#BreakTheBias by Lifting Up Others

In my last blog, I shared stories from some of my colleagues within Cisco and from a few of our partner organizations about the biases they’ve experienced as women in tech, and how they’ve addressed them.

In the true spirit of this year’s International Women’s Day theme, #BreakTheBias, I wanted to take that conversation a step further. Sharing our stories about the biases we’ve faced is only the first part. In order to truly #BreakTheBias, we as women—and the men who are allies—must also reach out to other women, help make sure all of our voices are heard, and pave a clearer path for others.

Part 2 kicks off with insights to the question: What advice would you give to other women?

“While not universally true, women often shortchange themselves for new opportunities or promotions when they believe they must have 90+% of the skills to go for a new job or opportunity. While scary, go for it! Learning is the journey, and you are more ready than you think! And look for companies and organizations that embrace diversity and have programs that empower women.”
Lynn Lucas, Chief Marketing Officer, Cohesity

“Each of us has something unique to contribute. Practice authenticity as part of your daily routine. You are the most valuable to your company, your community, and your family if you show up as your true self.”
Terri Snell, Global VP, Alliances, NetApp

“Bias is real and is often unconscious or sub-conscious. My advice to other women is to not spend too much energy stressing about it because that is a waste of energy. The best thing to do is to prove them wrong by performing well, being collaborative and inclusive, and lifting up other women in front of them.”
Julia Chen, VP, Partner Transformation, Cisco

I love, love, love Lynn and Terri’s advice to other women! It’s so important for women to have a seat at the (virtual) table, bringing their whole, authentic selves to work every day. If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that being empathetic and vulnerable, encouraging openness and authenticity, and providing emotional support has been critical to the mental health of employees, their engagement and performance.

I also really like what Julia had to say about not wasting too much energy worrying about other people’s biases, and instead focusing on yourself, your own performance, and lifting up other women. Julia also has some other great advice in her blog #BreakTheBias: Some of the Most Important Work We Can Do, and I encourage you to check it out.

Finally, the last question I asked my peers was: What does it mean to you to #BreakTheBias?

The answers I received were thoughtful and inspirational.

“Show up every day, unapologetically and with confidence that your voice and message need to be heard. We are all better when there are many voices and ideas brought to the table.”
Samara Halterman, Global Head of Partner Marketing, Pure Storage

“Creating an inclusive culture founded on the right mindset, execution, and excellence: every team I have built, I have always been intentional and prescriptive that we hire for mindset and celebrate execution and excellence regardless of experience, background, and gender. ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ is the best way of breaking the bias.”
Alexandra Zagury, VP, Partner Managed & as-a-Service Sales, Cisco

“For me personally, it means to continue my learning journey about my own biases, society’s biases and in my own organization effecting change in the workplace.”
Lynn Lucas, Chief Marketing Officer, Cohesity

Reflecting on my own journey, there have been too many moments where I was spoken to, around and for. My advice is to find the courage to speak up and help #BreakTheBias by also creating a space where others can use their voices and be heard.

Learn more about #BreakTheBias

Want to hear more about Women in Leadership, diversity, and how we can #BreakTheBias? I encourage you to check out this recent discussion between Cisco’s Shari Slate, and Cisco Partners Logicalis and Microsoft: Diversity As a Key Differentiator in Transformation

Join me and a panel of other female leaders as we discuss

Women in Leadership: Shaping Stronger Pathways

Thursday, March 31 |  12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET

How will you help #BreakTheBias? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

 


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