“Just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean it’s impossible.”

Over 300 people gathered to discuss the importance of women in tech and the little things we can all do to shift behavior and create awareness.

Last week, we hosted our third Seat @ the Table in partnership with LinkedIn. This event brought together a range of voices: still climbing the ladder to be in a position to do something about it. Rachel Thomas, Co-Founder of LeanIn, opened the event presenting how things show up in the workplace for women today. The data is clear: Gender mixed teams perform better than male-dominated teams, but women are dropping off at every level of management. Martina Lauchengco, Operating Partner at Costanoa, then moderated a panel featuring four incredibly talented leaders as they shared their vantage points and advice to inspire us. Like previous Seat @ the Tables, the panelists represented perspectives ranging from newer management to CEO level. But new to this event, we included the male perspective because change will only happen when men also believe #HerSeat is important.

The transcript below is lightly edited for clarity but are the speakers in their own words as they shared the data and their stories.

The featured speakers include:

  • Allison Lewis, Group Manager for Consumer Market Research @ LinkedIn
  • Emily Chang, Journalist @ Bloomberg Tech and Author of Brotopia
  • Martina Lauchengco, Operating Partner @ Costanoa Ventures
  • Nick Mehta, CEO @ Gainsight
  • Rachel Thomas, Co-founder & President @ LeanIn
  • Tracy Young, Co-founder & CEO @ PlanGrid

You can also watch the full discussion here.


Martina Lauchengco: The run of tonight’s session is, we’re gonna have Rachel Thomas from Lean In, educate us on the facts. Talking about women in the workplace studies, and telling us exactly how things are looking in that workplace, so that we’re all armed with great information. Then we’ll move into our panel discussion.

Rachel Thomas: [Please click here for Rachel’s slides.] Do me a favor and raise your hand if you think it’d be okay if one … Or you’d be satisfied, if one Cal Train in 10 showed up on time. Not a single hand is up for those of you who haven’t looked at the room. Raise your hand again, would you be satisfied if one in 10 coffees you ordered were made correctly. No, not so much. Yet when one in 10 leaders in an organization is a woman, 50% of men say women are well represented. Ladies, don’t laugh too hard because 30% of women say the same thing. If our bar for success is so low, it’s hard to a imagine a ground swell of change. This is one of the findings of women in the workplace. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, we conducted every year with McKinsey & Company, and are very grateful for their partnership.

Rachel Thomas, Co-Founder of LeanIn, said it would take 100 years to reach gender parity in the C-suite.

It is the largest study of it’s kind conducted every year. Last year, 220 companies employing over 12 million people participated. This year, we have 300 companies signed up so far. A couple years ago, we did a calculation with McKinsey that said, it would take 100 years to reach gender parity in the C-suite. 100 years. Sadly, not much as changed. Women are underrepresented at every level in corporate America, and it is far worse for woman of color. The one thing that we learned that we felt like was new in adding to the dialogue, was women are much less likely to get the first promotion to manager, that first critical promotion. 20% less likely, and then they never catch up.

By the time you get to the C-suite, one in five C-suite leaders is a woman, and less than one in 30 is a woman of color. I want to be clear, this is not because of attrition. Women are not leaving the workplace at higher rates than men. It’s not because of lack of interest. We know that women are just as interested in being promoted to the next level, and they’re asking for promotions at the same rates as men. That’s bad news. There’s a little bit of good news underneath the data that I want to share with you. One is, back in 2012, McKinsey conducted a similar study by themselves, and they found that 46, so a little over 50% of CEOs were highly committed to gender diversity.

Last year we found that 86% of CEOs were highly committed. I want to pause on that for a second, ’cause that really matters. ’Cause if the most senior leader in your organization cares deeply about gender diversity and hopefully all forms of diversity and inclusion, you are more likely to move the dial. We also found that women are negotiating for raises and promotions at the same rates as men. This really matters. 10 years ago, it wasn’t our research, but research told a very different story. Depending on the study you looked at, it said that men were negotiating two to three times more than women, or even as much as eight to nine times more than women.

My takeaway from this is, women are leaning in, we are doing our part, and now it’s what can managers do, and what can companies do to help close the gap? That leads to the bad news. Unfortunately there’s a lot of it. I always say, I’m glad there’s drinks afterwards. The first thing that’s really interesting, and I want to always start by saying, I don’t share this to demonize men. I think that we naturally understand experiences that we’re having, and people who aren’t having the same experience, it’s harder for them to empathize, it’s harder for them to understand. But we know that there’s a big difference in the way women see gender and opportunity, than men.

37% of women think that their gender has played a role on them missing out on an opportunity, a raise, a promotion, compared to only eight percent of men. When you think about the future, 39% of women say they think their gender is gonna have a negative impact on future results for them, compared to 15% of men. I want to pause there for a second to note. One, 15% of men think their gender is going to be a problem for them. White men are significantly more likely to think that, than men of color. The other thing is, we only need to look at the data. Year, over year, over year, to know that women are more right. The other thing is, men are more optimistic about their gender diversity efforts at their company.

They’re more likely to think their company’s doing a good job. They’re more likely to think that managers are taking steps to advance gender diversity, such as using diverse slates when they hire. Because of this, men are less committed to gender diversity themselves, than women. We’re not gonna get there unless we’re all committed to moving the dial, and getting to an equal world from a gender perspective, and from all perspectives. I look out, and I wanna say, there’s some male faces in the room, which I really appreciate. But next event, ladies, grab a man. We call it, bring a man. Grab a man, tell him you’ll buy him a drink. Tell him you’ll pay for his ticket, I know this is free.

Whatever you need to do, bring them and get them into the room, because I need to start looking out at rooms when I have this conversation, and see a lot more men. ’Cause they’re 50% of the population, and we are not going to get there without them. The other thing we know, is that many companies are overlooking women of color. Women of color face more obstacles to advancement, and they get less support. They are less likely to get help from managers. They’re less likely to get access to senior leaders. They are promoted more slowly than white women. The reason for this, is that women of color face double discrimination. They face biases because they’re women, and they face biases because they’re people of color.

Organizations really need to understand that that leads to a very distinct experience, that they need to address head on. I want to note, women of color are more ambitious than white women. They are more … Sorry, it’s the truth. We see it every year. Women of color are more interested in being a top executive than white women, and yet they get the least support in organizations. I want to pause it, that if you want to get more leaders in your organization, lift up women of color. This is a place to make an investment. We also know that managers are falling short. There’s this theory in social science called The Frozen Middle. Senior executives that are all on board, leadership, “We want change.”

Rank and file employees, think it’s a pretty good idea. They’re bought in, they’ll do it. But if managers are not fully bought in, change gets stuck in the frozen middle. Think about it, managers make most of the day-to-day decisions that impact our careers. Whether we get stretch assignment, whether we get promoted, whether we get noticed. Managers are also the people that ultimately decide if policies and programs are rolled out, and how widely they’re adopted. They’re on the front lines. I want to be really clear, when I see managers here, I mean managers of all genders. We know managers are less committed to gender diversity than companies are, and CEOs are. This really matters, because we also know that employees are more likely to be committed themselves, if their manager’s committed.

It’s less important to them whether their CEO is, whether their company is, but if their day-to-day manager’s committed, employees are bought in themselves. Perhaps because they’re less committed, they’re not doing enough. About 30% of employees say that managers are making sure diversity of voices are heard. Just 30%, about 30%. Even fewer say managers egest gender bias behavior and language when they hear it, or see it. They need to do more to advance women, and again, this is women and men, all gender managers need to do more to advance women. We know that people are more likely to advance when they’re advocated for. This makes sense. When they get stretch assignments, when they get advice on how to progress.

Yet, we know women, and particularly women of color, get less of this type of advice from managers. My point here is not to demonize managers, I know there’s a lot of managers in the room. My point is that companies need to do more to equip managers to be successful. First of all, managers need to see the data. If you don’t understand there’s a problem in your company, you’re less likely to be part of the solution. MetLife did something a couple of years ago that I think is really interesting that one of our more key partners. I would say, they’re not here in the room so I’ll tell you, I think it’s probably a pretty typical management training program, pretty typical.

But they started to bring their managers in before the training started, and they actually showed them their women in the workplace data, so their company data, and said, “Look, we’ve got a really big problem, we’re losing women. By the time you get to the director level we don’t have enough, by the time you get to the VP level we don’t have enough women. You need to support the women going through this program. As a result, the managers need space and time for women to participate. They more actively mentored the women in the program, and as a result, the women who go through it are several times more likely to get promoted than people who don’t. It’s just sharing the data, making managers aware, and making them part of this solution.

We also know that gender bias training really matters, and I want to be clear. The tricky part is a good gender bias training, and it’s not all good. But, it builds empathy, and it helps us remove bias from really common business decisions like hiring, and performance reviews. We know from our research that only 20% of employees who are involved in hiring and performance reviews, have gotten gender biased training. Only two in 10, and that’s just not enough. Then finally, this is commonsensical, we need to reward progress. One of the things Intel did a couple of years ago that I think is really interesting, is it wasn’t just at the manager level. But they basically said, “We’re gonna set goals, and if we hit them everybody in the company’s gonna get a bump in their bonus.”

They did that back in 2015, and every quarter since they have met or exceeded their gender diversity goals, ’cause they made everybody incented to be part of the solution. We also know a lot of companies are not getting the basics right. I’m not saying they’re not well intentioned, I’m not saying they’re not doing a lot, I’m just saying they’re not getting what social scientists and practitioners would tell you are the basics for moving the dial. Recruiting. Only 30% of companies require mandated slates, and only 6% of companies are using blind resume reviews, and yet both of these things matter. Handful of years ago, the NFL implemented what’s called the Rooney Rule.

For those of you who don’t know, what it said was, “For every head coach hire, we need to have at least one minority candidate on the slate.” They now have 20% more minority head coaches in the NFL. I will tell you, we did this about three and a half, four years ago at Lean In, I know we’re a really small organization, but many of you are small organizations as well. It literally changed the face of our organization. This is worth doing. Does it slow down hiring a little? Yes. But does it build stronger teams with a better diversity of voices and perspectives that makes you more effective? Absolutely. Blind resume reviews matter as well. There’s a lot of research that shows how powerful a blind resume review can be.

Let me share two things with you. One, if you change a woman’s name on a resume to a man’s name, the odds of getting hired go up by 60%. If you change a stereotypical black sounding name with a stereotypically white sounding name, it adds effectively eight years of work experience. Just sit with that for a second. We also know less than a third of companies are setting targets for representation, and setting targets for hiring and promotions, which are the levels that really move the dial. Everybody in this room, we all understand the importance of setting goals and tracking progress towards them. We would not get done the things we do at work if we weren’t setting goals and tracking progress.

We need to do it with diversity. Sharing metrics. Less than 25% of companies share metrics with their managers, or at least a majority of gender diversity metrics with their managers. Less than one in 10 share them with their employees. Yet, we know from our women in the workplace data, that companies that do share gender diversity metrics are higher performers. This only make sense. If people understand the problem, they are more likely to want to be part of the solution. Finally, less than half of companies are holding their senior leaders accountable for making progress, and even fewer are using financial incentives. Again, we all know what gets rewarded in companies is what gets done.

We need to move from gender and all types of diversity, we need to move from it being, a nice to have, to a must have, to a business imperative. I would close with, this is hard work. There’s not silver bullet, but this is work worth doing. It is not just the right thing to do, and let’s be clear, it is. It’s the smart thing to do. We know when there’s more women in organizations, sexual harassment is less prevalent. We know people on diverse teams are more committed and work harder. We know that organizations with more female leaders have more employee friendly policies, and produce better business results. When women rise, we all rise.


Martina: I know there’s so much to process in that data, and I want to give Rachel just another round of applause for sharing all of that incredible information with us. There’s nothing like being armed with the actual facts to help make change happen. This is where we move into the lab section of our evening together, where we’re actually going to be talking about what it’s like in companies and in the real world.

The way this section is gonna work, is we’re gonna have lighting talks from each of our speakers. I’ll introduce them, they’ll tell you a little bit about themselves, and after that we’ll move into more of a traditional panel discussion. I first want to introduce Allison Lewis, who started off doing an internship in PR and Events but has spent over the last decade in market research. She’s going to tell you a story about that. She is now a group manager for consumer research at Linkedin. Allison.

Allison: Hi, I’m Allison. As she said, I am the head of their consumer market research team here at Linkedin, so love this space, it’s fantastic. We host a lot of great events. My job, I have the lucky job of leading a team of asking members, anyone, could be any of you have a Linkedin profile, for feedback. What do you like, what do you not like? My team and I have this fun task of coming back inside and telling our product team, and our marketing team, “Hey this is going well.” Or, “This is not going well, we might want to fix this.” I love this job. How did I actually get here? I had the privilege of going to John Hopkins, where I studied all sorts of things. I was an International Studies major.

I was lucky enough in that time to meet a really influential professor. I was actually just bonding in the back room with another Hopkins grad who had the same one. She’s the marketing professor at Hopkins, everyone has her. She taught me, she connected the dots for me, she said, “Oh you love math, you love marketing, you love psychology, and you love talking to people. You should probably try out market research.” 10 years later, here I am. Still loving it, still doing it. I started, I graduated. I was five years in market research world, and you do a variety of different projects when you’re on the agency side. I asked people about everything you can imagine. From very intimate bathroom habits that they had … Oh yes, those were fun interviews.

Allison Lewis: “My new role, the one I’m in now, being the head of the consumer team, which is still new, is where I had a female boss who pushed me very hard to even think about it. I wasn’t thinking I was ready, and it’s thanks to her that I even got this role.”

I have a friend in the audience who still makes fun of me, who laughs at how I ask people why and how they chew gum, and we spent months studying that specific data point. I was able to do research across the U.S. I lived in London for a year, being able to diversify and try to find out different markets. I did a project in South Africa for two months. Research has taken me all over, and I love this job. I get paid to ask people their personal opinions. I continue to love it. Linkedin recruited me about five years ago, and I’ve been here ever since. I started as a researcher, I came from a very female driven industry, to an all tech industry. I was a total fish out of water for not just gender reasons, but because it was a lot of new tech skills to learn.

I had a new industry, new stakeholders, new teams. Were really ambitious team to keep up with. As I got comfortable, I was a research for a while, I started to think about what was next. I would talk to my boss about, “Hmm, what are the opportunities?” I’m a new manager, so that’s my vantage point, and I’ll be honest, I applied for a management job a couple times before it happened. What really happened in my first management job, it was more of a conversation. I articulated to the head of the market research team, “This is really what I want to do. I want to coach other people, and inspire other people to be researchers, I have a passion for this.”

He found a role, and he worked within our market research team to find the right fit for me, and became less of an application, and much more of a conversation with him of, “Where do we fit you? You’ve done the work, you obviously have gained my trust, and you’re the right fit for this leadership position. Lets just make this happen.” My new role, the one I’m in now, being the head of the consumer team, which is still new, is where I had a female boss who pushed me very hard to even think about it. I wasn’t thinking I was ready, and it’s thanks to her that I even got this role. I’m excited to be here, I’m excited to share my stories about moving into management at a tech company.

Martina: Thanks Allison. A big part of Seat at the Table is to make sure we have the different vantage points from, newer to management to someone who is at the CEO level, which is what we have with Tracy. She started out her career as a construction engineer and then realized, “You know what, there’s a problem with this industry. It’s very paper based, very inefficient, not a lot of communication.” It’s like the technology world left them behind. She chose to solve it by founding PlanGrid, which has now been used in over 500,000 projects around the world, and is growing as a very successful company. Tracy Young is the CEO of PlanGrid, and she’s going to share her story with us.

Tracy: Thanks for having me. It’s hard for me to see, ’cause somehow the men’s faces are being mixed in, can I just see a hand in the air from all the men in the room. Good for you guys, round of applause, ’cause you guys know that it sucks to work with a bunch of dudes in the office as well. It does. I worked in construction, so my background is in construction engineering, and … Something about sitting down makes me need to pee again, so I’m gonna stand up. Let’s see, I need to talk fast. My background is in construction engineering, it was a miracle the founders of PlanGrid new each other. We were two construction engineers, two incredibly talented software developers, and we were just in the right place at the right time.

Steve Jobs announces the first generation iPod, the four of us look at each other and we thought, “Wow, this is the first time you can take computing power out onto a job site, lets build software for it.” We applied to the Winter 2012 batch, got accepted December of 2011. We did the total Silicon Valley thing, which was move into a house together in Sunnyvale. It was a lot like the Facebook movie, The Social Network, minus the babes and the pool party. All joking aside, just this incredibly tragic thing happened to use early on in our journey of PlanGrid which was, our co-founder Antoine, who decided his title would be Chief Mad Scientist, was diagnosed with cancer at 29.

We said, “Okay, we’re gonna get you through chemo, we’re gonna build PlanGrid together, and we’re gonna do this. You’re gonna get healthy again.” Being 20-something year olds who had never seen someone be killed by cancer in front of us, in our house together, we had no idea how fast it would happen. He passed a few months later, and one of the last conversations we had together, he said, “Tracy, life is short. Take care of the ones you love. Never do anything that makes you unhappy.” I think about these words every single day. I think even for the most lucky of us who get to live the entire spans of our human lives, our time here is very short.

When we think about how we spend our time, it has to be about what is really worthy of every minute, every day, every week, every month, every year of our time. For the founders of PlanGrid, it was a privileged for us to build this software. What our co-founder Antoine wouldn’t have done to be here, actually he would really like to be here in this room right now because there’s a bunch of women here. What he wouldn’t give to be here with us right now, and it was is a privilege for us to build software for this industry. That’s really changed the perspective of how I live and occupy this world. What else do I wanna say? That was definitely a moment. There was this other moment that was kind of defining for me.

Tracy Young: “When we think about how we spend our time, it has to be about what is really worthy of every minute, every day, every week, every month, every year of our time.”

Our board director, Carol Barts, you’re gonna love this, I wish she was here right now, where she could tell it herself. But, I’m gonna channel Carol Barts. She spoke at one of our … We throw a Woman in Construction conference every year, and there’s like this room full, 500 women in construction. Carol says, “Ladies, do you want to occupy the world like this? Or do you want to occupy the world like this.” Then she says, “Yeah, that’s what I thought, so get your bitch wings out.”

Martina: I have never heard them called that before, I love it. Oh Nick, it’s hard to follow that. But, we want to call out Nick for being so brave of being our sole male panelist right here. Nick is one of those renaissance men that falls asleep reading about quantum mechanics, but then spends his day as CEO of Gainsight, which is the world’s leading cloud based private company for customer success software. It has been named as one of the top 50 private companies to work for in that category by Glassdoor. The most important thing though, is how values driven Nick has been in founding Gainsight and leading it. They have these really cool values like, beginner’s mind, and Gainsight child-like joy. I’m gonna let Nick tell all those stories to you as he tells you more about his story.

Nick: I never write speeches before, but I actually wrote this because my mind was so full of, “What do I talk about?” I’m honestly so honored to be here. I have some thoughts I just wrote up here. First of all, I just want to say up front, I am like super privileged. Like the most privileged person you could possibly imagine. I’m a guy, I was born in America, I live in Silicon Valley, we’re pretty well off. I went to Ivy League stuff. I know that Marvel’s way better than D.C. Comics. I’m so privileged I even have a fricken pocket square, it’s like the definition of privileged right? I’m like the person for whom the system is rigged. Seriously, I think about that every single day.

I appreciate it, it’s cool. I think about that every single day. Honestly I was preparing for this, and talking to a lot of friends and stuff, and I just thought about how I’m running this company, it’s doing well, and I like to think it’s, “Oh I’m smart, I work hard, and it’s all my merit. The snappy dressing.” But I wonder, if I had all the things I have and I were a woman, or I was someone from an underrepresented class, would I be here? Would I be doing this? Would I ever have got these opportunities? I don’t know. I stand here knowing that I’m a benefit of all this bad stuff that’s happened, but hopefully in a small way can try to help to make it better.

Why do I care about this? I know that every guy when you get on stage you’re supposed to say, “Well it’s because of my insert female family member here, my daughter, my wife.” Whatever. Or you’re supposed to say, “It’s good for the bottom line.” Those are the two appropriate things you’re supposed to say. I have daughters, great daughters, and I have a business, and I want to make money, and I think the research stuff is great. But to be honest, I find it kind of sad that we have to try to justify, either with our family connections, or our business, treating people like human beings. That’s why I’m here. I actually am just shocked that if people look out, and a lot of people look out as this stat showed, and they don’t see the issues. They think it’s a level playing field.

I just feel like they’re kind of willfully blind. I’m trying to open my eyes. I think I’m still too blind, I think there’s so much more to go, which we’ll talk about. Obviously all this stuff has so many ramifications, not just for business, but for people’s safety, and health. It matter a lot to me just in general. I’m obviously not a politician, I’m not a philosopher, although I love philosophy, love physics. I’m a CEO, I run a little company. I think I can have a small impact for people around us. I kind of feel like if I can’t have an impact like that, what’s the point of whatever I’m doing? That ties a little bit in our values and purpose at Gainsight. We put in a lot of thought into how we run our company.

The way we define our purpose is not about the business or making money, but it’s to be living proof that you can win in business while being what we call, Human First. Human first meaning, we don’t treat people as means, we treat them as ends. The people aren’t the means to doing something, they’re not the assets, they’re the end, they’re the goal. The business is actually the mean. Now, if you think about that, and being human first, if half of humanity is not being treated well, it seems like a really important problem for our mission. That’s why this matters to us at Gainsight, and to me personally a lot. As I think about being a human for CEO, and trying to be a feminist CEO, there’s three things that are on my mind, which we can talk about tonight.

Nick Mehta: “Human first meaning, we don’t treat people as means, we treat them as ends.”

First of all, I meet a lot … I’m in a lot of other rooms, right? The other rooms at the CEO meetings don’t have a lot of other women in them, which is very sad. A lot of conversations are much more reeled the other way. I don’t know if you know, the number one thing people say, which I think Emily talked about in the book, is with a famous CEO said this is, “It’s really hard. It’s really hard. This diversity thing’s really hard, so let’s go back to talking about other stuff.” They do it, all the time. “It’s really hard.” I find that super ironic, ’cause all of your business stuff is supposed to be hard, you’re a fricken CEO, you’re making all this money. It’s hard to launch a product, and raise money, and sell stuff.

It’s hard to do everything. There’s a famous book about being a CEO called The Hard Thing About Hard Things. It’s literally in the job description to do hard things. The first thing I feel very passionate about, is just ’cause it’s hard, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Our whole job is to figure out hard things. I think it’s daunting. I read Brotopia, honestly I cried through parts of it. But if you saw somebody driving a red Tesla, that was me by the way. But the challenge, it’s daunting, but the analogy I tell myself is … I’m the enterprise software sell kind of stuff. The way enterprise software works if you don’t work it is, you market to people, they fill out forms, it’s called Leads, they turn into pipeline, and then you close those leads.

If a CEO went to their board and said, “I’m missing my sale numbers, and we just can’t make our sales numbers.” But the problem is, it’s a pipeline problem. You’d totally get fired, and yet they go to their board and talk about diversity and say it’s a pipeline problem. “Oh yeah, it’s just a pipeline problem, it’s not a big deal.” Number one is, it’s hard, but I think that should be inspiring because it’s important. Number two is, just for me, everything in business is small steps. You can’t get to a giant company overnight, you start as a small company. In my company, we’ve had so many small steps. Honestly, most of them, not me, just other people. I got really lucky that one of our first executives that we hired super early is this woman named Allison Pickens, who’s unfreakinbelievable.

Some of you people in the room know her. She brought in so many other amazing women to the company and changed so many things in the company, and was like one small step hiring her, right? Second small step, I did a search for a chief people officer, which by the way, HR shouldn’t be that hard to find a diverse slate. This recruiter, I told him, I was like, “I really want to have a diverse slate of candidates,” and it was like, guy, guy, guy, guy, guy. I was like, “This is an HR search, this should not be impossible. At some point, the small step I took was, I’m not gonna do anymore interviews until we have a balanced slate. Then you got the … The next week five interviews with women, I hired a great woman.

The third small step is just, inside and outside your company, we have a customer community and a conference. Actually Tracy was really kind to speak at one of our events. We just work on diversity outside of our company, and our community, and who’s on stage. We’re never perfect, but we’re all trying to get better. The third thing is just I think about it, and honestly this part of being here is, it’s easy to say, “Oh diversity, that’s like the diverse people’s problem. In the company it’s the women that should talk about women’s issues, and the underrepresented people of color that should talk about those issues.” But there’s a study in HBR 2016 that says, “When people that are underrepresented try to advocate for their own rights, they’re often penalizing companies.

I feel like there’s an opportunity for me. I’m super safe, there’s nothing bad gonna happen to me. Seriously, life is so ridiculously good. I could be here and help in some tiny way. I just feel like everyone in Silicon Valley talks about changing the world, and I don’t know if our software changes the world or whatever, but I feel like if we can have a small impact by changing the world around Gainsight, that would make me feel good. That’s kind of why I’m here. The last thing I wanna say is. Coming up here, the one thing I feel bad about is, there’s just so many other voices that should be up here. Just like hundreds of people and writers … I’m so excited to be here with Emily. So many women at Gainsight. I’ve learned from all of them, and hopefully can share some of that, and frankly just try to listen as well. Thanks for having me here, appreciate it.

Martina: Thank you Nick, that’s a theme we’ll keep coming back to, is a series of small steps. You guys obviously all know Emily Chang, who is the author of the National Best Seller Brotopia, which 100 of you lucky people actually got on your way in. She’s also the executive producer and anchor for Bloomberg technology here on the West Coast. Emily, share your story with us.

Emily: I was born in Hawaii. Is anyone from Hawaii. Yeah, went to college, didn’t have a journalism major, but I had decided, “This is what I want to do.” I started working in the local station in Honolulu. Worked my way up, had various internships every summer. In my senior year of college I started writing at the station in Boston, and my first day was the day after 911, so there was a lot of work to do. I just sort of fell in love with telling stories, and telling them on television, and I’d work eight hours shadowing people, shadowing reporters and producers, and then I’d stay another eight hours and made my own tape. Then I’d get people to watch it, and ask them for their feedback. They’d be like, “Um, I think you’ve got a few more years.”

Worked my way up, and I’ve lived in London, and China working for CNN. I covered the Olympics, I covered North Korea, I’m totally amazed at what’s happening right now. Then Bloomberg gave me this opportunity to launch a tech show in San Francisco, and I was like, “What? Me?” Honestly, I’m being completely honest, I didn’t know what an IPO was. I had covered business, but I’d never covered business. It was an incredibly steep learning curve, but now, you know, just like what you were saying earlier, I love it, I feel like it’s an everyday education and I’m getting to interview these incredibly influential people who are changing the world every day in almost every way but one.

Which is, the tech industry has this massive diversity problem. I remember in the early years, we were just trying to get people to come on the show, and you’d pick up the phone and they’d be like, “Bloomberg what? Bloomberg has a television network?” That’s really what it was about, was building the reputation. But over time, as we started getting more prominent guests on the show and I started getting more comfortable with my role, I became more courageous about asking people, “What are you doing to hire women? What are you doing to promote women? What are you doing to fund women?” Which by the way, these aren’t hard questions, but they were so politically incorrect, even three years ago.

People would be squirming in their seats. At one point I asked that question of an investor who, they had no women in their U.S. investing business at the time, and he said, “We’re looking very hard, but we’re not prepared to lower our standards.” That was just the spark that lit the fire. I was like, “This can’t go on any longer.” That said, I never thought I would write a book, I never thought I could write a book. I was lucky to be surrounded by some people. I have a couple of … One of my colleagues wrote a book about Elon Musk, who I don’t think you should tell him you were crying about Brotopia in your Tesla, he might take it back. Then maybe you won’t be one of the luckiest guys on the face of the earth.

My colleague Brad Stone wrote The Everything Store by Amazon, so I had people around me that I could ask questions. What’s this like, can I do this? It’s interesting, my literary agent, when I first told her the idea, she was like, “I don’t know.” I was like, “Okay.” Hung up the phone, I was like, “I guess I’m not gonna write a book.” A week later she called me back and she said, “I’m so sorry, I found an editor who wants to publish your book. My editor had worked in publishing for a very long time, and she’d taken two years to try working at a startup. It was so horrible, she left and decided she was gonna go back to publishing and find a woman who was gonna write a book about women in technology. True story, true story.

They really took a chance on me, and it could’ve been anything. It was like, “Write a book about this.” It could’ve been 12 stories of amazing women who’ve broken down walls and cracked the Silicon ceiling. But as I was doing my research and having these conversations, I realized that there’s just so much we don’t understand about how and why we got here, and what we’re doing wrong. We just can’t sort of fast forward and tell these stories of success, because there are so many people who aren’t bumping up against the Silicon ceiling. They’re just trying to make their way. I had an amazing writing coach, he’s the head of the San Francisco’s writer grotto.

The first few months I was like, “I don’t know what I’m doing. I have no idea.” I’m literally just talking to everyone. I literally just asked everyone I knew, “What do you think the problem is?” Every dinner table conversation, this is what we would be talking about. He said, “Look, if you knew the answer right now, it’s not worth writing a book about it. It really was a journey, and this was before Me Too, before Trump, before Susan Fowler. Over the course of the last two years, the story completely changed. My wonderful editor, the book was supposed to be published in a year, and she’s like, “We need to publish this right now.” I was like, “No, no, no. I can’t do that.” She’s like, “No, we need to publish this right now.”

We fast forwarded the whole process, I crammed all this stuff in. We got it out, it was still probably like a month too late. Luckily it was a good moment. I’ve been … I’m late because I was talking about the book in Las Vegas, and I was in New York before that. I’ve been invited by all of these tech companies to come and talk to their workforces, which has been very unexpected. They could’ve said, “You’re book is called Brotopia, no thank you very much.” But I’ve been really encouraged that the at least want to bring me in and have these conversations.

My hope is that I can start the conversation, and leave and that they’ll continue the conversation, and hopefully get to a better place, because you talked about making your own little dent in the universe. I believe that the people who are changing the world and taking us to Mars, and building self driving cars, and connecting the world, organizing the world’s information, they can hire more women, and pay them fairly, and fund their ideas. This is not too hard a problem for us to solve.

Emily Chang: “I believe that the people who are changing the world and taking us to Mars, and building self driving cars, and connecting the world, organizing the world’s information, they can hire more women, and pay them fairly, and fund their ideas.”

Martina: Has the current environment really changed the conversations that are actually happening at companies, and do you feel at your companies, that people are more open to the conversations than they were, even just a year ago?

Tracy: That’s a good question. I think about a year ago, we started something called Grid Groups, which are our employee resource groups. Representing the Grid is our diversity group, and Speaking Up is our women’s group. It’s been really cool seeing the team talk openly about anything related to this topic. Yeah, so for us it’s just been really inspiring to hear these incredibly vulnerable stories about their lives, and how that bleeds into professional, and what they would like to see for the future.

Martina: Allison I’m curious because I know Linkedin has a lot that they try to do specifically around this [D&I], what is it like at your level, and are you feeling like it’s making a difference for individual contributors and early managers?

Allison: I think Linkedin has these conversations a lot. Emily came in and spoke a couple weeks ago, maybe a month ago. I’ve been here for five years, and I actually started the month after Lean In came out, so I was all fired up feminist, like “Oh yes, we’re gonna talk about gender issues in the workforce.” I’d say, Linkedin does a really good job from the executive level of making sure that it’s passed down to all the management levels of all calling it out when you see it. I think it’s a public story, a famous story of our head of sales who looked across this table, at his leads table, and noticed that there were no women.

A woman also actually pointed this out to him and he actively changed that. As a company, I believe that Linkedin is very focused on making change, but I do notice all of the conversations. We have a strong women at Linkedin group by far, and I’ve been a part of it and had these conversations, but you continue to have these conversations with other women. Which is why I’m so excited, I was saying I think earlier, I’m excited to be on the management, is where you actually feel like you can bring people along, and that’s really where I feel like you see the most of change. We can only talk about it so much. You need to start actually doing a little bit more.

Martina: Well Nick, I’m curious, Tina Fey described the current environment as being landmine hop scotch because it can be so electric, and difficult and challenging for men to have conversations about this. What is it … I mean I know you’re not speaking for all men, but what has this environment been like for you, and have you noticed that it has shifted in the last year?

Nick: One thing I’d say is, there are multiple ways to answer your question. The minefield women navigate every day is so much bigger and more complicated than what men are doing. I just don’t have a lot of energy, time to worry about the plight of men in today’s society or whatever. I think the cool thing, which is a little bit of what your first question was, is I do think there’s more openness. It’s easier to talk about it, like even as a leader of a company. I have 500 people in the company, and if i talk about things nobody wants to talk about, sometimes it doesn’t go anywhere. I feel like it’s easier to have the conversation, just as an example. Honestly, the Susan Fowler thing was such a spark. Things take a while to travel. We have people all around the world in our company, and I remember talking to somebody in the Midwest in our company in sort of March, April of last year.

The Susan Fowler blog was January I think. I was like, “Well you know this is really important. Do you see what’s happening at Uber?” They’re like, “Oh what’s happening at Uber?” I was like, “Whoa.” I was like, “Wow.” But I’m on Twitter, and I’m following, so I’m much more in the real time. But over time, everyone knows that this is a thing to talk about. If it’s easier to have that conversation … I’ll just give one trivial example that I think was interesting.

I feel like sometimes it’s cool to not just talk about the huge things, but also the little things. A lot of little things add up to the big things. Allison Pickens who’s our chief customer officer, amazing, she and I have that all conversation and we’re always … We always want to identify the little things. We’re getting mic’d up her for this event, and they have the traditional mic at this thing, which I think is harder for women with dresses.

Martina: I’ll just show you. It’s attached to my bra strap ’cause I don’t have pants on.

Nick: Allison brought up, we do conferences every year, she’s like, “Hey, it’s really awkward for women to have that thing if you’re wearing a dress. Can we have more of the mic of the year at our conference, so if women are speaking there? I feel like a few years ago if a woman had brought that up, people would be like, “What’s wrong with you? That’s so low on the totem pole.” All of those things add up, and I feel like now it’s okay to talk about those things, the little things and the big things. I feel good about that.

Martina: Emily, you’re traveling all around the world, the country, talking to different companies. Obviously your book has sparked a conversation where people want to talk to you about the content that’s in it. You’ve also noticed just for yourself, you’ve had more courage in talking and asking these questions. Have you noticed in the last year and a half that the environment has changed, and that the openness around the conversations have shifted?

Emily: I’m in these conversations, but this is a self selecting audience, I don’t think James Damore isn’t in this room. I’ll go to Amazon and the room is full, and employees are fired up. They’re like, “What can I do?” That’s great, but there’s thousands of employees who aren’t in that room. I think everyone is more aware, but there’s probably still a lot of people who think they’re part of the problem. A lot of this is about self examination too, and we all have our own biases, and we all have things that we can do and we can do differently. You asked about men, and my initial reaction is, people know where the line is. You generally know where the line is, but I do know that there are even good men who are kind of confused.

I agree that the egregious behavior, so obvious, zero tolerance, right? Zero tolerance. But it is all these small things. I had 12 women engineers over at my home for dinner three weeks after Susan’s post. None of them were surprised. They were all just tired. They’re like, “We love our jobs, we love doing our part to change the world, but we’re so tired of being the only woman in the room over and over and over again.” It’s this constant sort of emotional labor that’s almost like a second job, where you are having to prove yourself over and over again because somehow you’re supposed to be super exceptional because you’re there. I think that these are the kinds of things that aren’t going to change unless we get 50/50.

I know that sounds like a fake construct, but we really need to aspire to have more balanced work forces. If you have six men around the dinner table, the conversation is a certain way. You swap in one woman, it changes slightly. If it’s half and half, it’s a completely different conversation. That’s when we’re gonna have a real cultural change, and when we can all reach our full potential. There’s research that shows that men and women are much more similar than they are different. The differences that we perceive are because of socialization, and because of opportunity, and how opportunity is dulled out. That means, we’re not reaching our full potential. The workforce is 50/50.

Women make up almost half the workforce, they’re more than 50% of college graduates. I know the pipeline problem is a thing, and I have a whole thing about that in the book, because I think the tech industry created the pipeline problem, and today reinforces the pipeline problem and then absolves itself of responsibility. I could go on. But if you have an imbalance in your workforce, you’re doing something wrong. You should be looking at your hiring processes, and your promotion processes, and how you’re retaining people, because it’s not just about hiring, it’s about retention and progression. Women are twice as likely to leave tech as they are to leave job … Sorry, women are twice as likely to leave tech as men, they’re not going to jobs, they’re not going to take care of their families, they’re going to jobs in other fields. We need to keep the women that we have engaged over the course of a long career.

Nick: By the way, I thought it’s interesting ties to your book, which is, I entice to this question. I was at Fortune Brainstorm last summer, and you were speaking there. Emily in Brotopia talks about running this session on this issue, and there’s an [inaudible 01:05:37] was there, and a lot of other people in all these stories. I was like, the session was starting, and I was gonna go walk in, and I think you describe in the book about how a bunch of men left the session.

Emily: Like dozens.

Nick: Like tons.

Emily: Walked out.

Nick: I’m walking out.

Emily: This is a diversity town hall.

Nick: This is July of last summer, and it shows how much things have changed, I think. At that point, we’re outside the thing, and I’m like, “I’m gonna go see this session, I’m actually really interested in it.” There’s four other guys there. They’re like, “Ah, this diversity thing is so done. We don’t need to talk about it anymore, I think it’s over. This is so overdone.” I was like, “I guarantee they would not say that now.” Even if they believed it, there’s no way anyone would in a public setting, and I’m glad they won’t say that ’cause it’s fricken ridiculous.

Martina: Tracy, I’m curious because you came from construction, which I would imagine is at least as bad if not worse than tech. When you think about those two industries, is one more challenging to navigate than the other, and are there lessons that we can learn from one versus the other?

Tracy: Yes. I’m trained as a construction engineer, so in a lot of ways it felt right because I understand the problems I had some idea of how to solve it. I think transitioning to tech was definitely new. I mean, growing a business, being a CEO, that was definitely challenging in a different way. But in terms of a lens of being a female, Asian female in these two industries, I will say that I was just incredibly lucky to be able to be in construction in the Bay Area. It’s much different than, let’s say, if I went to our average client in Alabama for example. I will share that, I wanted so desperately to fit into construction as whatever I was, 21, 22 year old out of University.

A lot of the decisions, a lot of the technical problems that we were experiencing on site would be solved during smoke breaks. As a 20 whatever year old, I was like, “Okay, well I’m gonna smoke with my foremens because they are making decisions and I wanna be there because I want to be a part of it.” Then I would adopt their language so we’d have the shared vocabulary which meant I cursed a lot. I even went as far as, what is it, sorry it’s like the circle on the butt … Dip, thank you, yes. It was like the most disgusting thing, and I would’ve never done that, but that was how committed I was to being a good construction engineer.

At some point, I realized that I just wasn’t being myself, and that I was trying to reflect back what I was seeing from … My colleagues were wonderful people, I just wasn’t them. Something about maturing, and being more confident in my own skin, I will say that I am so much happier now just being myself, because again life is too short to be anything else. I got the benefit of that going into tech. It’s nice because building a company also feels rewarding in the same way as building construction. I just chose the right partners. I chose the partners that were like, “You’re gonna be CEO.” I was like, “Absolutely not. You guys are older, you’re more educated than me, you’re smarter than me.” They’re just like, “You’ve been leading the company for the last three years, you’re gonna be CEO.” I was like, “Oh right that’s true, I boss you guys around.” Then I also chose good business partners and venture capitalists to work with, so yeah.

Martina: One of the points of conversation that always comes up around these issues are, how important advocacy is, and have advocates and for all of us to act as advocates, which is probably why most of you are here. Allison you hinted at this a little bit at the beginning in your lighting talk about how you had both a male and female advocate that helped pull you into your current management positions. How has that shaped how you act as a manager now, and are there any other advocates that continue to help shape and inform your career?

Allison: Yeah, well I’ll touch on that specifically because she’s here in the room supporting, of course. I’d say, it’s funny, I was working for my boss at the time, and I had just started, I was a new manager on her team and I was so excited. She knew where I wanted to go, which I really would love to lead the consumer research team, that was the dream some day. Some day happened a lot sooner ’cause the job opened up. On our one on ones, every week she’d be like, “Have you applied yet? How about now?” Every week I’d be like, “No, I’m learning so much. This is so new, I love the team.” Which is true, I did. “I’m learning so much, I love everything, I can’t possibly think … I’m not ready, I’m not qualified, I can’t do it.”

She finally really got through to me one time by saying, “Okay they’re gonna hire someone who’s less qualified than you, and then that person’s gonna be in the role for a couple years, and how are you gonna feel about that?” I was like, “Oh, right. Thank you.” She pushed, but I’d say she not only pushed me to apply and talk to the boss about it, but she then advocated. I know that I wouldn’t be here and I wouldn’t be in the role if she hadn’t gone and talked directly to the hiring manager and said, “Here’s five reasons why Allison’s ready for this job.” Whether he had hesitations or not, it became much more of this conversation between me and him about what it would take to be in this role.

I wasn’t really applying for it, which was very jarring. Obviously I went through an interview process, but it was more of a conversation of like what I can add value, and how I can do it. I feel like that’s … She’s taught me so much, and I can only do so much for the people I now get to manage, and I start to think about, “Okay, how do I work with people to figure out where they want to go?” Obviously I’m biased, I want people to be interested in research, but they may wanna move within Linkedin. It’s a trick situation to figure out how to get someone to articulate where they want to go, and then help them connect the dots. I’m starting to do that even within this new role for someone on my team. She’s articulated where she wants to go, and now I’m putting pressure on the hiring managers to get her there, and make it happen. It’s a really inspiring and empowering position to be in. That’s how I’ve seen from my perspective, the only way that it happens.

Martina: I’m curious for Nick and Tracy, you guys are kind of at the top of your organizations, but were there people that were advocates on your behalf that helped you get to where you are now?

Nick: Yeah, I mean I don’t … I feel like, like I said, the systems a little rigged, so I kind of feel like things flowed. I think you talk a lot about this, about how you have a network early on, go to a good, prestigious school and you know some people. When you follow back on your life and you say, “How did I get here, and how many things happened because of those early things?” I think some of it was really nice people that helped along the way, and some of it was I was just in fortunate situations for sure. A mix of a little bit of both I would say.

Tracy: It just kept growing. It started off as this fun project, and then we decided to see it through, because in honor of our best friend. Then we just never stopped working on it. Of course I’ve gotten so much help along the way.

Martina: Has it changed what you do for policy wise, and what you establish in PlanGrid?

Tracy: Yeah, so we signed the equal pay pledge, I think like two or three years ago. When I brought it up to our executive team at that time it was like four other males and me. I said, “I would like us to do this,” and there’s no hesitation. They’re like, “Absolutely.” We had HR go through basically every comp in the company, and made sure we made adjustments. Naturally it was kind of all over the place. So anyways, we solved that and we were committed to making sure that that wouldn’t be a problem moving forward.

We also made sure that we had really generous parental leave policy, for both men and women, that people are taking three months off to be with their families, and then they’re coming back even more committed to PlanGrid. Both men and women. I’m really proud of our team for making those decisions, because it does have a cost there, right? But it’s about our commitment to the team members who are working their asses off to build PlanGrid.

Martina: Nick this is a question that came in from the audience, but how are you engaging males, both within Gainsight and also outside of Gainsight about all of these hard facts that we were looking at before we started the panel session?

Nick: I’ll share two stories. One is, there’s a guy in our company, and this story by the way reveals my bias too in a different way. We have offices throughout the country. We had an office in the Midwest and St. Louis, amazing people there. Somebody emailed me and said, “Hey,” this was maybe a year ago before stuff became much more mainstream. Actually the same person who said, “Oh what’s the Uber thing?” He said, and he’s a very well-intentioned person, but he’s like, “Hey Nick, you’re talking about diversity and gender diversity, but I really think it’s just about everyone is diverse and it’s not about what you look on the outside, everyone’s diverse.” I told him, “I understand the point you’re trying to make, but I also think there’s systemic problems for people of certain kinds of groups.”

We engaged in a very long dialogue over many meetings and emails. He was very junior, he was like a manager of somebody reports to him. I was like, “This is kind of awkward.” But he kept going back and forth. You know like the long email thread and you’re like, “Make it stop.” He kept going. Here’s the interesting end of the story. It sort of fizzled out, and then I saw him. We do like a company, everyone get together. He was like, “Nick I’m so glad you engaged with me on that, it really changed my mind on being open to these discussions.”

This guy is in St. Louis, I was judging him as like red state, whatever, California liberal judging that. No seriously, I had my own bias, that’s number two. Number two, I think with other CEOs, the sad thing is it does … I think it’s changed a little bit, but there’s still that, “Yeah it’s hard,” or whatever. Or somebody makes that joke that’s just not that funny anymore. I don’t laugh, I don’t engage. I say, “What’s funny about that?” I’m not trying to be a jerk, but I don’t find it funny. I think that dialogue is helpful ’cause it gets people to say, “Well maybe that wasn’t that funny, maybe that isn’t just a made up issue.” Things like that. Those are two things.

Martina: You’re talking about the little things that you’re doing that shift behavior or awareness with those that you’re interacting with. Emily, one of the things that I was struck with, with Brotopia was, your very first piece of advice on what to do is, be nice to each other. I’m just curious, why was that number one? Is that something that was so glaring in tech world that needed to be said?

Emily: More like, “Really?” I mean, the last chapter in this book has this bullet list of the bare minimum, and it is kind of sad that the bare minimum has not been happening. It’s treating one another with respect and dignity. That is … We should be doing that every single day, and unfortunately it hasn’t been happening. We do all have our own perspectives, and backgrounds, and experiences that make us who we are. We want to hear all of that. People need to be free to share their opinions, and share their input, and speak up in meetings. That only happens if they feel comfortable, and if they feel like they can be themselves. There’s so much about … We should be asking questions of each other, and more, “How are you doing?” And listening, really, really listening, and getting to know each other. I think that’s good too, because otherwise you’re not gonna be bringing your whole self to work, and you’re not going to be reaching your full potential. Your company is gonna be losing out on that.

Martina: Parting advice? Everyone in this room is clearly very engaged and wants to help increase the velocity of change. Parting advice from everyone on the panel about what are one or two small things that people in this room can do to increase the velocity of that change. Allison?

Allison: I would say, depending on your perspective and where you are, if you’re looking for ways to move up, my advice and the way that it’s worked for me at least, is to articulate where you want to go, and have a passion and reason for it. Articulate that, and then find someone who’s going to advocate for you. Then if you’re in a position of power, quote on quote, that could be management or not, or at the higher up, be watching out for that, and hold your peers accountable. I really like the conversations that we have where someone will point out, “Okay, are we talking about this from a diversity perspective?” And hold your peers accountable in any hiring decision that you’re making, especially something that I think about as a new manager for sure.

Tracy: I can’t even watch the news during the week anymore, it’s too fricken depressing for me just because there’s so many problems in our world today. Then when I look at government, and politics, and leadership, and just organizations and industries of influence, and it looks predominantly like one type of person, and there’s nothing against white males, I’m having a child with one [crosstalk 01:20:06] type of person, then we’re literally missing out on the hardest working, smartest minds in the world.

I would not have been a construction engineer had I not seen a female construction project manager, female construction executive. I would not have gone into tech and be a founder if I had not seen other female founders and thought to myself, “Well if they can do it, I think I can do it too.” Literally everyone in this room has a responsibility to be good examples for the next generation, and to encourage people to pursue their passions despite social norms. If we can all do that, it just keeps magnifying.

Nick: Two things. I think one is that the little things, and being comfortable to point those out, like the microphone example. There’s just so many little things that show the bigger bias in the system. I think people should be more comfortable to point those out, ’cause I think it opens the dialogue on the bigger things. It’s a little bit … There’s this theory, some of you know the broken glass theory of, if you fix the broken windows then crime goes down.

There’s some questions about that theory, but the concept is that, if you fix the small things the big things get fixed. I think that’s actually a really relevant one here. Second one is just, hire more women, but not in some abstract, get to 50% right away thing. But literally, every one person, not just women, people that look different than your average company. Every one person makes a huge difference, so don’t get daunted by the stats. I guess, get to work on hiring people.

Emily: I would say, don’t accept the status quo. I do think there’s this healthy balance of playing the roles of the game, but changing the roles of the game as you go. You can’t just run in be like, “This hiring process sucks,” and stomp all over it. People aren’t gonna be very receptive to that. But I do think that there are clever ways to give constructive feedback and raise your voice, and say, “Hey Nick, I think this isn’t working,” in a way that will be well received.

Like Tracy said, we all have an opportunity here to make a difference, and we can’t just throw up our hands and say, “Oh that’s just the way it is,” or, “That’s just the way my company does things,” or, “That’s just the way it works.” I had an opportunity to interview Jane Goodall last week, who’s amazing, so I’m gonna use one of her quotes. “You all have a change to make a difference, you have to decide what’s the difference in the world that you want to make.” I’ll leave you with that. I can’t add anything to that.

Martina: That change that we want to see in Silicon Valley is right here. It’s actually inside of all of our heads and we can make it so by our intentions, our actions, and probably just as important, our reactions to others. Keep that in mind, don’t forget these very important small steps that you’re going to take, and with that, I am going to introduce Christina Hall, who is the VP of talent here at Linkedin to share a few parting words as well.

Christina: Thank you so much Martina, it’s great to see you again. My name is Christina Hall, as Martina said. I run the HR organization here at Linkedin. It is so wonderful to see you all here tonight. First off, I’d like to thank the amazing panel, and Martina in facilitating it. It was just a great discussion, I loved having it. I also wanna specifically call out Linkedin’s D.I.B.S. team, which is our Diversity Inclusion and Belonging team. If everyone who’s been a part of that could give a stand up for us real quick. Thank you. This team is incredibly committed to making some of the changes that we’ve been talking about tonight. Linkedin is 42% women, we’re 38% women at the executive level, and those numbers look great compared to Tech peers, but it is not enough. As we were talking about tonight, we really want to be as Erin Burr said in Hamilton, “In the room when it happens.”

We need to be at the big table, whether that big table is the board room, or the CEO staff, or the head of sales staff. Women have got to be representative there, and the D.I.B.S. team is very committed towards that goal. I know all of you are really thinking about that tonight. I also wanna just leave you with the thought that, it’s wonderful to have that positive sense of being nice to one another, but I think there I want to add a little hook there for you if you think of what Madeleine Albright said. “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” As we leave tonight, I would ask that you look around and you think about how you can help your fellow women, whether you are a man or a woman, but it’s time to look and help one another. Thank you.

Martina: Last but not least, is a person that has been my multi-time advocate at multiple companies. I am at Costanoa Ventures because of this amazing advocate, Greg Sands, who is the founder and a managing partner of Costanoa Ventures. Greg.

Greg: Thanks everybody, and thank you for being here and engaging in the dialogue with us. I think it’s also important for us to say, and it came up a couple of times that the issues around women of color, and people of color in general are every bit as important, and every bit as impactful as the discussion about women in general, and we embrace that whole conversation. It is … I want to also thank Linkedin for hosting us. I want to thank our panelists, as has been done. They did an amazing job. I want to thank Martina, because Martina is someone who helped me understand that I have standing to be part of the conversation, and to find my voice on it.

We get to be at the Founding stage with these amazing companies, but this work is as important as anything we do, and it’s as meaningful and impactful for all of us as we go about our jobs to try to help companies create environments where everyone has opportunity, where everybody can do their best work. I would actually like to suggest a modification from Christina’s comment, my neighbor Christina, which is, don’t just be at the table, make a difference.

You belong, and you have the opportunity to be there and have a big impact and make a difference, and it’s important for you to be heard. That involves people like Nick and myself sometimes being quiet, which we’re learning. But I think, for all of us, creating places where people can bring their whole selves to work today, everyone has opportunity, people get to express their full potential, is the greatest thing that we can all do, and we’re really appreciative for you engaging in a conversation with us, and I hope that all of us will commit to doing one new and different thing tomorrow to begin and continue the journey. Thanks so much.

Martina: As everyone has said, don’t leave, don’t walk out that door without thinking about what you’re gonna do differently tomorrow. Thank you so much for being here tonight, and we hope to see you next time.


For more information, please visit http://www.costanoavc.com/seat-at-the-table/.