On November 2nd Juno therapeutics hosted the monthly WIB Seattle chapter program at their new HQ in South Lake.
The theme of the night was amplification, advocacy, sponsorship, and creating a personal board of directors.
There are many challenges of being a women in a STEM field, and the event focused on what positive changes you can make to advocate for yourself and others, and enhance your career.
After networking, the event was kicked-off with a lightening panel featuring Aiko Bethea, Blythe Sather, Lisa taylor and Nicole Grogan. (If you’d like to see some Bio’s of the speakers, check-out these overviews:here, and here.)
Attendees network over snacks and drinks
Each of the panelists shared their thoughts on advocacy and championing each other, the value that mentors can bring, as well as the importance of taking chances.
One of the messages that really stood-out to me was about working outside of your comfort zone. Each of the panelists touched on this in a different way, from attending networking events to taking on new responsibilities at work, and getting involved in new projects. Challenging yourself to work outside of the comfort zone will not only teach you new skills, but it may lead to a new career path that you don’t even know about.
Left. Speaker Aiko Bethea discusses the importance of championship. Right. Attendees break-out into groups to discuss the challenges they face.
After the panel, attendees broke-out into smaller groups. Led by a group-facilitator, and articles for discussion ideas, the group talked about the challenges they had faced, how they wanted to advance their career, and the ways in which they can help each other.
One topic that caught the attention of many attendees was the Amplification strategy. Originally adopted by female staffers in the white house: when a woman makes a key point, other women repeat it, giving credit to its author. This forces others in the room to recognize the contribution — and deny them the chance to claim the idea as their own.
Discussion quickly turned to creating your Personal Board of Directors. Some of us have a mentor who we can go to for advice and council in our career, but there is also merit to having a team of people around us who can fulfill different roles. Seeking advice from a peer may be helpful for daily guidance and learning, but may be limited in their advice on career mobility. Finding a ‘board’ of people who can guide you in your career doesn’t have to be scary either. Research people in your company and your professional network, and ask them for a cup of coffee. Ask them questions about their work and for advice. You’d be surprised how helpful people want to be.
Following on from that, another idea that sparked a lot of discussion was; Stop Mentoring, Start Sponsoring. Having a mentor is a valuable asset but the the idea of sponsorship is that an individual can help specifically with promotions and career development. Having someone who will champion you in your career, who is placed within your organization, can allow you more opportunity for promotion and professional mobility.
Left. Break-out groups reflect on the merits of advocacy and championship. Right. Attendees network.
There were so many take-home messages from the evening that I could write individual articles about each of them.
The one that stood out in my mind though actually came from a fellow WIB program committee member:
It can be hard to advocate and champion ourselves, especially when we may be among the minority. Another challenge many face is that those who are assertive and self-advocate can be labelled as ‘bossy’ and ‘difficult’ by their co-workers. One way to counter this is to take time to stand-up for others around us too; support another person, praise their ideas, back-up their point of view. By supporting for others, we can build a culture of positive, reciprocal advocacy, that is more likely to bring about change.
- Who’s On Your Personal Board of Directors?
- Susan Colantuono: The career advice you probably didn’t get.
- Why Men Still Get More Promotions than Women.
- Sylvia Ann Hewlett: Find a Sponsor Instead of A Mentor.
- White House women want to be in the room where it happens.
- Build Yourself a Personal Board of Directors.