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Your Career, Menopause & Ageism

Posted By Guest Contributor: Barbara Mark, Ph.D., Friday, October 18, 2019
Contributed by Barbara Mark, Ph.D. | A Time of My Own / Full Circle Institute Leadership and Life Strategies for Professional Women in Their Prime

The 40s, 50s and 60s are three of the most dynamic decades in a woman’s life and career.

This becomes important as women in their 40s look at long term career planning. Women in this age group are in a stage of personal and psychological development that includes moving away from depending on others for approval and permission and are making important career decisions. Women are typically aggressively moving into more visible and influential leadership positions in their areas of interest and expertise.

It is a great time for women to be robust in their desire to achieve the results they want to achieve at this time in their career. They have credibility and enough experience to know what they want to be doing and at what level. They have done their networking and know how to find the contacts that will help them to move up where they are or make the big move to a different place. If they are unsure of where they want to be, this is a great time to engage with a coach to help get some clarity and develop strategies for making change.

This is an exciting time and yet a challenging time for two reasons. First, this age group is called the Sandwich Generation. They are likely to still have children, sometimes young ones, if they have had children, and parents who are aging and may require care.

Second, it is during this decade that women typically will begin to enter perimenopause and experience the accompanying array symptoms. For some women it is a blip on the developmental radar screen and for others it is a nightmare! In our youth obsessed culture, nothing says “old” like menopause. It has been so fully stigmatized that women are often unfamiliar the symptoms never mind how to address them despite the fact that it is a normal human experience. Women simply don’t talk about it and most physicians are poorly prepared to provide assistance or support.

Menopause is an issue of ageism. To reveal and request any accommodation because of menopause symptoms is to subject oneself to this bias. Ageism is a species of Diversity and Inclusion that is rarely addressed as such and the menopause taboo is a subspecies of ageism.

This year has marked a shift in the tide in the US and menopause is now becoming a more frequent topic of conversation in the media and among women’s groups. However, ageism especially gendered ageism is still an issue that is not being addressed in a way that is supportive of women as they age. This is still a frontier that needs to be explored.

Moving into their 50s, for many women, is a journey toward increased personal empowerment. However, the beginning of the journey is beset with some navigational challenges. Many women are still in the grips of perimenopausal symptoms yet for most women the end is in sight as the average age of menopause is 51. Perimenopausal symptoms can last for a while longer than actual menopause (one year after your last period), but they are usually waning.

Developmentally, this is a time when women begin to reflect on what life has been so far and wonder if they have accomplished all that they hoped or thought that they would. This time of deep self reflection is often accompanied by a lot of questions about being in the right place.This can mean looking at their level of passion and looking for sufficient levels of purpose and meaning in their career and other aspects of their lives. Alo, this can be a time when some women experience their own personal/professional midlife “crisis” in that they feel that they want to or need to make a move but have no real clarity about what that move should be. Mistakes can be made during this time and it is a good time to see the counsel of a close friend or to engage the services of a coach who can help you gain the clarity you need to move forward with confidence.

Careers can be very fulfilling at this time as often reached the pinnacle of their careers. As women move into their late 50s, they are usually feeling on more solid ground. Many women will take big steps, concrete steps toward feeling greater purpose and meaning. If women have had children, they are usually launched by this time leaving women with more time to focus on what they truly want professionally and personally. If that isn’t fully happening career-wise, many women add creative pursuits or volunteer opportunities that are meaningful and fulfilling. In the workplace, many women derive deep satisfaction from mentoring and sponsoring younger colleagues. This is no time for ageism to deprive the workplace of the life wisdom and institutional knowledge that women hold.

Here are some pro-tips on dealing with ageism in the workplace:

  1.  Know your value and be able to articulate how your skills contribute to positive business outcomes. Be proud of what you have accomplished and be able to detail your track record with your current or prospective boss.
  2.  Network across generational networks. Developing good relationships across the generations can go a long way to being seen as relational, valuable and relevant. You have a lot of institutional knowledge and earned wisdom - these are very valuable in the world of work. Sharing this knowledge and wisdom with younger colleagues will help you to nurture trust and influence. You will also be able to keep up to date on current trends and technologies through some reverse-mentoring.
  3.  Always manage up well!
  4.  Be sure to challenge your own assumptions and biases about age. If you think you are “old” you are likely to look, act and sound old. You are not old - don’t hold yourself back!
  5.  Also, it doesn’t hurt to know your rights when it comes to possible age discrimination - just in case ;).

Women in their 60s are often both vibrant and elegant. Wisdom is in vogue now, so 60 year olds should glow in the workplace and in other areas of their lives. It is time to enjoy this stage of “Individuation” when women accept all of who they are and kick to the curb anything that doesn’t fit. It is time for women to appreciate all they have accomplished and to accomplish some more with purpose and passion!

Tags:  #menopause  #Women 

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Watermark Announces Two New Board Members

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 21, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Watermark is pleased to announce the appointment of two new members to its Board of Directors: Lori Nishiura Mackenzie and Carin Taylor. The Board provides leadership for carrying out Watermark's mission to increase the representation of women in leadership roles by empowering them to make their mark in and for their companies, their careers and their communities.

"Watermark's mission has always been to connect, develop and advocate for women at any level of their career. With a focus on women’s equality and advancement since our inception over 25 years ago, Watermark continues its evolution that can only be achieved from a strong foundation built upon engagement from its prestigious Board of Directors." says Ann Barlow, Watermark Board Chair. "By welcoming the new newest Directors, Lori and Carin, to the Watermark Board reflects the powerful contributions and dedication it has by bringing recognized leaders who advocate for women into the fold to advance our work." 

Lori Nishiura Mackenzie is Executive Director of Stanford University's Clayman Institute for Gender Research and the co-founder of the new Stanford VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab. She advises the diversity and inclusion efforts at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and teaches executive education. Lori speaks globally at organizations such as the European Central Bank, the Watermark Conference for Women and the World Banking Group. Her work has been published in the Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, BBC, San Francisco Chronicle, and brand eins. Lori was one of the BBC’s 100 Women in 2017 and was interviewed for the 2018 documentary, bias. Lori brings 20 years of business management experience from companies including Procter & Gamble, Apple, eBay and PayPal and is on the board of the Alliance for Girls. She has an MBA from the Wharton School of Business and a BA in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Carin Taylor is Chief Diversity Officer at Workday and has global responsibility for the development and execution of Workday’s inclusion and diversity strategy. Prior to joining Workday, Carin served as the head of diversity, inclusion, and innovation at Genentech where she was responsible for strategic initiatives including executive coaching, building and leading highly effective teams, and increasing employee engagement. She was also responsible for creating strategies to successfully recruit, develop, and retain diverse workforces as well as enabling large organizations to leverage diversity and inclusion to drive innovation. Before Genentech, Carin held various positions in human resources, inclusion and diversity, finance, and customer service at Cisco Systems.

Watermark is a non-profit organization and community of top women executives, emerging executives and entrepreneurs in the San Francisco Bay Area whose mission is to increase the number of women in leadership positions. Led by the current Watermark Board of Directors, the organization connects, develops and advocates for the advancement of women in the workplace by offering regular leadership development programs and networking opportunities and promoting gender diversity and equality initiatives. Watermark also supports girls’ leadership programs to help build a well-qualified workforce for the future.

For more information about Watermark, contact press@wearewatermark.org

Tags:  Board of Directors  Make Your Mark  Watermark  WeAreWatermark 

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How Do You Command A Room? 3 Tips to Boost Your Executive Presence

Posted By Guest Post: Ching Valdezco, Exec|Comm, Wednesday, August 14, 2019

This is an original post from Exec |Comm, a Watermark partner and co-branded workshop facilitator.

REGISTER TODAY | Watermark's Co-Branded Workshop | Executive Presence for Financial Managers | October 17, 2019 | Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Palo Alto

How Do You Command a Room? 3 Tips to Boost Your Executive Presence
By: Ching Valdezco

Growing up in the Philippines, I was taught to be humble and accommodating, rather than outspoken or bold. We were encouraged to get along, rather than rock the boat.

My first jobs were with two of the world’s top companies, Procter & Gamble and Hewlett-Packard. My global colleagues were extroverted and confident – they always knew the right thing to say. I found myself too intimidated to speak up in meetings. Not a quality that was going to fast-track me for a leadership position.

I’m petite – 5’ flat. On top of that, I’m an Asian woman, so I look much younger than I am. As a director of strategy and planning at a Fortune 50, I had to learn how to boost my presence, command the room, and engage executive audiences effectively.

So what changed that allowed me to confidently lead global teams and work with senior executives? I took control of my presence. Coming from a technical background, I had to learn that it’s not just about the facts – how I say something is just as important as what I say.

Here’s how you can strengthen your presence and instantly own the room.

1. Connect With Your Listeners

  • Eye contact helps you connect with your audience and show confidence. It’s a powerful connection tool, and it’s all about balance. Too little and you seem detached. Stare them down and you seem creepy. The most effortless way to relate to your audience without detracting from what you’re saying is to follow “one person, one thought.” That is, each thought gets delivered to one set of eyes.

Tip: When seated, look for ‘power positions.’ Position yourself somewhere in the room where you can see the group and make eye contact with key stakeholders.

2. Own Your Space

  • Gestures reinforce your message, and help you own your space. When standing, open your gestures and demonstrate a strong stance. Don’t be afraid to visually express what you’re saying, but keep it in the “gesture zone” – from about your chin to your waist, and just over shoulder width.

Tip: When seated, keep your hands on or above the table and remember to gesture naturally.

3. Take Your Time

  • Pace and pauses tell your audience that what you’re saying matters. Power is never rushed. When you sound confident, it’s easier for your audience to have confidence in you. If you speak too fast, you risk sounding nervous or uncomfortable, and you send one of two wrong messages:
    • “What I’m saying isn’t important enough to take up your time,” or,
    • “I don’t care if you understand, I just want to dump my info on you.”

Tip: Slow down and use pauses to command attention and emphasize key points. There’s power in the pause.

Follow these three quick suggestions and you’ll come across as confident and credible.

Tags:  Executive Presence  Leadership  Workshop 

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Upcoming Watermark Member Benefits & Pricing

Posted By Marion Long, Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Greetings Watermark Community!

Our mission at Watermark is to increase the representation of women in leadership roles by empowering them to make their mark in and for their companies, their careers and their communities. One way, you can help us do that is by being a member!

We have some exciting member updates to share with you that will help you fully embrace the Watermark experience. Our members join Watermark to be in community with women of equal stature in the professional world and men join who are allies. They join for the development, inspiration, and kinship our community offers.

We are enhancing our programs, adding more offerings and simplifying our membership types, starting July 1, 2019.

 Updated Complimentary Member Benefits

  • Women Like Us Events
  • Member-Only Workshops
  • Monthly Webinars
  • Access to The Learning Center
  • Access to Watermark's New Mastermind Groups
  • Executive Coaching (Prestige only)
  • Advanced and Facilitated Connections (Prestige Only)

Additional Member Benefits

  • Eligible for advance purchase of ticket(s) for Watermark's Conference for Women
  • Eligible for up to four (4) Watermark Conference for Women Tickets
  • Eligible for up to one (1) Watermark Conference for Women Tables (Prestige only, non-Sponsor)

Updated Membership Levels

We have simplified the membership levels providing you a way to access programs and resources you need at every stage of your career. Starting in July, here are the following levels and associated fees:

  • Prestige available to either Emerging or Senior Members includes entry to all events (except Conference for Women,) one personal connection and one hour executive situational coaching – cost $1,000
  • Senior Executive – Director and above or established business owners (5+ years in business) includes basic discount to major events, (except Conference for Women) in addition to the free member events listed above – cost $525
  • Emerging Executive - IC up through Senior Manager or new business owners includes basic discount to major events (except Conference for Women) in addition to the free member events listed above – cost $345

 Bonus Discounts and Benefits

If you upgrade your membership today, you'll receive 10% off the current membership rate. Il-If you sign up for Prestige (Emerging or Senior), you'll receive a 15 month membership rather than 12 months.

Not a member? Join before July 1, 2019 to receive current Watermark Member pricing! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at marion@wearewatermark.org.


Marion Long
Director of Membership Services

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Watermark 2019 Mid-Year Update

Posted By Ann Barlow, Watermark Board Chair, Monday, June 3, 2019

Dear Watermark community,

As we approach the half-year mark, the Watermark board and team wanted to give you an update on the many important developments over the past several months, and what’s ahead for the remainder of the year.

1. Do you know Watermark’s next Executive Director?

As you may know, Marlene Williamson, Watermark’s CEO for the past four years, has retired. We wish her the best in this new phase of her life. As a result, we are conducting a search for a new executive director (title change reflects the current nonprofit norms) to lead this premier organization as we continue to increase the number of women in leadership positions in Silicon Valley and beyond. We are excited to meet this new leader, who will help our community in achieving this mission by providing essential connections, education, and advocacy. If you know anyone who would love to contribute their talents in this position, please send them this link: https://www.wearewatermark.org/page/CareersWatermark_ED.

2. Watermark team

 We are so pleased and proud to tell you that Kim Steppe has been promoted to Vice President of Sponsorships. Kim, who joined Watermark last year, is an experienced Congressional ambassador with a history of working in nonprofit organization management. She has lobbied for Alzheimer’s research funding and advocated at the federal and state level for public policies that improve the lives of those living with Alzheimer’s disease and their families. Since joining Watermark, Kim has demonstrated a passion and keen ability to align businesses with programs that will meet their education and advocacy needs as they support women’s advancement inside their own organizations and beyond. Kim continues to work alongside Erin Tselenchuk, VP of Marketing and Events, and Office/Financial Administrator Asa Enocson. Marilyn Nagel, who retired as Watermark CEO in 2014 and continues to lead some of Watermark’s most popular programs, is supporting the team during our Executive Director search. Recognizing that our members are an indispensable element to Watermark’s strength and vitality, we have also reinstated the Membership Director position. Marion Long, former head of Diversity at New Relic, is now in this role, where she will help members in making connections and make maximum use of our diverse programs.

3. Membership enhancements coming

Watermark is rolling out new membership benefits with a mission to promote, connect, and amplify the influence of all of our members individually and collectively. We are experts at creating a safe and comfortable space where women truly come together, make meaningful connections, new opportunities, and in short, magic. Toward that end, details on new specialized programs created for: senior executives, CEOs, small entrepreneurs, director-level members, and emerging executives will be shared with our members along with new simplified membership categories.

4. Development programs

 We are also enhancing Watermark’s development offerings both for our membership and sponsorship communities with more digital options that complement our highly acclaimed in-person workshops, conferences, and webinars.

5. Advocacy

Watermark has been advocating for women’s equality and advancement since our inception over 25 years ago. This year, we are working with several progressive companies that offer tools and applications to break through the logjams that persist in creating gender equity, belonging and inclusive environments. In the coming months, look for new information and insights on the often-unexpected factors that impede equity, and how some in Silicon Valley and beyond are addressing now.

We are excited at all that is in the works and grateful to you, our sponsors, members, and community for your partnership. I hope to see you at an upcoming event, and we welcome your questions and comments.


Ann Barlow
Watermark Board Chair

Questions? Please contact me!

Tags:  Announcement  Watermark  WeAreWatermark 

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Congratulations #WomenofInfluence!

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Watermark invites you to congratulate the Silicon Valley Business Journal Women of Influence Award Winners, including Watermark members (Heather Jerrehian, Emtrain | Monica Phillips, DLA Piper; Spark Plug Labs | Rashim Mogha, Automation Anywhere) and sponsors (Amy Fliegelman Olli and June Yang, VMWare | Sherry Ryan, Juniper Networks | Dr. Yun Freund, Equinix | Jen Betz, Maxim Integrated | Roshan Mehdizadeh Corsiglia and Kripa Krishnan, Google | Yan Li, Western Digital Corp | Charlene M. Morrow, Fenwick and West LLP | Lisa Su, AMD | Rania Succar, Intuit). 

 The Silicon Valley Business Journal's annual Women of Influence awards program is designed to honor the region's most influential business women. These specific women and sponsors have made their mark on their communities as well as the Watermark community. View all winners HERE.

 Interested in submitting more nominations? Watermark is currently accepting nominations for our 2019 Make Your Mark (MYM) Awards. Entries will be accepted online through Friday, June 7. The MYM Awards are open to all professional women, as well as an award for a man and organization who are working to advance women in positions of leadership!


The awards will be conferred in the following categories:
1) Connection Award: A woman who connects women (and men)
2) Development Award: A woman who helps develop women
3) Advocacy Award: A woman who advocates for the advancement of women
4) Bill Campbell Award: A man who has demonstrated a commitment to advancing women as an ally
5) Impact Award: A company that demonstrates a commitment to advancing women

Tags:  leadership  Silicon Valley Biz Journal  Women of Influence 

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The Power of Motherhood

Posted By Administration, Sunday, May 12, 2019

This is a special note to our Watermark community of working mothers. Today is the day, a moment during the year when you should pause and reflect on all the accomplishments you have achieved as a working mother. Our definition of mother comes in all forms: mothers, grandmothers, great-grand mothers, mother-in-laws, aunts who are present as mothers, the mothers of our friends, and all the women who act as mothers and influence our lives. And by working, there is the added title and distinction of "working mother". We know your long nights and early mornings, your "mental" workload of making sure that your kids are where they need to be with everything they need, your "emotional" tug-of-war of being a working mother, and your constant search of work-life balance in order to be your best possible mom-self.

We want to remind you that you are amazing, both at work and at home. And whether you have littles at home, teenagers, grown children or grandchildren, or provide guidance in the lives of others, remember we are continuing to raise the next generations of strong individuals by showing that when we are working mothers, we can have our cake and eat it too.

"Don't look at email or texts while you are spending time with your children off-Hours. Looking back, I wish I had created better boundaries." - Mary Ann Bianco, Watermark Board Liaison

Read more brilliant thoughts about working motherhood at Before I Became a Mom, I Wish I Knew...48 Tips for Working Moms, by Alli Smalley at PowerToFly.

And we remind you, it takes a village. We are here for you and again, we wish our working moms a very Happy Mother's Day!

- The Watermark Team

Tags:  Leadership  Motherhood  Working Moms 

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Watermark Announces Three New Board Members

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Watermark is pleased to announce the appointment of three new members to its Board of Directors: Jessica Aguirre, Monica Kumar, and Erika McEnroe. The Board provides leadership for carrying out Watermark's mission to increase the representation of women in leadership roles by empowering them to make their mark in and for their companies, their careers and their communities.

"Watermark women assist, support, advise and advocate for one another, and the three newest board members embody this spirit," says Ann Barlow, Watermark Board Chair. "I’m continually amazed by how members go out of their way to support one another on everything from matching internships for nieces and daughters to finding new roles when a member is in transition. Watermark is honored to have Monica, Jessica and Erika join a prestigious board and help in continuing to evolve how we connect, develop and advocate to achieve our mission." 

Jessica Aguirre is the 6 and 11 p.m. evening anchor at NBC Bay Area News and an Emmy award winning journalist. Jessica has been a primetime, evening anchor, in the Bay Area for the last 20 years. She has worked for Univision, and has anchored and reported in Los Angeles and Miami, . Her Emmy awards include her series, investigative work, and field anchoring on the deadly Sonoma and Napa county firestorms, the emotional journey of a transgender teen, the "Ghostship" warehouse fire in Oakland, the struggles of migrant children, and uncovering child molesters. She has also received an Associated Press award. More recently Jessica won an Emmy for field anchoring from the deadly Sonoma and Napa county firestorms. As the daughter of immigrant parents, she deeply involved in organizations that promote literacy and help stem the Latino achievement gap including The Silicon Valley Education Fund. Her Emmy nominated education show "Class Action" took a deep look at the issues facing California educators and public schools. Her signature interviews with education leaders like U.C. President Janet Napolitano, State Superintendent of Education Tom Torlakson, and reform activist Michelle Rhee have distinguished her as a leading education specialist in the Bay Area. Her investigative reporting into the aftermath of the Napa earthquake and the impact on local schools led to school safety legislation being introduced by Assemblyman Bill Dodd.

Monica Kumar is the SVP of Product and Solutions Marketing at Nutanix where she’s responsible for driving the global Go-to-Market (GTM), messaging, thought leadership and category creation efforts for the company to take them into the next chapter of growth. She plays a critical role in driving the marketing growth and direction of the company as well as continuing to generate brand/category awareness and the evolving the positioning across Nutanix’s suite of products. Prior to joining Nutanix, Monica worked at Oracle where she launched several ground-breaking PaaS and IaaS solutions to the market including Oracle Autonomous Database, Oracle Linux, and Oracle VM. Most recently, she led the global product marketing and sales GTM for Oracle’s industry-leading, multi-billion dollar Data Management portfolio, including the world's first self-driving Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud. She believes that "empathy" is the most critical leadership trait and "managing" an organization is not the same as "leading" them. Monica is passionate about supporting women in STEM and in Leadership. She was awarded “2017 Powerful Women of the Bay” by CDA Consulting Group and “2017 Women of Influence” by The Silicon Valley Business Journal in recognition for being passionate about educating, empowering, and connecting with women in business and the community.

Erika Varga McEnroe is Vice President, Deputy General Counsel and Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer at Synopsys, Inc., an S&P 500 company. She is currently responsible for corporate governance, public reporting, mergers and acquisitions, ethics & compliance, privacy, marketing-related legal matters and procurement. Erika also helps lead Synopsys’ corporate social responsibility efforts. She joined Synopsys in April 2007 from SupportSoft, Inc., where she took the company public in 2000 and served most recently as Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary. Erika began her career as an auditor at Ernst & Young. Erika was honored for her outstanding achievements, leadership, and impact to her organization, field and community with a 2018 YWCA Tribute to Women. Erika also serves as the Corporate Secretary for the Synopsys Foundation and the Synopsys Outreach Foundation, and serves on the board of directors of Watermark and the National Charity League, Heritage Oaks chapter.

Watermark is a non-profit organization and community of top women executives, emerging executives and entrepreneurs in the San Francisco Bay Area whose mission is to increase the number of women in leadership positions. Led by the current Watermark Board of Directors, the organization connects, develops and advocates for the advancement of women in the workplace by offering regular leadership development programs and networking opportunities and promoting gender diversity and equality initiatives. Watermark also supports girls’ leadership programs to help build a well-qualified workforce for the future.

For more information about Watermark, contact press@wearewatermark.org

Tags:  Board of Directors  Leadership  Watermark  WeAreWatermark 

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NEW: May Speaker Series, Lindsey Pollak!

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, April 30, 2019

PRICING*: Prestige Members: Complimentary | Basic Members: $39  | Non-Members: $54

*Autographed copies of the book are available for purchase at the end of the event.


“In an era where five different generations now work shoulder to shoulder in open offices, it’s not just individual professionals who must cultivate adaptivity and a commitment to continuous learning. As Lindsey Pollak suggests in this instructive and engaging book, companies must do so as well — especially if they want to fully utilize the talents of their increasingly diverse workforces.”


REID HOFFMAN – co-founder of LinkedIn and co-author of Blitzscaling and The Start-up of You

Millennials have only just begun their reign as the largest generation in the workplace. But they are not alone. For the next decade at least, these young professionals will be working side by side with more established generations, including the Baby Boomers, who are working longer than ever, and an entirely new group coming up, Generation Z. This means within any organization, any team, any meeting, any marketing opportunity, you may find any combination of generations. Each of these age groups has their own attitude, expectations, and professional style. To lead and succeed in any organization today, you must adapt to how Millennials work, while continuing to accommodate their older colleagues and paying attention to the next generations coming up. As the leading expert on generations in the workplace, Lindsey Pollak combines the most recent data from a variety of authoritative sources with her own original research, as well as detailed case studies from her Fortune 500 clients.

Pollak outlines the ways businesses, executives, mid-level managers, employees, and entrepreneurs can handle situations that may arise when diverse styles clash and provides clear strategies to turn generational diversity into business opportunity.

About Lindsey Pollak

Lindsey Pollak is a New York Times bestselling author, keynote speaker, and one of the world’s leading experts on millennials and the multigenerational workplace. She is the author of Getting from College to Career: Your Essential Guide to Succeeding in the Real World and Becoming the Boss: New Rules for the Next Generation of Leaders. She has served as an official ambassador for LinkedIn, millennial workplace expert for The Hartford, and chair of the Cosmopolitan magazine Millennial Advisory Board. A graduate of Yale University, she is based in New York City.





Open to All, Recommended for: Emerging Executives; Mid-Senior Executives; Executives; Graduate Students; Women; Men

Tags:  leadership  Speaker Series  Watermark  WeAreWatermark 

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Intuit Joins Worldwide Leaders at the UN to Take the Stage—and a Stand—on Gender Equality

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 3, 2019

*Originally posted by Intuit

Since assuming the role of Chief Diversity and Inclusion officer at Intuit a year ago, Scott Beth has interviewed 170 employees—which means taking an interview about every other day. Why? He wants to understand what it means, to these unique individuals, to feel they belong at Intuit.

We believe that gender equality in the workplace is defined by more than percentages in a gender equality report. It’s defined by our ability to ensure that employees of all genders and identities truly and authentically belong. Practically speaking, Intuit measures this type of inclusivity by regularly asking its employees through an anonymous survey, “do you feel that you belong at Intuit?” Our relatively high scores of 82 percent points is nearly equal between men and women. Women comprise one-third of Intuit’s Board of Directors, and the CEO staff is at parity.

Yet our team knows our work is far from done. While we have nearly reached parity in pay overall, and in non-technical positions, the company is working to move the needle on parity between genders in technical positions and getting the belonging score closer to 100 percent.

Taking a stand

Earlier this week, Beth stood up in front of international diplomats and business leaders at the United Nations headquarters to dive into what gender equality means at Intuit and across society, more broadly. Intuit’s Head of Innovation for Israel, Baat Enosh, also moderated a panel between Beth and executives at Webpals and Taboola to advance the discussion in a room of business leaders. These discussions are part of the biggest worldwide gender equality event which draws on leadership from the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Beth’s opportunity to take the stage was provided through a unique partnership with Parliament 51 (P51), a network of leading companies that are committed to promoting an equal opportunity future. In 2018, Intuit’s Israel office signed P51’s declaration of standards reflecting commitment to diversity in the workforce, and Enosh is a Chairwoman of P51.

In 2019, Intuit will sign the global standards put forth by P51 to declare our commitment to gender equality across our offices worldwide.

Why Intuit cares

Historically, corporations have played a key role in driving social change (e.g. contributing to the end of Apartheid, and advancing LGBTQ rights in the workplace). The gender equality movement itself has been further inspired by Intuit, Google and others in and outside of Silicon Valley that regularly and transparency report on gender and racial diversity. It’s time the private sector take a stand–and take action–in gender equality. Companies—like Intuit—can and should drive this change by making investments that raise the inclusion of women in society. 40 percent of small businesses are owned by women, and women influence or manage 85 percent of all consumer purchases—so failing to market to women would be a huge miss for our company.

At the United Nations, Beth called for the private sector to take a stand—and take action—in gender equality. We believe Intuit is on the forefront of driving this change by making investments that raise the inclusion of women in society.

Three models for equality in the workplace

For Intuit, gender equality inspires curiosity, innovation, and customer empathy. Here are three models meant to drive gender equality that Beth shared with UN-Commission on the Status of Women participants.

1. Building the talent pipeline

Intuit invests in STEM programs at large, like Girls Who Code, Code2040, Lesbians Who Tech, Grace Hopper, NCWIT, Latina Vida, mentoring programs in middle/high schools, and many other programs. We are actively re-engaging—and training—mid-career women technologists returning to the workforce.

Some great female technologists taking time away from their career to raise a family, take care of aging parents, or start their own business, and when they decide to return to High Tech, we pay for these technologists to learn new technologies like artifical intelligence, machine learning, and mobile app development. Our program—Intuit Again—is in its fourth year and has a 100 percent placement into full time positions in the US. We will continue to invest in development programs specifically for women in tech, such as mentorship and peer support networks.

2. Start with safety

Our employees have a wide range of life experiences and beliefs and we believe in a culture of diversity, inclusion and belonging. We also realize that employee safety, which includes a psychologically and emotionally safe work environment, is the foundation for the change we need to drive. We meet this need by offering a transparent, actionable code of conduct, non-discrimination policies, and an environment where employees can bring their whole, best selves to work.

3. Inclusivity starts at the top

We can’t expect to build a culture of belonging if our leaders aren’t inclusive. Our leaders undergo extensive training on seven attributes of inclusivity, including inclusive facilitation, transparency and authenticity, caring and respect, courage to give feedback, curiosity, cultural competency, and risk taking.  Some tangible actions that manifest from this training are monthly feedback meetings, standard criteria for promotions and leadership capability that allows our managers and leaders to promote equality in and outside of the workplace.

At the UN-Commission on the Status of Women event, in front of diplomats, NGOs, non-profits, governmental organizations, and leaders at private entities, Beth declared Intuit’s commitment to women around the world. We are fully committed to investing in gender equity through education, transparency, sharing of best practices, financial investments, and promoting a healthy workplace culture.

For more information about the Parliament 51 declaration, visit http://www.parliament51.com.

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