversity initiatives, supporting women-owned businesses, minority-owned businesses, LGBT community owned businesses and veteran-owned businesses. And in my new career, I have the opportunity really to have a hands-on and advance women in their careers. So it's been a joy.

0:15:32.0 MH: That's lovely. And I'm sensing a theme here because you started off saying, you know, you talked to your sorority sisters when you're thinking of this job and staffing a while ago and then now you're here building this network. How important has, you know, the community of women around you been for you and for your career?

0:15:54.8 PR: God, it has been everything. And I think when you talk to women that are successful, they will tell you that early on in their career, they knew it would be essential to gather their tribe, to gather women around them that were successful in their business, that would elevate one another and help lift them up. And I think that is essential for all working women that are trying to balance... You know, I used to say work, life are... You know, balance, kind of two different spaces where they're responsible for everything at home and then responsible for work. And now since the pandemic, it's really, really become evident that it's one life. And that balance is such an essential part of what women do in their careers. Having a network or your tribe that can help support you and help remind you that those things are okay to balance and to ensure that you're providing enough investment in your family as you are in your career so that you can accelerate and be great at both.

0:17:00.8 MH: It's so funny that how we need to remind each other of these things, right?

0:17:06.5 PR: It's crazy. Like statistically, you know, we are working on a white paper that we're gonna release soon, and statistically women know they're underpaid in the workforce. They know that men make more money doing the same job as them, but we have been groomed or grown accustomed to accepting that and still being really happy with corporations that don't pay equitably between the genders. And part of that is we recognize, hey, I may need flexibility because I wanna do, you know, pick up or attend a basketball game or go to my daughter's, you know, cheer practice. And because of that flexibility, women have grown accustomed to, oh, it's okay if there's inequitable pay because I need more flexibility than my male counterparts. And I think that's an area where we've got to lean in and say, we're still outperforming male counterparts, and that flexibility is irrelevant to our performance in the workplace, and fight for better equal pay knowing that performance is there.

0:18:15.0 MH: You can't see me, but I'm just nodding my head.

0:18:19.9 PR: And hopefully cheering. We just gotta change our mindset, right? 'Cause we... I think women can do it all and we have proven time and time again that we outperform most people because we are moms, because we are used to balancing responsibilities that are outside of the workforce. We get better and more efficient at getting things done.

0:18:46.0 MH: Absolutely. And it's, you know, what you were saying right now about flexibility versus compensation, there's... Why should that be a thing?

0:19:00.5 PR: I know, right?

0:19:00.6 MH: I get that there's, you know, there's benefits, flexibility, for sure. But I think both women and men and anyone who is gender-nonconforming, we should have that access to flexibility and be paid what we're worth.

0:19:19.8 PR: Absolutely.

0:19:21.3 MH: So how did your time in staffing influence your views on DEI? Like you said, you worked with a lot of women, minority or minority-owned businesses, and did you see any trends there that you were like, oh, this is interesting, some of these businesses work in this way while others work in this other way?

0:19:41.3 PR: It was such a joy for me. I'll be honest. I probably... I got involved really early in my career. I was an individual contributor in a sales role when I started working with our diversity programs. And they asked me to come in and be a mentor, which I was, you know, reluctant to say, oh, I don't have a lot of time, but I'm happy to do it. What I quickly learned in my very first year is I was learning as much from these amazing entrepreneurials in the diversity space, whether it was a minority, LGBT owner, or a woman-owned business. I was learning more from them as these brilliant, strong entrepreneurs than I felt like I was contributing. So I think, you know, early on, it was very evident that you get from things what you invest in them.

0:20:29.7 MH: And so investing in this partnerships, and mentoring and coaching other business owners, I learned so much. They were agile, they were smart, they were scrappy. They were... They had grit and passion. And they just made things happen. And in a large corporation, a big Fortune 150, it's really hard to get things done. So in some ways, I was always a little bit jealous at how quick they were able, and agile they were at running their businesses and how quick they could make decisions and get things done. So I learned early on, just the value of being a smaller business versus a large corporation and friendships. My goodness, I had... Like you said, I had this great network of women around me, but I began to meet these amazing women that owned their own businesses that were doing it all and getting away with it, right? They were accelerating at their career, accelerating at being a great mom. And those became friends that I've had for 20 years. And they... Some are still my very best friends today. So again, it's one of those things, mentorship is how much you invest and how much you get out of it, what you put into it.

0:21:46.0 MH: That's, I like that. It's so true. And, you know, entrepreneurial businesses, and I'm sure you see this in the tech space too, but the agility of it is so important. And I've been reading a lot of research of how that's the number one thing that people are looking for in employees now. Because things are changing so rapidly, that ability to learn, that ability to adapt is one of the like most important skills, whatever type of company you're working at.

0:22:16.1 PR: Yeah. And that's why we're seeing a lot of startups and mid-size companies outpacing, competitors that have been in industries for a really long time because they are agile, they're making decisions more quickly, and it takes less time to make those decisions and less decision makers to get to the other side. So definitely value in the tech space of having a smaller agile business.

0:22:38.9 MH: So tell me a little bit about what you are seeing in the space for women in the tech space.

0:22:48.0 PR: Gosh, it's been a great thing to watch. So heartbreaking during the pandemic to see how many women were displaced from the workforce, and women in tech were one of the first to go. So we lost a lot of traction where we had, you know, started to get really good numbers. Statistically, there's about 28% of tech jobs that are held by women. And when you get up higher into leadership...

0:23:12.5 MH: 28% total.

0:23:14.0 PR: Yes, total of all tech jobs, 28% are women. And that's a huge improvement from where we were five years ago.

0:23:23.5 MH: That's so sad.

0:23:24.0 PR: Still sad. But we were making improvements. In the pandemic, those numbers really declined. So we're starting to see them come back. And I couldn't have been more proud during this recent Roe v. Wade, overturn and the chaos and, you know, everything that ensued with those announcements. But the tech organizations were the first to come forward. Even when things were starting to get leaked and it wasn't even overturned, they were the first companies to come forward to talk about how they were gonna offer benefit packages to women in their workforce to ensure that they would pay for travel or whatever was necessary to ensure that they got fair reproductive healthcare, that they might want. And if that wasn't available in their local communities, they were gonna offer benefits to pay for their travel or whatever was necessary. I thought that was remarkable.

0:24:21.1 PR: It was a population and an industry where we know we need to hire a lot of women to catch up and be more diverse and mirror what our, you know, market looks like from both, not just women, but also you know, socioeconomic backgrounds from, just the overall diversity of that population needs revamping. So seeing them come out so outspoken for women during Roe v. Wade, I thought that was phenomenal, was one of things that probably has surprised me the most. And then secondly behind that, I was thrilled to see just some of the statistics that are coming out for predictions in what companies are investing in for hiring leadership and board members. And we're seeing those numbers for IT leaders. You know, companies are setting goals in the high 20 percentile for female leaders. And today that's really in the teens. So if we could see that number double to 20% number by next year, that would be remarkable.

0:25:27.3 PR: And huge ground from where we've been in the past. And what we know happens is if you move women into leadership roles in tech, they will pull other women into the industry and support them, and know what they need from a flexibility and an environment and a culture where they can really thrive. So having female leaders will be a huge step in the right direction for more women in tech in general. And those two things, the tech industry coming out and supporting women's benefits so strongly and then also the statistics where they're publishing goals for hiring leadership in tech, really, really has been positive.

0:26:09.0 MH: You know, I have so many questions. I was also very pleasantly surprised at the response, from tech companies about Roe v. Wade overturn. And the way you're saying it, you know, this is a sector, this is an industry that needs more women, so they stepped up and were like, hey, we're here for you. Is a great example too of, and I think this is true for tech companies, how they are much more vocal a lot of times with either their stance on social justice issues or their stance on what's happening in the world, which is also really important for women because we are more, much more purpose-driven.

0:26:53.3 PR: Absolutely. I couldn't agree more. And I was shocked that they came out so strong, but it absolutely aligns with their vision and their goals that most of them recognize they have to make an impact on the equality of gender mix in their tech department if they want to continue to draw in and mirror the market in which they service.

0:27:14.9 MH: So why, I mean, we've heard always, you know, this is... There's a dearth of women in tech, but... And there's been, you know, the hours, the work, the environment, the culture. But what do you think is the number one reason why women don't look for more tech jobs, or is it that we are looking but we're not getting?

0:27:38.7 PR: Well, it's an interesting conundrum. We do see women joining the tech industry. They just don't stay. And that's really the bigger challenge. It's not that companies don't set a goal, attract the talent, draw women into their organizations. I think they do a good job, the ones that really set that as a priority, do a good job bringing them in. Where they're failing is retention. A huge number 30 some percent of women are looking to exit the tech industry, over the next two years. They're working on an exit strategy. They're trying to get out of tech. Now, I think what you've seen historically is tech companies have been less flexible with the work from home in remote work. You're seeing it, you know, it's not something that's being talked about as broadly as I would like it to be talked about, but some of the big tech companies are investing lots of money in their campuses and bringing employees back full-time into a workplace.

0:28:46.4 PR: And statistics have shown women after the pandemic that were able to stay in the workforce they need and want more flexibility as a desired model for working. It is better for them to be able to be a caregiver, whether it's children as a parent, be a caregiver to elderly parents that they might be responsible to take care of. That flexibility is really essential in their life. So the tech industry wanting a lot of in-person employment and making investments for in-person employment, that's a challenge. And I think this retention, women are drawn to it. And while some of the companies are flexible as their life changes and the demands in the tech industry, we know those are often very high, they get into the industry and find, I may be only in one of two women in this tech department.

0:29:43.9 PR: Even when decisions are made, it's a good old boys network. They make the decision and they tell me, matter of fact. I don't get a seat at the table and don't get to contribute to the vision or values of decision making in my department. A lot of women have the imposter syndrome. They do bring it on themselves in some ways to feel, gosh, maybe I'm not good enough, maybe I don't have the same experience, maybe because I need this flexibility. They do. We, we, women in general, you know, statistically they say 82% of women have this imposter syndrome where we just don't have the confidence. And we feel like we shouldn't or we don't deserve what we're getting in the workplace. And it's just, it is heartbreaking, but women aren't sticking. And part of that ownership belongs on our corporations that aren't creating a culture for women to have a voice at the table, for them to feel confident that they are sponsored and supported to elevate their career through leadership, and that they are gonna provide continued flexibility for parenting or taking care of, you know, care of the elderly and their family.

0:30:55.9 MH: I am so happy you mentioned this last part because the imposter syndrome conversation has so been centered on women and like you need to fight it. But there's now bigger discussion too on like, it is coming from the culture of the places where you're at, where you're not seeing other leaders that are like you, where you're not feeling like you belong because you weren't really meant to belong. The places were built for you not to be there.

0:31:27.0 PR: That's right. That's right. And so companies that are doing it really, really well, we've honored Women Impact Tech 100. And we statistically went out and looked at their data both on are they investing in DE&I executives to support diversity initiatives. We looked at, public data on Yale, public data on Glassdoor for underrepresented workforce communities, sharing feedback about equality of pay, sharing feedback about culture in the workplace. And we honored 100 companies that are doing it right, that truly are creating a culture where women and other underrepresented employees feel that they can thrive in that culture. Because I think one of the things we've always continued to support companies and give them, you know, coaching and thought leadership around what they can do to do better, how they can hire more women and how they can create the environment.

0:32:26.2 PR: Now, we've taken it a step further. We're actually honoring these companies by giving them awards and telling their stories. And I think that's really important. I think the future, because of the pandemic, we're seeing companies. I'll give you an example. There were two companies on the list that surprised a lot of people. One of them was Chewy, like, like, you know, to deliver the box of dog treats or whatever. And another company was Bath and Body Works, and I love those two and talk about them on our list because these are two companies where, you know, who's behind those decisions to buy those products. It's women. Like we buy the box for our dogs or pets. We're the ones that put that on a repeat order to make our life easier. So it just shows up at the door.

0:33:14.6 PR: We buy the bath and, you know, soaps and hand soaps and lotions and smell goods that are seasonal. We do all of that. So to find that those companies are really creating an environment for tech and women to thrive and accelerate didn't surprise me, but it surprises a lot of people because they don't think of those companies as tech companies. They still think of the staunch, you know, know Silicon Valley, you know, tech companies. But tech is taking a brand new look and feel, and women are making a big impact in consumer good companies that are going in bigger... A very tech route because we know those products, we know those services, we definitely know the market because we know ourselves. We know the convenience we're looking for, so they're having a great success in companies like that, hiring women and giving a platform for women to excel.

0:34:08.9 MH: So, A, you did surprise me 'cause I wouldn't have thought... I think I would've thought of Chewy as tech, but it was a little surprising. I was like, oh. What companies did surprise you though?

0:34:22.1 PR: Well.

0:34:23.5 MH: Did any?

0:34:23.7 PR: Both of those surprised me because I wasn't... We weren't thinking. We were looking for our typical tech companies that show up on the list pretty regularly, companies that we go out to reach to, to sponsor our events for women in tech. But companies that are on that list are companies like Carvana, again, companies like... You know, all of these companies that fall in real estate, they fall in consumer goods, they fall in everything where you would know that a woman is behind purchase power. And you're seeing a lot of companies that are moving towards tech, and they're hiring a lot of women because it's making an impact to their Profits.

0:35:08.2 MH: That's really great. And I agree with you that honoring these, putting them on the list, showing these examples makes a difference because it's... You have to know what you are striving for.

0:35:22.7 PR: Yeah. And even if you're not ready to change careers and you're... You know, I was very loyal, 22 years at my organization, but people that have been at organizations for a long time, they grow accustomed to the culture. It's not that they're happy in the culture, but they get accustomed to it and comfortable. And when you start seeing, oh my gosh, there's a tech team at this company that's made up of 25 women, that would be so fun and exciting to contribute and work on a team like that, that's where we're seeing people make moves and then really finding a platform where they can accelerate their careers.

0:36:00.6 MH: And somewhere where they wanna stay, which is that retention problem that you're talking about.

0:36:04.6 PR: Absolutely.

0:36:06.4 MH: You know, you mentioned again that you were 22 years in your firm. What made you stay?

0:36:13.2 PR: You know, I was given an opportunity to grow. So for me, I was advancing my career every two to three years. So the advancement was there, the compensation was there, but I tell stories that, you know, I can remember being one of very few women in the room, I was the only woman in the room, and I can remember, sharing ideas and innovations in think tank sessions and my idea just falling flat. But knowing in my heart of hearts because of the number of years I had been there that my idea was very powerful and could make an impact. And I got really comfortable over the years finding a sponsor, someone else on the leadership team to take the idea too and say, Hey, you know, did you hear what I was talking about? Could you take this forward at the next meeting? Here's the, you know, let me expand on the idea, what do you think? And then having them go to the next leadership meeting, they bring up the idea and we action on it. And at that time, there were lots of meetings like that where I considered that a win. I was like, yes, my idea is fabulous, they're gonna take it forward. But it wasn't my idea. I had just grown comfortable with being able to give that idea to a male colleague, him representing the idea and knowing everyone would then take off on the idea and action it.

0:37:35.0 PR: And it wasn't until I left the organization, came here started really reflecting on challenges that women have in the workplace, that I began to realize so many things that I accepted as normal that really weren't quite what we would like to see for women in the workplace.

0:37:54.6 MH: I know exactly what you... And that happened to me. My prior life, I was in banking, and I understand that. I thought so many things were normal that someone else had to point out. Like that is not normal.


0:38:10.2 PR: Well, and I hear stories all the time, that I go to a meeting and they say, Oh, could you take the notes for this meeting? Oh, could you coordinate the birthday party? She said, and I would look around and I'd be like, Yes, Oh, they really need me. And then I'd be like, Oh, darn it, they don't really need me, I'm just the only girl in the room. Frustrating, but oftentimes, we just accept it and move on, and women need to look around and really do... We don't stop and reflect often enough about, is this really that I bring the best attributes and skills, or is this because I'm the only woman in the room and they expect me based on gender to take that role?

0:38:47.9 MH: What you just said is such an important question, is this where I bring the best value? And we don't ask that enough, and I think if we did, we would look at our skills and what we offer in a way that's very different, because we see that in others, that's the thing with us as women.

0:39:08.3 PR: I agree.

0:39:09.6 MH: Paula, this has been really great. Is there anything you want me to ask that I haven't asked?

0:39:10.9 PR: No. I appreciate you supporting us. I'll just put in a plug, we have three more conferences coming in great markets. So just to share, we are in Boston for Women Impact Tech. August 22nd and 23rd, just around the corner. We're in Chicago, October 3rd and 4th, and then we're in New York City, November 2nd and 3rd. If you are a woman in tech and you are looking for a great network to support you, please join us at one of our conferences. And if you are a company that wants to be recognized and populate a community in your organization to create women and a culture for women to thrive in their careers, reach out. We'd love to support you at one of the future events.

0:40:11.1 MH: Lovely. And where could we find, register for your conferences?

0:40:16.2 PR: Great question.

0:40:20.8 MH: Love it. I will check out the New York City one.

0:40:26.7 PR: Yeah. We'd love to have you.

0:40:28.6 MH: Yeah, an interesting group to see. I do consider us a tech company, in some way.

0:40:38.5 PR: Yeah, of course. Theres soo many companies. We need a new bio or persona protect. We are becoming every company, every industry.

0:40:47.5 MH: Yes. New persona for tech. Yes, and then it'd be genderlised.


0:40:55.0 PR: We're working hard at it, my friend. We're working hard towards it.

0:41:02.2 MH: And we appreciate the work. I fully... Obviously, I'm part of Ellevate, I've been with Ellevate for 10 years. And it's... The work that you're doing in putting these communities together that specifically target an underserved group or a group that hasn't been necessarily... That needs a lot of support, I think it's so valuable because those connections are the ones that matter, those connections are the ones that can open your door doors, that can tell you I've been there, it's okay, you're gonna get through this, this is why you wanna stay, or this company is not a good one. Things like that. You need that.

0:41:43.1 PR: Listen, I tell everyone at our conference, if you're introverted and you're concerned about networking and having conversations, remember one conversation can change the trajectory of your entire career. So do not be afraid to introduce yourself, to meet new people. Within our industry, we've got to support one another, and we create an environment where is safe to do that, and that women truly want to support one another.

0:42:19.1 MH: Lovely. So Paula, before we go, we always do a little lightning round with our guest, so I'm gonna gonna ask you some questions and you can give me your answer in one sentence or less. Monday morning staple.

0:42:40.1 PR: Monday morning staple. Full team meeting that last an hour and a half. They hate me for it, but it prepares us for the weekend.

0:42:46.4 MH: I like it.


0:42:50.3 MH: Favorite recent read?

0:42:54.5 PR: Favourite recent read.

0:42:56.4 MH: It could also be a podcast or something else, but something you wanna recommend.

0:43:02.2 PR: As I've gotten older, I am... And I have to preface this. I have two kids at home. They are four and five. I don't get to read as much as I would like, and I don't get to watch TV or any of those things that I used to enjoy. But I would say my most favorite read recently, I have been digesting tons of articles and podcasts, anyone that is making statements or opinions about what we can do with the recent Roe v. Wade and future challenges that may come with Supreme Court decisions.

0:43:41.5 MH: I think that's so important that we all are paying attention to that, 'cause this is just the start. And we need to be ready.

0:43:51.4 PR: Absolutely.

0:43:51.9 MH: Early bird or night owl?

0:43:52.3 PR: Early bird for sure.

0:43:57.2 MH: I wish I was. When I'm trying to wake up...

0:44:00.3 PR: Me too. I'm awake, and I'm that person that hits the floor singing. So definitely a morning person and early bird.

0:44:07.4 MH: I Love it. And finally, what's one question or thought you'd want to leave with our listeners?

0:44:18.7 PR: Dare to use your voice, speak out, don't sit back, don't be complacent, recognize you have tremendous value. And if you aren't being valued where you are today in your workplace, look around 'cause there are many companies that are embracing and creating environments for women to be super successful.

0:44:49.5 MH: Great. Thank you so much for sharing that, and thank you so much for being here with me and taking a little bit of time. It seems like you have a conference right around the corner now, so I know you're busy. I know how that goes.

0:45:03.7 PR: Well, I appreciate you having us and expressing our mission. That was really appreciated.

0:45:10.6 MH: Thank you so much, Paula.

0:45:15.5 PR: Alright. Thanks.


0:45:16.0 MH: And we're back. So that was a lot. Paula is really great. We could have kept talking with her for a really long time.

0:45:33.0 OL: Yeah, it was very enlightening 'cause I come from a very non-profit social science background, so it was interesting to get that perspective.

0:45:37.9 MH: Yeah, it's very different, very different. Well, if you want to get different perspectives and wanna meet people who might be going through your same issues, or have been going through them before, there's no better place to come than to one of our roundtables. Like I said, Oi Yin and I are the host of the Executive Roundtable on Tuesdays at noon. Do you wanna tell us what we're gonna be chatting about?

0:46:07.3 OL: Sure. So this week we're going to be talking about building trust and amplifying your employees voices to help guide leadership decisions. And our guest speakers actually are the co-founders of Aleria, one of our corporate partners, so I'm excited to see what they're gonna bring to the table.

0:46:27.6 MH: Yeah, Aleria is great. What they do is they measure inclusion within the workplace. And I just taped an episode of the podcast with one of their co-founders, and she's a CEO, and you're gonna love it. I had such a great conversation with her. So I'm very much looking forward to seeing them at the Executive Roundtable too. So our Rising Leaders meet on Thursdays at noon, and they'll be talking about starting or improving an employee resource group. So if you're looking for some tips on how to better help your ERGs within your companies, come to our Rising Leaders. They'll have a great discussion around that. And finally, our entrepreneurs who meet on Thursdays at 4:00 PM Eastern will be talking about developing and marketing a popular mastermind. So come and meet up with us at one of the roundtables, you'll find some of our Ellevate teammates, some of our chapter leaders, and lots of great women in the community. So I highly recommend if you have an hour, go and check it out. And as always, we go to my favorite segment, which is history makers, and celebrate a little bit of the good things that are happening, some of the women that are making history. Do you wanna go first?

0:47:54.5 OL: Sure. So Doreen Bogdan-Martin will become the first woman to head the UN's telecoms agency in its 157 year history.

0:48:13.3 MH: Wow.

0:48:14.3 OL: Yeah.

0:48:15.3 MH: 157 years, it took. It only took 157 years.

0:48:16.0 OL: That's all.

0:48:16.1 MH: Cool. Cool.

0:48:15.9 OL: Just a century and a half.

0:48:16.0 MH: It's cool. Cool. Cool. Aye Yo Kells will launch the US first black-owned all-female staff adoption agency.

0:48:36.8 OL: Interesting. Swimmer, Maggie MacNeil, became the first woman in NCAA history to break 51 seconds in the 100 fly unsuited.

0:48:43.1 MH: Wow. Trisha Ratliff became the first women assistant police chief of Marble Falls, Texas.

0:48:52.5 OL: Andrea Hayes Dixon became Howard University's first black woman dean of the College of Medicine.

0:49:02.8 MH: Wow. Helen Willis became the first woman named to Construction News top 20 best paid executives list. I wonder how long that list has been going on because that's really sad.

0:49:14.9 OL: Yeah. Maybe it's the industry, because it's...

0:49:15.0 MH: It is such a male-dominated industry. You're right.

0:49:15.8 Speaker 5: It is, guys. Somebody whose mother, who grew up with a mother who worked in construction, oh my gosh, the number of times she was the only woman in the room, can not even count them.

0:49:28.0 MH: Well, this is the great news. We want more women in the best paid executive list of any and all industries.

0:49:35.9 OL: Yes.

0:49:37.3 MH: So thank you for being my co-host this last couple of weeks.

0:49:43.8 OL: Yeah, I've enjoyed it.

0:49:45.3 MH: I hope you had fun. It's, I know, a little bit of a different pace from the usual work. And next week, we will be talking with Donna Cryer, who, oh my God, is so great and so cool. She's the President and CEO of Global Liver Institute. She recently launched in conjunction with the Guardian, Liver Health is Public Health, to raise awareness to the liver's importance to a healthy life and increase better health outcomes as it relates to the organ. Donna and I had quite the talk. First of, I learned so much about the liver that I did not know, have a new respect for it, but also about her journey and how she came to do this very important work. So I'm really looking forward for you all to listen to this conversation, and it touched my heart. So see you here next week. Take care.

0:50:49.5 Outro: Thanks so much for listening to Ellevate. If you like what you hear, help a girl out. Subscribe to the Ellevate Podcast on iTunes, give us five stars and share your review. Also, don't forget to follow us on Twitter at ellevatentwk, that's Ellevate Network, and become a member. You can learn all about membership and all the great things that Ellevate Network is doing at our website, That's E-L-L-E-V-A-T-E, And special thanks to our producer, Katherine Heller, she rocks, and to our voice over artist, Rachel Greiner. Thanks so much and join us next week.