Driving Female Leadership: A Collaboration with Stanford
VMware contributes $15 million to the Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab to focus on research on systemic biases in the workplace in the pursuit of advancing female leadership
At the 3rd annual Women Transforming Technology (WT2) Conference in Palo Alto, with the theme “Inclusion in Action,” VMware announced it is collaborating with Stanford University to create the VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab, in the pursuit of dramatically improving female leadership and the representation of women in positions of power and significance.
The VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab at Stanford University is a collaborative effort to advance female leadership, thus improving society overall. Research shows that teams with diversity are more innovative and creative, and perform better than homogeneous teams. According to McKinsey, companies with diversity on their executive teams are 21 percent more profitable than those who lack diversity.
As an innovative company that was one of the first companies to test new models and solutions with Stanford University, VMware has a longstanding commitment to purposely building an inclusive culture and growing female leadership. VMware is taking a leadership role in fostering change for the industry by contributing $15 million to the Lab.
Translating Research into Action
Women’s full participation in leadership is critical to innovation and to solving the most pressing social problems of our time. The Lab focuses on uncovering the barriers to women in leadership and actively testing research-based solutions, in order to change the trajectory of the number of women in leadership positions. The Lab includes an industry affiliates program with over 40 leading companies engaging in translating research into action.
Examples of future focus areas for the Lab include diagnosing the specific mechanisms of bias for women of color and designing solutions; studying how social networks intersect with bias in women’s access to critical assignments; and embarking on a longitudinal study of career pathways in engineering careers and leadership. The research also includes a long-term focus on educational research with high school girls across backgrounds in order to provide them with tools to increase leadership identity and resilience, and follow their career trajectory in longitudinal analysis.
“Through expanding the relationship with Stanford and creating the Lab, VMware is reinforcing its commitment to elevating gender equality as a business imperative, to accelerate women’s leadership in industry, and to create evidence-based solutions for women of all backgrounds,” said Betsy Sutter, Chief People Officer, VMware. “VMware looks forward to collaborating with Stanford, and accelerating knowledge sharing between industry and academia in the pursuit of advancing women into leadership.”
“I am most grateful for VMware’s gift to create the Lab, which will work to advance women’s leadership and maximize talent in technology and beyond,” said Shelley Correll, Stanford University Professor of Sociology and Director of the Lab.
Extending Progress from the Seeds of Change Program
VMware’s $15 million investment in the Lab will accelerate and scale the Seeds of Change program and create additional opportunities to bridge the gap between academia and industry around women in leadership. In 2016, VMware invested $1.5 million in the Seeds of Change program to provide high school girls across different backgrounds with the leadership frameworks, skills, and tools they need to persist and become change agents.
 According to the January 2018 McKinsey Delivering Through Diversity report
The investment is being donated through a donor-advised fund.