Today Is Women’s Equality Day. These Companies Choose to Celebrate All Year Long.

A day of recognition is great, but employees at these companies enjoy equity and ample opportunity year-round. 
Written by Adrienne Teeley
August 26, 2021Updated: August 29, 2021

Women’s Equality Day is observed annually in the United States on August 26th. While the day is an important reminder of the struggles women have faced — and continue to face — it’s also a celebration of all the progress that’s been accomplished thus far. 

But what about the other 364 days a year? 

For some New York City companies, equality and inclusion remain at the cultural forefront every day of the week, manifesting themselves in progressive policies, equitable hiring and promotion practices, and comprehensive talent development. These proactive initiatives ensure that every employee — regardless of gender identity — is supported and equipped to chase their professional dreams. 

Don’t just take our word for it: We spoke to women across six organizations who’ve experienced remarkable career growth and belonging at their organizations. They shared with us how their companies pushed them to leave their comfort zones and gave them the tools and opportunities they need to advance. 

It’s made a difference to these women — who hope it signals a brighter, more innovative future for the next generation. 

 

Why August 26th?

Women’s Equality Day is celebrated each year on August 26th — the anniversary of the 19th amendment, which ensured nobody could be turned away from the ballot box due to gender. While this was a big victory for white women, voting rights for people of color continued to be challenged in the decades that followed, a trend that unfortunately remains an issue today. 

women in the workplace

 

Breanna Stewart
Director of Client Support

Simon Data’s platform crunches massive amounts of customer data for enterprise companies, allowing for better communication, sharper marketing insights and more personalized experiences for consumers. 

 

What are your overall career goals? How have you been able to fulfill your professional goals at your current company? 

Shortly after starting my career in data analytics, I recognized my passion for coaching and mentoring younger staff and aimed to someday lead a larger team. In September of 2019, I joined Simon Data as a senior client solutions manager. I was excited to learn that I would work closely with a client solutions analyst to support a portfolio of clients. As I progressed in this role, I was presented with the opportunity to move into a new role as Simon’s director of client support (CS). 

Now, I lead a team of nine client solutions analysts. I feel like I am able to make an impact in their development toward long-term career goals and improving their day-to-day workflow with our clients. While a large portion of my role is focused on managing my team, I also am able to continue to flex my technical skills in support of our clients and in partnering with our product team on Simon’s roadmap. This role has truly exceeded my expectations for my vision as a people leader.

 

What professional development resources does your employer make available?

The nature of Simon’s data-driven product requires our client solutions team to be highly technical. I love that I am able to send all of our new joiners to attend an intensive SQL course to prepare them for exploring and wrangling data on a daily basis. 

Outside of the technical capabilities required to be successful in CS, leadership has recognized the need to invest in future leaders. To support my career interests in leading a team, Simon sponsored me, along with a cohort of my peers across the organization, in attending a six-week course on being an effective coach. While the course ended about a year ago, my cohort and I continue to meet on a monthly basis to check in on our challenges as people leaders and how we can apply the tools we were given.
 

Having female representation has been so helpful in giving me an understanding of the path, role and skills I would like to emulate.” 


How can tech companies promote an inclusive and equitable culture for women?

It has been incredibly important for me throughout my career to see women in leadership roles. Having female representation has been so helpful in giving me an understanding of the path, role and skills I would like to emulate as I continue to grow in my career. 

At Simon, we also have an employee resource group for all women-identifying individuals called Simon’s Network of Women (SNOW). SNOW meets on a monthly basis and is currently working on a mentorship program to connect the women at our business with leaders they may not otherwise have developed a relationship with. 

While I am especially excited about this initiative, I am also grateful to have an outlet for raising issues or pinpointing action we can take to continue making our team more inclusive and equitable.

 

Paula Bush
EVP, Advocacy Strategy & Delivery

Rightway Healthcare wants to simplify healthcare through its platform, which offers accessible, easy-to-use care navigation and pharmacy benefits solutions. With a blend of cutting-edge technology and clinician advice, users can save money and access better care. 

 

What are your overall career goals? How have you been able to fulfill your professional goals at your current company? 

At this stage in my career, I am hyper-focused on meaningful ways to transform the healthcare experience for today’s patients. As the executive vice president of advocacy, strategy and delivery, I’ve been able to leverage my skills, knowledge and expertise to focus on the big picture. 

 

What professional development resources does your employer make available?

At Rightway, professional development is an essential ongoing conversation. 

Importantly, we are focused on effective onboarding in order to set new team members up for success. For example, our mentorship program allows more experienced team members to guide our less experienced employees, which fosters community, helps new talent grow and promotes confidence for both the mentee and mentor. 

Lastly, we’re constantly working to update and advance our online learning tools and resources, like IT and software courses, to help further our skills and knowledge as the industry evolves.
 

Giving back as a mentor is very important to me, and Rightway provides a platform for me to do just that.”


How can tech companies promote an inclusive and equitable culture for women?

As a woman in the healthtech space, I know how important my voice is for the younger generation of women advancing right behind me, which is why I champion the [email protected] group. This networking forum is focused on promoting women’s growth, development, equality and solidarity. I’m honored to share my authentic experiences with the entire Rightway team in the hopes that it helps someone else. Giving back as a mentor is very important to me, and Rightway provides a platform for me to do just that.

 

Victoria Soohoo
Head of Support

ChartHop is a people analytics solution designed to give HR professionals (and their entire company) comprehensive information about their teams. Armed with quality employee data, organizations can make better decisions around staffing, diversity and inclusion and more.

 

What are your overall career goals? How have you been able to fulfill your professional goals at your current company? 

My overall career goal is to give others what they gave to me. Someone gave me a shot early in my career, and it changed my life. I love finding new talent and seeing their endless potential, and using what I’ve learned from my mentors to pass along to my team members.

I love finding new talent and seeing their endless potential, and using what Ive learned from my mentors to pass along to my team members.”


What professional development resources does your employer make available?

The most significant resource at ChartHop is the open culture concept. You gain an endless amount of information and perspective from others, and ChartHop promotes an open dialogue regardless of your background, who you report to or your current level. The things you learn from others are invaluable.

 

How can tech companies promote an inclusive and equitable culture for women?

Practice what you preach. ChartHop does an amazing job of hiring an eclectic group of leaders that only strengthens the statement of inclusion. 

 

Paula Segal
Senior Director, Product Management

SeatGeek is a mobile-focused platform for fans to buy, sell and trade tickets to their favorite events like sports games, theatre productions and concerts. 

 

What are your overall career goals? How have you been able to fulfill your professional goals at your current company? 

I’m not someone who ever lays out long-term career goals — and my career has been all the more interesting and fulfilling because of that! 

I sort of fell into product management (as so many PMs do!) after zig-zagging around from publishing, then getting a graduate degree in medieval history and then landing at a healthtech startup. 

What I have always been intentional about, however, is making sure I’m learning and being challenged in whatever I do. I’ve been at SeatGeek for almost six years now and still manage to learn something new almost every day, thanks to a fascinating industry, a complex business model, a growing product suite and the ever-evolving nature of technology.

 

What professional development resources does your employer make available?

SeatGeek gives teams and employees a generous budget for learning and development, but just as importantly, they provide so many opportunities for hands-on learning and growth. Everyone learns differently, which is important for companies to keep in mind when supporting their employees’ development goals. 

Some people like to read (we have a few great book clubs) and some like to attend workshops and conferences (we have a yearly budget including travel). I learn best by doing. Being at a company where I’m given opportunities to pursue my interests and work alongside brilliant people — without the constraints of a strict job description — has been the best resource for growing professionally and personally. As the leader of a team, it’s my responsibility to align people with opportunities that advance them in their careers and ensure that I’m setting them up to hit their development goals.
 

The long hours and fast pace that can be a hallmark of tech companies are often at odds with the demands of motherhood.”


How can tech companies promote an inclusive and equitable culture for women?

Something that has been particularly important to me is how tech companies can become a better work environment for caregivers. I am one of the many women who delayed motherhood in favor of establishing my career first, and even so, the transition to being a working mom in a startup environment was difficult personally and professionally. 

The long hours and fast pace that can be a hallmark of tech companies are often at odds with the demands of motherhood, and we can be forced to sacrifice our careers for our families, or vice-versa. The number of women who left the workforce during the pandemic to take care of families is alarming — and stands in stark contrast to the relatively low number of men who exited the workforce for analogous reasons. Providing flexibility when it comes to schedules, remote work and time off is key, as is having family-friendly benefits. 

Think about when team events are held and how timing affects who can attend (consider subbing out a few happy hours for lunches!). As companies are re-formulating policies, giving women the opportunity and platform to express what is important to them ensures that you’re hitting the mark with your unique workforce.

 

Thais Branco
Director, Marketing

As a universal shopping app, nate can buy any item users share with one touch. With features that allow users to make lists, send gifts and pay in installments, nate aims to make online shopping easier than ever.

 

What are your overall career goals? How have you been able to fulfill your professional goals at your current company? 

I’ve had an entrepreneurial ambition for a while — a desire to combine my passion for technology, brand building and people to bring innovation to my home country, Brazil. Working at nate has been pivotal in deconstructing my imposter syndrome and pushing me to learn and directly impact how to grow a company. 

Joining the nate team has challenged me to leave my comfort zone and pushed me toward a career-growth trajectory I never thought possible. Having the chance to be a part of a game-changing company from an early stage and being surrounded by phenomenal people is incredibly rewarding.

Working at nate has taught me to control my imposter syndrome, which I think everyone — particularly women in the workforce — has to manage. I’m empowered to embrace opportunities that come my way, even if at that exact moment, I don’t feel like I have all the knowledge to do it. The way nate focuses on “forgiveness over permission” opens the door for agility and risk-taking, and empowers people to believe in their gut feelings. 

This aiming-high, innovative and people-first approach is what I want to take with me to someday start my own endeavor (after we take nate to the moon, of course). 

 

What professional development resources does your employer make available?

We believe in investing in talent, stretching people beyond their comfort zones and supporting them to grow and learn quickly while balancing their personal lives for a sustainable work life. 

From nate’s start, the leadership team has put time and resources into creating a culture that fosters inclusivity and open communication, while also playing an active part in people’s growth. Promoting opportunity at the end of the day is a core part of leveling the playing field. On a regular basis, we have initiatives like our personal growth Fridays, which is a time for everyone to focus on education, mental health and cross-functional learning. Offering significant benefits is another key part for us, such as our yearly education stipends, sponsored tickets for conferences and on the personal side, equal parental leave and family planning benefits. 

Knowing that my employer has my back and cares about me as a human is incredibly empowering. 
 

Our conscious effort has brought our team of just over 50 people to encompass over 27 nationalities, 5 religions and 50 percent women.”


How can tech companies promote an inclusive and equitable culture for women?

There are two key sides of promoting an inclusive and equitable workplace for women: one is hiring and promoting talent and the other is developing culture. 

It’s key to actively promote diversity both in entry-level and higher-level positions — focusing on one or the other doesn’t sustainably solve the gap. At nate, we heavily invest in young talent. Our two-week career accelerator program for college students and recent graduates opens doors for further opportunities. Some of our superstar women went through it and are now leading entire initiatives. Tech often doesn’t put enough emphasis on opening doors, and we see that people are ready to go beyond once they get opportunities.

Representation matters. If we’re trying to build a product for consumers, we have to be reflective of what our society truly is. Our conscious effort has brought our team of just over 50 people to encompass over 27 nationalities, 5 religions and 50 percent women. 

Culture is the secret sauce. Hiring isn’t enough if a company can’t create an environment in which people feel that they can speak up, belong and are supported to develop. No policy, training or pretty words on paper can substitute that.

 

Lilian Ma
Senior Backend Engineer

SIMON’s end-to-end investment platform is designed to make it easier for financial advisors to support their clients’ financial goals through educational tools, lifecycle management, portfolio tracking, trade analysis and more. 

 

What are your overall career goals? How have you been able to fulfill your professional goals at your current company? 

My short-term goals are to develop technical skills and become a subject matter expert — someone others can turn to and prototype ideas. SIMON has been a great place to learn different technologies and coding paradigms. Amazon Web Services (AWS), cloud technology, microservices and other buzzwords are part of my daily conversations. Weekly design meetings, an emphasis on innovation and close relationships with my managers have allowed me to grow and learn.

My ultimate goal is to be a lighthouse for underrepresented communities in tech, and women especially. I joined our company’s DE&I initiative and was nominated to co-lead the Women’s Network, a group that takes pride in introducing women’s initiatives to the company, including partnering with industry groups like Women in Derivatives (WIND) and participating in fundraising events to support organizations like Black Girls Code. 

I’m working to funnel more women engineers into the recruiting pipeline. Our management and human resources teams have been incredibly supportive of these efforts. I also hope to mentor and support women engineers in the early stages of their careers. The opportunities I’m exploring now help prepare me to pay it forward and become a stronger mentor.

 

What professional development resources does your employer make available?

We found our team learns best on the job. SIMON offers reimbursement for courses that enhance skills, and our head of people works closely with teams to develop career matrices that define development paths and introduce managerial training to help our people develop and grow talent on teams. 

SIMON is leading the way for development by listening to the needs of our team. We work with the broader community by sharing the experiences of SIMON employees to shed light on how different career paths can be in the industry. Resources are available to expose teams to new ideas that open minds, help innovate and provide opportunities to grow. 

Our Women’s Network recently sponsored an event with HerCapital called “From Wall Street to FinTech: A Discussion on Careers and Investing.” The event featured two of SIMON’s female leaders as they discussed their careers in finance and how they transitioned into fintech, and provided an overview of structured investments and annuities. 
 

I’m proud to be part of a company where 40 percent of senior leadership (department heads and c-suite leaders) are female.”


How can tech companies promote an inclusive and equitable culture for women?

The simplest answer is to hire more women. The more representation we have, the more we are heard, the more chances we have to hold a seat at the table and the better the culture is for women and for the company. It’s also important to promote and retain women in senior positions. I’m proud to be part of a company where 40 percent of senior leadership (department heads and c-suite leaders) are female. 

A few additional ways to ensure that a company’s culture is inclusive and equitable to women could include implementing human resources policies, providing targeted support and mentorship programs and providing fair pay. Looking inward for opportunities and developing a culture that is energized by the voices of its team will help create inclusivity and organically shift to support women — and other underrepresented talent — better. 

I think SIMON has helped me realize how important it is for a company’s management to encourage team members at every level of an organization to idea share, listen to one another and create room for growth by not being afraid of change.

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