This year we are celebrating International Women’s Day by sharing details about a new group we launched over the past year: Women of Collibra. International Women’s Day is a time when we come together as a global community to celebrate the achievements of women around the world. And while there is much to celebrate, it’s also a time to recognize how much work is still left to do. The theme this year, “Balance for Better” recognizes the need for gender equality, not just in the boardroom or the workplace, but everywhere in society. What rings so true for Collibra in this theme is the notion of equality and inclusion, which is why Women of Collibra is not just for women. The group is aimed at all employees, and we are encouraging discussion and dialogue that allows women to talk about issues that are important to them with everyone they work with.
Companies that embrace diversity and inclusion are more successful – McKinsey & Company research found that companies with more culturally and ethnically diverse executive teams were 33% more likely to see better-than-average profits. Attracting diverse talent is important, but keeping them, and cultivating them, is what really matters. This represents another important distinction about Women of Collibra – the group was formed by members of different internal teams, and we’ve taken a bottom-up approach to develop the focus for the group. “One of Collibra’s core values is about taking ownership and getting things done. I believe that our ideas and actions will transform our company, and it is great to see such a diverse group willing to give their perspectives and contribute to creating a more inclusive environment,” said Laura Fontan, Technical Presales Team Lead in London, and a co-founder of Women of Collibra.
Collibra’s General Counsel, and my co-executive sponsor of Women of Collibra, Michelle Rosen, also shared her thoughts on the group’s origins and purpose: “I am particularly excited by the approach taken by Laura and the other leaders, because they have invested the time to survey and seek input from our female employees to understand what they would like to see from the group. Not only does that ensure that the group’s efforts are properly focused, but it shows how seriously we take the experience of our female employees. My hope for the Women of Collibra is that it provides the right mix of social support, motivation, and practical skills that not only positively impact the experience of women at Collibra, but that creates lasting effects for their careers.”
Currently, the group has plans to tackle critical topics, which include career planning, negotiation, mentorship, and awareness of unconscious bias. Events will take a variety of forms, including lunch and learn meetings, speaker sessions, and workshops.
We know that companies will be driven by emerging technologies and advances in innovation and human expertise. In order for us to build the next level of our platform, we need to tap into the full pool of talent across Collibra. Bias in the workplace creates bias in your business and your products. It is why we continue to support STEM-focused initiatives, specifically supporting the women in those science, technology, engineering, and math roles across the company. For example, several of our engineers will be attending graduate recruitment fairs and coding events in the coming year. “More and more women are entering STEM professions, where they have traditionally been under-represented,” says Elena Ignatova, Engineering Manager at Collibra in Belgium, and a co-founder of the Women of Collibra group. “It is great to meet other women in STEM roles, and to encourage the career development of younger women.”
Career paths, mentorship, and a flexible work culture are all significant drivers of inclusion and reasons why we started Women of Collibra. That flexible culture is another reminder that “Balanced for Better” doesn’t have to just be about a balanced workplace – it can also be about a balanced life. For my colleague Michelle, it’s a common question: “People often ask me about balance, particularly as a working mom. Much of what drives me, however, is the desire to be an example to them of someone who has both a challenging and rewarding career, and a loving and involved relationship with her children.”
For me, that balance takes form in a way I can only quote Serena Williams to explain: “It’s only crazy until you do it.” Every year I set a personal athletic goal that requires me to balance work, family, and friends with an outlet that brings me closer to an achievement. Last year, I summited Kilimanjaro, after spending countless weekends hiking up and around the Catskill Mountains of New York and working closely with a trainer during the week to build the strength necessary to climb the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. This year, I am finalizing approval to swim across the Bosporus, which is truly exciting because I will be crossing continents by water.
That’s how Collibra is taking #BalanceforBetter by storm.