Friday, October 2, 2009

How We Did It: Breaking Through the Glass Ceiling

Cathy Lasser, Vice President and CTO, Global Distribution, IBM
Nadia Shouraboura, Vice President, Global Fulfillment Platform, Amazon
Romea Smith, Senior Vice President, Support, CA
Jeanne Yuen, Director of Software Quality, Intel Corporation

This session was full of inspiring women who have broken through the glass ceiling. The experiences of the panelists sparked some really stimulating questions and discussions. Between the panelists, some themes emerged from their advice:

  • Do what you're passionate about
  • Surround yourself with supportive people (managers, teachers, employees); have a great team and respect them
  • If you don't believe there is a glass ceiling, there isn't one
This last point sparked two differing viewpoints. The first of which is that the glass ceiling is very much still present, but it is more subtle ceiling which makes it even more insidious. The second viewpoint is that there is only a glass ceiling if you think there is. These two viewpoints caused a lot of discussion and while there is no concrete answer for which viewpoint is the correct one, there are several factors that can make one more correct than the other for a particular situation. The most prevalent factor is the culture of a company. Is the company dynamic more like an old boys club or has the gender ratio been very even since the beginning? Is the company making active attempts to increase diversity and giving women the resources they need to succeed?

Since I am of the belief that I can do anything I set my mind to, I subscribe to the viewpoint that there is no glass ceiling. What viewpoint do you agree with? What other factors have you observed affect the existence of the glass ceiling?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks....these were great! It was a wonderful workshop.

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