I felt unsettled as I prepped for a recent inclusion workshop. Was it stage fright? Nope. I’d conquered my public speaking nerves years ago. Was it a concern that my material wouldn’t be engaging? Nope. I’d given this workshop before to solid reviews.

Instead, it was because of a live online poll I had planned to run at the workshop. A poll to assess if men and women experience the workplace differently. A poll that might reveal gendered behavior at their company. A poll that could energize the participants to want to make their culture more inclusive. …


Photo courtesy of Jopwell

How many of you negotiated your first job offer?

I have to admit I didn’t. Even though when I was graduating from college, I had three offers. I decided to accept the one that was most interesting to me, yet paid the least. I didn’t know I could use those other offers as leverage. Maybe I would have been successful at negotiating for more salary, maybe not. The point is, I didn’t even try.

I also didn’t try to negotiate my salary when I moved to my second job. Ditto for number three.

I’m now older and wiser, after spending…


As an Advocate for Women in Tech, I’ve spoken to hundreds of women about mentors. Most want to engage a mentor, but might hold themselves back because they don’t know how to make the ask. It feels awkward to say to someone, “Will you be my mentor.”

It can also feel like an imposition. “They’re so busy, why would they spend any of their precious time mentoring me?”

But it doesn’t have to be awkward or feel like you’re asking for an impossible favor. There are some sure-fire, simple approaches anyone can take to engage a mentor. And I was…


Women 2.0 interviews author, Karen Catlin, a prominent tech leader and advocate for women in tech.

Present! A Techie’s Guide To Public Speaking

We recently caught up with Karen Catlin, a former tech executive who is now an advocate for women working in the tech industry. She’s a leadership coach and a frequent public speaker about gender diversity and career development for women.

Along with Poornima Vijayashanker, founder of Femgineer, Karen co-authored “Present! A Techie’s Guide to Public Speaking.” In this interview, we learned the backstory to the book and why we should all read it.

W2: What inspired you to write this book?

Poornima and I…


Do you get emails from LinkedIn telling you about job openings? The subject lines read like this: “Karen: Adobe, salesforce.com and Groupe Insearch are looking for candidates like you.”

I get them regularly and usually just delete them. But yesterday, for whatever reason, I clicked on the latest one to read it.

And I was offended.

As I scanned the first two job listings, I could see why an algorithm might match them to me. Sr. Software Engineer? Sure; I have a computer science degree. Accessibility Engineer? …


When I studied Computer Science at Brown University, people called us co-jocks. That’s right. Computer jocks. It was funny, given that the stereotypical computer science student is not exactly athletic. We even had our coach, Andy van Dam, a professor who created a strong team spirit among the undergrads. And like any good sports coach, Andy was tough, demanding, and pushed us to achieve things we didn’t think we were capable of.

I thrived on his team of “co-jocks.”

But get this. Given all the news about the lack of women in the tech industry today, you may be surprised…


How advice from an expert on teens and bullying could be applied to the tech workplace to make everyone, especially women, more welcome.

Most of us first saw it in our childhood, on a playground. Maybe we spoke up for the person being bullied, maybe we didn’t. Either way, we didn’t like it.

At times, maybe we were the bully. We made fun of another kid to gain something that seemed important at the time: laughs, high-fives, or a seat at the table with the cool kids.

At its essence, bullying is using power or strength to make someone feel…


If you’re considering starting a group for fellow tech-focused women at work, you’ll want to read this first.

This post originally appeared on Fast Company in September 2014.

As an advocate for technical women, I meet many people who run the women-in-tech (WIT) group at their company. I’m always curious about what metrics they use to measure the impact of their programs, so I ask. In return I often get slightly embarrassed looks.

Typically, the answer is, “Well, we don’t exactly know.” Then comes a hastily constructed justification along the lines of, “We have annual goals for how many events…


I know so many of you. You’re the good guys. You’re the men who support technical women. Perhaps it’s because you’ve worked with amazing women in the past. Or you’ve witnessed the benefits of a diverse team. Or you simply believe promoting diversity is the right thing to do.

If you were to read the Top 10 Ways To Be a Male Advocate for Technical Women from the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT), you’d most likely nod your head in agreement. You’d say to yourself, “Yup, I do these things.” The NCWIT list includes:

  • Listen to women’s…


Photo: emma-watson.net

It happened to many of us. As we watched Emma Watson’s moving speech to the UN last month, we found ourselves remembering times we felt marginalized. When we were impacted by gender inequality. When “he” was not for “she.”

Women are starting to share their stories. Earlier this year, the #YesAllWomen campaign raised awareness of sexism and misogyny, especially with respect to violence towards women. Women talked to friends about their situations, wrote blog posts, and composed tweets. A whole lot of them. In fact, within days of the first use of #YesAllWomen, the hashtag had been tweeted over a…

Karen Catlin

Former tech exec, now coach, speaker, author, and #inclusion advocate. Founder @betterallies. Proud mom. 🚲 for fun. She/her.

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