It's International Women's Day! Join Us in Celebrating Our [email protected] Community

For International Women's Day, we're celebrating some of the amazing women at Harness. Join us for this three-part series - part 1 starts now!

Published on
3/8/22

Happy International Women’s Day from Harness’ [email protected] Employee Resource Group! International Women's Day, celebrated every March 8, is a day to celebrate the awesome women in our lives, and all their social, economic, cultural, and political achievements. This year the theme is #BreakTheBias and challenges us to imagine a gender equal world. From their campaign, they challenge us to “Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated.” and remind us that “Together we can forge women's equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.”

Gender is one of many dimensions for diversity, and we value diversity of experience and thought here at Harness because it’s how we get the best ideas and outcomes, and because it’s the right thing to do. Part of our cultural value of Remembering the Human is creating a safe space for people’s multifaceted lives and identities. Gender equity remains aspirational for many tech companies and is something we are striving for.

One barrier to gender equity (and equity overall) are our unconscious biases. Unconscious biases (also known as implicit biases) are the attitudes, stereotypes, or opinions that we possess affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. Many folks jump to the conclusion that unconscious biases are all bad, but that is not correct. 

Unconscious biases are really mental shortcuts that our ancestors used to help process the millions of pieces of information we digest at any given moment, and make decisions. Unfortunately, unconscious biases oftentimes reinforce stereotypes, and can end up creating more harm than good. Luckily, as long as we are aware of common biases, we can use tools to combat them and create a more equitable company and world.

As we celebrate International Women's Day and pledge to do our part to help biases, we want to take a  moment to highlight the women who run our [email protected] harness Employee Resource Group, which drives some of the work we are doing to break biases and create a more equitable workplace.

Meet Our [email protected] Leaders

International Women's Day - Heidi Newiger

Introduce yourself! Who are you, what is your day job, and why are you part of the [email protected] ERG leadership team?

Hi! My name is Heidi Newiger and I am the Manager of Employee Enablement & Experience at Harness. I help build out employee programs like Onboarding, Recognition, Global Culture Initiatives, and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging to name a few, and joined in February 2020. I have the special honor of both helping build out what DEIB looks like for Harness, as well as being part of the [email protected] ERG lead team. I am passionate about creating a space for all employees to feel engaged, connected, and included at work, and think ERGs are one way to help achieve that. I decided to help lead this group because (especially in this remote distributed work world) connection is so important, and helping to create and build a community that lifts women up and helps them reach their potential is rewarding for my soul. 

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #BreakTheBias. What is one way you help bust biases at work/on your teams?

This International Women’s Day, I pledge to help #BreakTheBias by setting gender-neutral recruitment standards. To do this, I will define the ideal candidate profile ahead of time, and share this criteria with my hiring panel. Each candidate that interviews for an open role I am hiring for will talk to the same panel of people, who I will assign to dig into different areas of the criteria. I will ask my panel to select interview questions ahead of time, and ask the same questions to each candidate (Tip: to make this super easy for you and your teams to do, create an Interview Question Bank like this one.) Structured interviews help bring consistency to your interview process, which could drastically alter hiring outcomes. While you are at it, consider creating some questions around your core values as a company, too!

What is one piece of advice you would give others building an ERG at their organization?

Rome wasn’t built in one day! Start small – and don’t bite off more than you can chew. For example, if you have no ERGs and no idea where to start, figure out which ERG will make the most traction in your business. For us, our first and largest community was [email protected] – but for your organization it may be a parents community, a Hispanic/Latin community, an LGBTQ community, or something else. Get passionate employees involved, and then figure out 2-3 realistic things you can do. Set metrics, measure the outcome, and figure out how to expand what works. Our first event was a luncheon event where we asked a female executive to come and share her experiences climbing the ropes over food. It was simple, but impactful. We still invite guest speakers to come talk, but also ask for internal folks to share their experiences. From there, we created “Rain or Shine Mixers” to grow our internal community. Almost three years after that first lunch, we are finally ready to roll out a formal structure and take this program to the next level, but it took time to gain the traction to do so.

Ruchira Bajaj

Introduce yourself! Who are you, what is your day job, and why are you part of the [email protected] ERG leadership team?

Hi! I am Ruchira Bajaj. I am a Senior Technical Customer Success Manager at Harness. My goal is to help customers get maximum value from Harness and be the voice of the customer within Harness. I guide customers to organize and execute onboarding and adoption of Harness as a new tool in their repertoire. I am passionate about creating a welcoming environment for women to grow and strengthen their career goals. I joined the [email protected] ERG leadership team to help facilitate such opportunities. The biggest motivation to join this team is my daughter, Alina, and be able to make any small impact that may help bring a bigger change for the future.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #BreakTheBias. What is one way you help bust biases at work/on your teams?

My hope is to #BreakTheBias at work this year by providing positive feedback. My hope is that by focusing on recognizing the strengths everyone brings to our workplace, the recognition will help make our work culture stronger. Harness has a set of values intertwined in its culture which are tied into a system of giving recognition to peers. I hope to use it more often and shed light on how amazing everyone is. Since women, generally, receive less feedback than men, I pledge to go the extra mile this year and recognize the impact all the women are making in supporting me to efficiently fulfill my goals.  

What are ways we can lift up and support one another?

As we navigate our careers, we must make an effort to recognize and encourage other women, and highlight each other’s credentials and accomplishments. To me, the best way to lift up one another is by celebrating each other's accomplishments and providing guidance to one another. To overcome gender biases, we must agree to celebrate one another’s successes whenever possible. This positive encouragement also goes hand-in-hand with giving and receiving constructive criticism. Studies show that women often receive less—and less helpful—feedback. Women hear more generic feedback that’s harder to act on. Sadly, this lack of input slows women down; it’s hard to develop skills and improve if one doesn't know what to do. We can support one another by providing women, especially the ones we work or volunteer with, input that can help them learn and grow. Remember that holding back for fear you’ll upset someone (let’s bust this bias too, while we are at it) doesn’t benefit them. Whenever possible, share your feedback live and constructively and in the moment, when it’s most effective. Feedback is a gift and solicit it often—you’ll benefit from the input.

Tiffany Nguyen

Introduce yourself! Who are you, what is your day job, and why are you part of the [email protected] ERG leadership team?

Hi! I’m Tiffany Nguyen. I am a Senior Commercial Counsel at Harness. As a part of the legal team, I provide the Harness team with legal advice that enables us to execute our strategic vision and protect our assets and reputation. I support our sales team in executing contracts with customers, manage our international expansion efforts as a part of Harness’ Entity Council, and generally support the legal needs of the organization. I’m a part of the [email protected] ERG leadership team because I am passionate about fostering connections among women, and helping women of all backgrounds to advance their careers. I believe that the work we do through [email protected] enables these opportunities.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #BreakTheBias. What is one way you help bust biases at work/on your teams?

This International Women’s Day, I hope to #breakthebias by empowering women at Harness to advocate for themselves and to unabashedly celebrate their accomplishments. To do this, I plan to assist women at Harness in advocating for themselves, whenever there is an opportunity. For example, if someone is negotiating with a prospective customer on a deal, I will take the time to provide negotiation tips and coaching as needed, so that they feel empowered to ask for the best thing for themselves and for the business. I also want to consistently celebrate the success of individual women at Harness, so that I am advocating for their career advancement and highlighting them as an expert in their field.

What are ways we can lift up and support one another?

To me, the best way to lift each other up and support one another is to share information. During the progression of our careers, each of us has collected advice, knowledge, and connections that has contributed to our success. As a woman of color and the first in my family to go to college, I didn’t have many role models or mentors when I chose to go to law school, and so I had very few resources for information. I spent an exhaustive amount of time trying to understand how to be a successful law student and eventually a successful lawyer, and trying to make the connections needed to thrive in a male-dominated industry. Today, I am committed to sharing my resources with aspiring lawyers and young lawyers, especially women of color, by making introductions, providing interview preparation tips, and generally sharing useful advice that I have gathered. I challenge you to do the same. If you come across someone who might benefit from a connection you have or advice you can share, give generously.

Conclusion

We can’t wait to see how this program grows over the next year, and are confident that the work we are driving will empower a more equitable workplace for all genders, as well as underrepresented groups. We hope this post has inspired you to join the conversation to #BreakTheBias in tech and beyond. It’s something we are passionate about, and intentionally driving at Harness. Join us next time when we meet more of our amazing women!

If you want to get involved and join our community, we are hiring across all departments and geos! As they say, timing is everything. Interested, but not quite yet? Join our Harness Talent Community on LinkedIn to stay connected and in the know! 

The Modern Software Delivery Platform™

Loved by Developers, Trusted by Businesses
Get Started

Need more info? Contact Sales