Panel: Paying it Forward: How Women in Tech Groups Can Spark a Culture Shift, and How You Can Help!

12:15pm - 1:00pm
Ballroom 3

Best Practices

What’s the secret to attracting and retaining more women in cybersecurity and technology in general? I’ll sit down with three dynamic women leaders in the tech industry to discuss women’s groups, how to change the culture in cybersecurity, the role of gender allies and the movement behind equal respect. Research shows that culture matters when it comes to increasing the number of women in tech. A welcoming and supportive environment is a necessity, and women’s groups play a vital role, especially in a field like cybersecurity, where women make up only 24 percent of the workforce. In 2005, the graduate student organization Women@INI (WINI) at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) was founded to address the unique challenges faced by women in the male-dominated field of engineering. WINI fosters a respectful, inclusive environment that allows women to openly discuss common struggles they face in the field, demonstrate their qualifications with confidence and serve as role models for the next generation of women in STEM. In 2002, there were only two women in an incoming class of 34 students—just under six percent. In fall 2018, the INI welcomed an incoming class made up of 42 percent of women. This significant increase is not coincidental, it was the result of intentional efforts to create an environment that would attract, empower and support women. WINI has created a culture of paying it forward. In this panel, two alumnae will share how WINI inspired them to get involved in women’s organizations at their workplaces. Saralee Kunlong started YP Women at YP, and Divya Ashok is president of Salesforce Women’s Network, known informally as “Femmeforce.” My WINI co-founder Chenxi is a founder of the Equal Respect movement and crusader for the booth babe ban at the RSA Conference. Together, we will discuss how to create an equal playing field with equal respect for all and spark a culture shift in organizations while also inspiring participants to start women’s groups and other employee resource teams in support of diversity at their schools and workplaces.

This session counts for one CPEC.

Dr. Dena Haritos Tsamitis
Barbara Lazarus Professor in Information Networking; Director, Information Networking Institute (INI); Founding Director, Education, Training and Outreach, CyLab., Information Networking Institute, Carnegie Mellon University
Saralee Kunlong
Yellow Pages
Divya Ashok
Senior Director, Product Management, Salesforce
Era Vuksani
Carnegie Mellon University