By Sarabeth Castro
NAIT Hub, a networking and mentoring platform powered by Ten Thousand Coffees (10KC), hosted an “office hour event” on March 10th for International Women’s Month.
The webinar, titled #BreakTheBias: Empowering women to succeed and allies to support, discussed women’s barriers as they enter and navigate the workforce. This event featured a diverse lineup of speakers including Christine Silva, senior lead of community and engagement at Shopify, and Emma Mohns, senior legal counsel at Kinaxis. The co-founder and CEO of 10KC, Dave Wilkin, hosted the webinar.
The first half of the discussion was about understanding bias and building awareness.Silva started by sharing the research done at Catalyst, a global nonprofit based in New York, where they studied the careers of men, women and LGBTQ+ people around the world. Silva shared the difference between men’s and women’s career positions after completing an MBA, the wages, work experiences and aspirations. Findings showed that men had more career advancements than women. Over time, Catalyst also saw the gap grow bigger as more promotions were given to men than women.
The second part of the webinar was about tactics and solutions to break down bias. The leaders hosted a survey to learn how allies can support women’s careers, and ‘advocate women’ got the top spot. Some of the other actions suggested were calling out inequality, practicing active listening, and giving out credit where credit is due.
One of the suggested tactics to overcoming barriers was sponsorship, where women should try to build strong connections with influential people who will advocate for them and share their achievements.Silva and Mohns emphasized that networking is essential in everyone’s career.
The other tactic mentioned was called ‘The Right Foundation’, meaning having the right transferable skills and the proof points you can offer in the job. Silva advised women not to be afraid of being open to a career where not all of the boxes are checked.
“Apply for a job before checking all the boxes,” said Silva.
Mohns also shared that when looking for a company, look for one going in the right direction, where you can see good work is happening. A company that is reluctant to change can be a yellow flag.
Doing research on a company is also important, Silva shared. Interviewing people on the company’s culture and their diversity and inclusion practices will help all job-seekers to learn where they’ll best fit in. For more information on NAIT Hub and the events they host, visit their website.