At the CompTIA Advancing Women in IT (AWIT) meeting at AMM in San Diego this month, community staff leader Cathy Alper welcomed attendees by announcing “In other CompTIA communities people say they want to join. In AWIT they say they want to get involved.” Get involved they did! I had the pleasure of watching over 50 professionals participate passionately in concrete initiatives designed to encourage and help women of all ages establish fulfilling careers in IT. In addition, the community set a stretch goal of leveraging their personal and professional networks to reach 10,000 people by the end of 2014. Now that’s a passionate mission! But beyond the lofty goals, I was impressed with the concrete and practical plan that would help them get there.
First off, amongst those in attendance, about one in seven were men. While far from the statistical norm, it was great to see both men and women rallying around a common cause. As men, we are shaped by mothers, raised with sisters, partner with wives and invest in daughters. In all of these relationships, we want to see our loved ones enjoying rewarding and successful careers. Beyond sentimental reasons, most women in IT are hired and mentored by men and women now comprise more than half of today’s workforce. Furthermore, women have proven to be strong managers, even providing better returns for organizations with women in leadership. Given this, harnessing this half of the human race is more than just a sentimental strategy – it’s good management.
Secondly, this group is developing a phenomenal set of promotional tools to take their message to the masses. The community showed off two powerful promotional videos –one aimed at young women featuring students from the ChiTech Academy, and another aimed at women in general – along with a draft of a compelling and thoughtful slide presentation. These tools will be used deliver their message at schools, community centers, places of business and beyond. In addition to the promotional videos, the community is developing an online resource center full of career information and tools that will help guide women into fulfilling careers in IT.
Lastly, their secret weapon is their community. Harnessing the power of numbers and the passion of the group, the community is developing an online program for channel professionals to register as speakers, identify local opportunities and report on results. I was moved to see over 26 women and men at the meeting commit to help drive this important message home.
This is community at its best; people with common goals and aspirations, working together to positively impact the world around them. There is room for you. If you would like to get involved in this great mission, please send me an email at [email protected] or reach out to Cathy Alper at [email protected].