Welcome to fall, from all of us here at the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). This is a periodic newsletter for members and friends of the NCWIT Entrepreneurial Alliance — a growing network of startups committed to increasing their numbers of technical women, connecting with a talent pipeline, and raising the visibility of startup companies.
Following is a brief look at what we’re up to lately. Please email or call if you ever have questions. Got a particular issue your company is looking at or talking about? We’re here to help.
The NCWIT Entrepreneurial Alliance is a growing national network of startups and small companies who want to recruit and retain more technical women. As a member of the Entrepreneurial Alliance you’ve committed to working on building an inclusive workplace, one that includes more women. NCWIT is committed to helping you think and talk about how to do this, find the tools you need to recruit and retain technical women, and work with other alliance companies to do more faster.
Interested in evaluating your job posts for gendered wording? (hint: no “coding ninjas,” please.) Want to provide mentors for technical women in your company? Trying to reach out to undergrads to advertise your jobs? Looked at your office space lately to see if it appeals to women? NCWIT provides a searchable library of research-backed resources that can help you with issues like these, and our library is always open. Not sure where to start? Let us help you identify some small but significant actions you can “set and forget”.
We’ve expanded recruitment for the Entrepreneurial Alliance in the past few months and as a result, we’ve onboarded more than 20 new member companies since August. A complete list of the more than 40 member companies is at our website.
When you joined NCWIT you plugged into a national group of universities, corporations, government institutions, and education organizations; but you also joined a network of colleagues in your region. Since we know you’re short on time and resources and long on things to do, we’ve organized the Entrepreneurial Alliance members into “clusters” to help you leverage access to local projects, programs, and peers. Based on your home office location, you’re in the Eastern, Midwest/Mountain, or Western cluster. Check out the cluster map to see who’s where.
We’d like to identify a leader for each regional cluster. If you’re interested in more information about this role, please contact Stephanie.
[Mountain cluster] Wendy Lea, CEO of Get Satisfaction, at CU-Boulder
Wednesday, 12/5 from 12-1 PM
[Mountain cluster] NCWIT TechTalk: Startups, Culture, and Why Gender Diversity Matters
This lunch workshop features Foundry Group’s Brad Feld and takes place at the TechStars bunker in Boulder, Colorado. RSVP here.
Early 2013 (TBD)
[Western cluster]: NCWIT TechTalk, TBD
May 20-22, 2013
Save the Date: NCWIT Summit, Tucson, Arizona
Please join us in welcoming these new Entrepreneurial Alliance Members:
Next Big Sound
We Advertise Your Jobs at ncwit.org
We want women to know that your company cares about diversity. That’s why we publish your open jobs, through Indeed.com, at the NCWIT website. Check ‘em out or share the link at http://www.ncwit.org/jobs-ea-members.
One of the best ways to get more women through your door is to spread the NCWIT message to folks you know — it’s that “rising tide lifts all boats” thing.
When you see opportunities, I hope you will talk about your company’s involvement with NCWIT and the Entrepreneurial Alliance, and encourage others to join, too. Maybe you know other startups, VCs, accelerators, or entrepreneurs, in your neighborhood or elsewhere, who are challenged by a lack of tech talent. Maybe you know a small company that’s growing too fast to focus on building its culture. We hope you will tell them about your involvement with us: tweet it, recommend it, pass it on.
We know that a lot of startups are small and bootstrapping, and that every dollar counts. So we’ve adopted a tiered scale for our annual member company contributions, because we want to be sure that cost isn’t a barrier. The new tiered approach means that startups with fewer than 50 employees can join the Entrepreneurial Alliance for free. As companies grow beyond 50 people, we suggest a contribution between $1,000-$2,000.
You talked, we listened. Earlier this year you told us that one of your big challenges was attracting young people, especially women, to your open jobs. Startups may not have the HR machinery and generous benefits of a big company, but you’ve got other perks to offer and we want grads to know about that.
So: we asked you what characteristics you wanted to advertise to college grads, and we asked our social scientists to contribute some women-friendly research, and the result is Top 5 Reasons You Should Work at a Startup.
We’ll be mailing you some of these cards and encourage you to ask for more as you find more places to distribute them: talent fairs, universities, recruiting events, startup conferences, career panels, and wherever your employees volunteer. Big thanks to Tracy Carsten (UNAVCO), Leanne Smullen (SpotXchange), Leslie Osborne (Standing Cloud), Josh Ashton (SendGrid), and Jennifer Bisser (Oblong) for their contributions and input.
In his new book, Startup Communities, Brad Feld talks about how building an inclusive startup culture isn’t enough – you need to “engage the entire entrepreneurial stack,” and this includes taking active steps to increase your diversity. In his capacity as board chair of NCWIT Brad calls out some of our research-backed tips for men who want to help bring more women into the fold, like:
Mentor and sponsor women
Notice and correct micro-inequities and unconscious bias
Pacesetters is a fast-track “personal trainer” program in which company and university leaders commit to increasing their numbers of technical women. Pacesetters organizations set themselves a goal number of “net new” women, and then work at an accelerated pace to recruit previously untapped talent pools of technical women and retain women who are at risk of leaving.
If your startup is ready to kickstart its efforts to build a diverse company culture, or if you just want to work on this issue in the context of a peer cohort a concrete goal, then this program is for you. What gets measured, gets done, right?
Want to say you knew the “next Steve Jobs” when she was still in high school? You have until November 9 to register as a virtual judge for the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing. The Award, which recognizes young women in high school for their technology and computing aspirations and achievements, needs tech-savvy folks to help score applications. Being a judge is a great way to volunteer with a commitment of just a few hours, and it’s a great way to get a first-hand look at the future tech talent pipeline.