The WIT Network

Business and Leadership Blogs

Welcome to our blogs page that provide insights, best practices and recognition for companies focused on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. There are lots of stories to share as we work as a global community to support women on their career journey.

6 Steps for intentional mentoring  

Entering 2024, mentoring is more crucial than ever in our professional lives. Career paths are no longer linear and predictable. People frequently switch jobs and roles and are often required to master new skills. This is a significant shift from previous generations, where long tenures at one company and organic growth were the norm.

It is under these conditions that mentorship can play a vital role, especially for women navigating the fast-paced and ever-evolving world of technology.

In this article, guest contributor, Sonia Wadhwa, Senior Director in Microsoft’s Cloud + AI group, shares six insightful steps for cultivating an intentional and impactful mentoring relationship.

Read the full blog HERE.

Announcing WIT Connects!  

In today’s fast-paced world, women often find themselves struggling to make meaningful connections, both personally and professionally. This challenge is accentuated for those working remotely, balancing a multitude of responsibilities at home, or simply finding little time for social interaction. The sense of isolation can be palpable, especially for mothers whose social opportunities are often limited by the innate rhythms of caretaking.

Some of us may justify our sparse connections with the busy season that we’re in – there are certainly times that we need to pull back  to get through a set of circumstances. However when these seasons of too busy seem to string together for months or years at a time, we risk forfeiting relationships that are not only desirable, but essential.

That’s why The WIT Network is thrilled to announce our upcoming launch of WIT Connects, an innovative platform that enables women across the globe to forge connections with other members.

Read the full blog HERE

The WIT Network: A year-end review 

The year 2023 has been dynamic and transformative, especially in the tech industry. Amidst widespread layoffs and operational shifts, individuals and companies alike navigated the post-pandemic landscape, grappling with the challenge of sustaining growth with leaner structures. Despite these industry-wide changes, The WIT Network has continued to flourish, expanding our membership through a wealth of developmental opportunities and inspiring stories, benefiting our members profoundly.

At The WIT Network, we've had a remarkable year dedicated to empowering women at various career stages. Our mission—which encompasses training, mentoring, networking, technical education, and leadership development—has never been more vital.

Have a look at what we’ve accomplished together in 2023!

Read the full blog HERE.

Men As Allies: A Guide 

Welcome to a conversation that is long overdue but never too late to start. As a women-led network, we recognize the power of collective action in dismantling systemic barriers. While our focus is on empowering women, we understand that true progress can only be achieved when everyone is part of the solution.

Drawing on an illuminating conversation between The WIT Network CEO, Christine Bongard, and Tom Harshbarger, a Global Channel Leader with Red Sift, we have put together a guide for men who want to be allies to women in the workplace. This post will help you find what phase of allyship you are in and steps you can take today to become a more impactful ally. It's not a checklist or a destination, but a journey—a continuous process of learning, unlearning, and taking meaningful action.

Read the full blog HERE

The "new normal" of networking

Does the timeless saying, "It's not what you know, but who you know," still hold true in today’s digital age? In a world where LinkedIn connections can number in the hundreds or thousands, what is the true value of a network? More importantly, how do you build and leverage one effectively?

Relationships remain a crucial element of professional success – one often underutilized by women. Networking isn’t just about job-hunting – it can be the linchpin for scaling the ladder with your current organization. Moreover, this web of relationships can be a diverse, collaborative community for sharing ideas and problem-solving.

Networking is a dynamic process, constantly evolving through each career phase. This is especially true today, following the shakeup of social norms and interactions these past few years.

To connect successfully in this hybrid world, it’s important to understand both the art and science of networking, so you can adapt your approach and reach your goals.

Read the full blog HERE

We need more women in leadership

Amid the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, 54 million women left their jobs, leaving a vacuum in global female labor force participation. This mass exodus is impacting not only gender parity but also overall workforce engagement, productivity, and job satisfaction, as evidenced by research. Strong teams, businesses, and economies need women in leadership, but with 76% of C-suite positions in the US and Canada occupied by men, we are leaving a lot of potential on the table. To improve this landscape in the future, we need to look down the pipeline to resolve the barriers keeping women from early career advancement and provide flexible arrangements that genuinely support them.

This is why The WIT Network is hosting our annual WOMANagement Conference to encourage more women to join the management ranks to be surrounded and supported by women on their career journey up the ladder. Registration is now open.

Read on to learn how to develop a Retention Action Plan to attract and retain high impact women at all rungs of the ladder.

Read the full blog HERE

Uplift your workplace with Ted Lasso 

There’s just something about summer that beckons us to ‘lighten up’ – lighten our attitudes, lighten our workload, lighten up on our routines. Summer is the perfect time to infuse a sense of positivity and refresh your relationships with coworkers. And who better to draw inspiration from than the folksy and uplifting Ted Lasso, coach of the fictional AFC Richmond football team, and his fabulous supporting cast? Since the debut of the tv series bearing his name, this optimistic American-football-coach-turned-English-soccer-manager has captured the hearts of viewers and sparked discussions about the leadership model he embodies.

Read the full blog HERE

Microaffirmations: Flipping the script on subtle workplace interactions

Host to Pride Month as well as Juneteenth, the month of June is particularly vibrant when it comes to promoting calls for inclusivity and equality among both Black and LGBTQ2S+ members of our community, not to mention those who find themselves at the intersection of these and other underrepresented groups.

While the voices of group members must be at the forefront, allies play an active role in advocating and supporting the mission of these groups. It is an ongoing process that requires continuous effort and a willingness to listen and learn from underrepresented communities.

There are many ways to show up as an ally in the workplace: amplify the voice of marginalized colleagues, challenge stereotypes, become a mentor, leverage your connections to build alliances, unlearn harmful behaviors, and call out microaggressions when they happen.


Breathe fresh life into your career development plans with these five tips

For a decade, we’ve been hearing about the strides we’ve made in equality and inclusion in the workplace. However, in the past two years, that collective progress has been quickly undone. The most recent Women in the Workplace report for 2022 by Lean In and McKinsey & Company was not encouraging: women are still dramatically underrepresented in leadership, and the broken rung is still holding them back.

What’s more, the report notes that, despite being just as ambitious, women continue to face strong headwinds to advancement, a fact that is driving women leaders to leave their companies at the highest rate in years. As highlighted in a sobering article, research shows that gender parity has never been so out of reach.


How Dolly Parton has prepared us for today’s ‘Great Reinvention’

Last month at our International Women’s Day Conference, Cheryl Stookes, Vice President of Revenue Growth and Marketing at Softchoice and business leadership author, drew our attention to one of the most badass examples of female agency to date: Dolly Parton. Known primarily as a singer-songwriter with Billboard hits like I Will Always Love You and 9 to 5, Dolly is also an active philanthropist, actress, and businesswoman.

Cheryl shared provoking stories of Dolly’s journey to fame, detailing how she took risks – breaking up a profitable partnership in her early years for the sake of her wellbeing, turning down the King of Rock himself to preserve her business interests – with the belief that she was the author of her life’s story. Since the 1970s, Dolly Parton has been a pioneer for female agency and progress.

Today, we’re standing at the tail end of an unprecedented unraveling of that progress – decades of work toward gender parity has been wiped out over the past three years in a series of events that have come to be known as The Great Resignation, The Great Reshuffling, and, most recently, the Great Panic, as corporations return to office requirements and hustle culture, and a surge of tech industry layoffs disproportionately impacts women and people of color.


Evolving your career: 3 things Marie Kondo taught us when she chose life beyond tidying

Marie Kondo became an international household name in 2014, when her landmark book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up was published in the U.S. The book’s success launched Ms. Kondo’s career to include interviews with well-known personalities and even her own Netflix series Tidying up with Marie Kondo. Lately, however, Kondo has been the topic of conversation, for her recent ‘admission’ that, with her growing family, she can no longer maintain the standards espoused in her books.

Kondo recalled Just after my older daughter was born, I felt unable to forgive myself for not being able to manage my life as I had before. But, with time, I eased up on myself; then, after I gave birth to my second daughter, I let go of my need for perfection altogether.

As popular author and speaker Brene Brown said, "Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable."


Why Mentors, Sponsors, and Allies Matter

Jennifer was just promoted to a Sales Team Lead position at her company after 5 successful years as an Account Executive. She was 6 months into her new role in managing her inside sales team of 5 people who were excited to have Jennifer as their manager. She always aspired to be a manager and it was part of her personal development plan. What she didn’t realize was the challenges she would face once she was invited to the weekly manager meetings. She was the only woman at the table with 8 other managers and leaders, all men.

While she was accustomed to the dynamics being one of the only women in the sales team and primarily all the customer decision makers were men too, this did not prepare her for what she was going to experience in management meetings in her own company.


The Great Break Up: Please don’t go and we understand why you are!

McKinsey & Company, in partnership with LeanIn.Org, recently released their 8th year of the Women in the Workplace report. This may be the most sobering one yet. Every manager and WOMANager should read this report – several times.

Women leaders are switching, ditching, and leaving their jobs at the highest rates ever seen. And it is happening across generations. We are now in the era of The Great Breakup.

It doesn’t seem to matter which rung of the ladder we are looking at, there is a gap as per the October 2022 report.

For every:

  • 100 men who are promoted, only 87 women and 82 women of color, are promoted. This is why The WIT Network created our WOMANagement programming.
  • Woman at the Director level being promoted, 2 women Directors are leaving their company. Join us on January 26th for a panel discussing The Great Breakup.


Five places to find courage when your legs wobble

Fighting systemic oppression and changing corporate cultures is hard, emotionally draining, and often intimidating work. No one said being an agent of change would be easy, but it’s worth it to build a better, more inclusive world for the generations who will follow.

When you feel your legs are wobbling, that the change required may be too great and you need a shot of courage, try finding some in one of these five places.


The WIT Network International Women‘s Day Recap

The WIT Network International Women’s Day Conference 2022 was a powerful learning, reflecting, and networking experience. The purpose of the event was to move beyond imagining a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated to a place where our members felt empowered to act.


 How The WIT Network will celebrate, raise awareness, and inspire action on International Women’s Day 2022

The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.

—Gloria Steinem, feminist, journalist, and activist

International Women’s Day (IWD, March 8th) is a global celebration of women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements. IWD marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. Like every year since The WIT Network’s inception, we plan to celebrate the day in grand fashion. IWD is an excellent opportunity for leaders and emerging leaders to be inspired by agents of change. wants us all to imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.


Microsoft celebrates women-led businesses

Diversity drives innovation. Honoring International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, Microsoft is proud to celebrate women-led businesses and their innovative solutions solving industry challenges and making a difference.

As part of the Microsoft #BuildFor2030 Initiative, Microsoft is featuring solutions that range from digital security, financial risk monitoring, and mar-tech automation to content collaboration, language learning, talent recruiting and more.

The WIT Network invites you to join in supporting women-led businesses by sharing their solutions and amplifying their voices.

About the Microsoft #BuildFor2030 Initiative

The Microsoft #BuildFor2030 Initiative is a call-to-action for Microsoft partners to accelerate innovation, changemaking, and collective impact, helping to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Mothers, the original mentors (but should you take on a motherly role to mentor?)

Mothers have the ability to liberate by love or, by neglect, to imprison.

They‘re our first teachers; they are our first loves. – Dr. Maya Angelou


The WIT Network is upskilling 1,000 women by offering Cloud and AI technical training scholarships – are you in?

Traditional economic recovery investments are male-centered and it’s women that have been hit hardest during the pandemic. Therefore, we are on a mission to help women succeed as we build back better, especially those belonging to marginalized communities. This fall we are offering 1,000 scholarships within our Tech Track Program, developed in partnership with Directions Training and sponsored by Microsoft. Training women with in-demand technology skills makes them more hireable and will directly impact our representation in the industry.

Our membership already understands that diversity and inclusivity in the technology industry is critical, as it enables organizations to create better and safer solutions. Homogenous teams tend to create solutions that best serve that team. To build solutions that best serve society, companies need input from all types of people.


Up your game: Invest some time upskilling yourself with these The WIT Network resources

The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you.

– B.B. King

There are many ways to upskill with The WIT Network. Some, such as the Emerging Leaders Program or the Tech Track are formal. However, we offer lots of other on-demand content that will help you polish your skills, grow your confidence, and get inspired. Whether you are just starting out, readying yourself to move up the ladder, or are already a leader – we have something for you.


 Companies reap the rewards when they invest in leadership training

Hiring, on-boarding, and training new employees is costly when you factor in the time of those involved in the hiring and training process, fluctuations in productivity, and impact on the company or department morale. It‘s an expensive repeating cost for companies with high turnover rates, and the expenditure increases with the rank of the position turning over.  

  • An entry-level employee costs between 30% and 50% of their annual salary to replace
  • A mid-level employee costs 150% and above of their annual salary to replace
  • A high-level or highly specialized employee costs approximately 400% of their annual salary to replace[i]


The power of courage, empathetic leadership, and authenticity in the workplace

Authenticity means erasing the gap between what you firmly believe inside and what you reveal to the outside world.

– Adam Grant, author

It is important to be an authentic, courageous, and empathetic leader. The days when people craved shows of bravado are gone. What people are most drawn to now is real people: authentic people. The best part of being authentic? If you’re just being you, no one can call you an imposter.

Authenticity looks different for everyone. For some, being authentic is loud and showy; for others it manifests as quiet withdrawal. No matter what it looks like, authenticity always has three characteristics. Embracing these three characteristics will help you be truer to who you are and enhance the impact of your leadership.


How to deal with being declared redundant

Dealing with redundancy is complex and emotional, and it doesn’t discriminate on gender. I’m writing this blog from my experience because I have been made redundant twice in my career in IT. We work in an industry with a swift pace of change, so it comes with the territory. It’s no surprise that the redundancy rate in the UK has risen because of the global pandemic.

The Office for National Statistics said the number of people being made redundant in the UK almost doubled between June and August 2020, increasing by 114,000 to reach 227,000, as the shock from the COVID-19 recession rippled through the jobs market.[i] And, it’s not just here – it’s a sad reality on a global scale. 


Be the change you want to see in your organization

Are you frustrated with the lack of diversity and inclusion at your workplace? We are too.

  • For every 100 men promoted to manager, only 85 women were promoted—and this gap was even larger for some women: only 58 Black women and 71 Latinas were promoted[i]
  • 40% of women say that they are judged by different standards in the workplace, which is a significant challenge to their success

34% of women are bullied at work[ii]

The reality is that while some improvements have been made toward shrinking the gender gap in the technology industry and elevating more women into leadership positions, the gains aren’t quick enough or substantial enough.

Diversity and inclusion are a necessity

But creating diverse and inclusive workplaces is critical – not only for the economy and because it’s the right thing to do – but because it’s needed to remain competitive, increase innovation, grow profits in a dynamic industry, and attract top talent.


Stop hesitating, start networking

In the technology industry, women often face barriers to networking. Studies have found that a lack of valuable networks contributes to the gender gap.[i] A critical part of a career advancement strategy is developing a powerful network – not just for more career ins and opportunities, but for informal mentorship and support as well.

  • 85% of positions are filled through networking
  • 70% of people found a job through connections in a company
  • 46% of people got their current position through networking[ii]
  • 80% of professionals believe that career success can be elevated through professional networking[iii]


Light up the world and change an industry with gratitude

At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.

– Albert Schweitzer

We’ve all experienced times of adversity and inequality; when we feel like we don’t belong or don’t have a voice, disempowered by a toxic environment or toxic people. Dousing the flame.

A lack of gratitude or feeling unappreciated at work is a significant contributor to job dissatisfaction, turnover, absenteeism, and burnout.

  • Employees who experience more gratitude at work report fewer depressive symptoms and stress.[i]

Just show up: The courage to be inspiring

Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor: the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant ‘To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.’ Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences—good and bad.

—Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame


New year, new career trajectory

The start of a new year has us looking ahead with anticipation. We resolve to do things differently, to be better, to reach for more. While resolving to eat cleaner or get more active has merit, the new year is a fantastic opportunity to look at the bigger picture.

Take some time to reflect on your values and ensure your lifestyle aligns with them. Revisit your dreams and see if you are still on track to achieving them. Where does your career fit in? 

Why not write down your career dreams and goals and share them with us on social? There’s power in sharing your aspirations with others.

One of our members shared this with us the other day and we loved it:

My intention is for other women to look at me and say, That woman went after everything she wanted And manifested it all. If she can do it, so can I. 


The WIT Network Welcomes TIBCO Software Inc. to its Global Community

TIBCO Software joins The WIT Network as a Global Unlimited Corporate Member, giving all of its employees who identify as female and their allies access to vast professional development, networking, and mentoring opportunities.

Founded in 1997 – and now 3,500+ team members strong – TIBCO Software Inc. unlocks the potential of real-time data to inform faster, smarter decisions. Its Connected Intelligence platform seamlessly connects any application or data source; intelligently unifies data for greater access, trust, and control; and confidently predicts outcomes in real time and at scale. Now TIBCO is connecting its employees who identify as female and their allies to professional development, networking, and mentoring opportunities and an extensive library of resources through The WIT Network Global Unlimited Corporate Membership. 

The TIBCO team is excited about its partnership with The WIT Network, connecting members of its Women, Inclusion, Success, and Equity (WISE) employee resource group (ERG) members with professional development and networking opportunities to help them continue to advance their careers. Through The WIT Network‘s offerings, TIBCO can offer its WISE ERG members the tools they need to empower themselves with leadership development tailored to professionals at all stages in their careers. 


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