I’m not one for specific New Year’s resolutions, but it’s a good time to look ahead and think of ways to do better. One thing our industry has been trying to do better at (as has the broader tech business) is to foster women’s careers. As an industry event, Enterprise Connect is well positioned to play a role here, since many of our attendees, men and women, tell us that one of the most valuable things about the event is that it offers a unique opportunity for networking and career-building.
Last year, in an overdue move, we launched a Women in Enterprise Communications program, which featured networking events and sessions designed to help women advance their careers in the communications/collaboration segment of enterprise IT. The program was a big success, so we’ll be building on it for Enterprise Connect 2020, including a Town Hall session as part of our Conference program, followed by a networking reception.
In addition, we’re launching a program that we really need your help with. At Enterprise Connect 2020 the week of March 30, we’ll present our first-ever Spotlight Award program, highlighting outstanding women in enterprise IT/communications/collaboration. Anyone can nominate an outstanding woman from an enterprise organization, and the Enterprise Connect program team will choose a select few for recognition.
One point I need to make here is that we intend to limit this recognition to women who work within enterprise organizations. There are certainly many outstanding women working at the vendor companies, but what we’re really hoping to do with this award is to help women build careers as technology specialists and advance within IT organizations. It’s no secret that enterprise IT has been, in too many places, an old boy network—even more so within the communications specialty, where the heritage is one of telecom departments and some very old-school thinking.
As we explain on our Spotlight Award webpage, here’s what we’re looking for in nominees: “Award recipients will exhibit leadership within enterprise IT, promoting innovative ideas and sound strategies that move their businesses—and even industries—forward. Through their achievements, these women advance their profession of IT/communications within the enterprise. Through their actions and leadership, they serve as role models for a new generation of women seeking to excel in the profession of enterprise IT/communications.”
We’re deliberately not creating more specific categories or criteria. Ideally, we’d love to see a mix of nominees: Experienced leaders with a track record of success; young, high-potential candidates with a promising career ahead of them; those with unique talents, ideas, or personal histories that make them an example for others.
Again, anyone can nominate anyone else; you can also nominate yourself—again, the caveat being that the nominee much work within the enterprise.
I believe that just about every enterprise today is trying to do better when it comes to promoting women and encouraging them to build their careers. We hope that the Enterprise Connect Spotlight Award becomes another tool the industry can use to advance this urgent goal.