Perhaps no other place in the world is more identified with change and disruption than Silicon Valley. Change is central to the high technology, entrepreneurial culture that has fostered so much innovation in our lives, our work, and our communities. That same forward-looking, driving spirit was evident everywhere Tuesday, February 23, 2016, when VMware hosted the first Women Transforming Technology (WT²) Conference on its campus in Palo Alto. Co-sponsored by a coalition of the tech industry’s leading companies, Women Who Code, and Stanford University’s Clayman Institute for Gender Studies, WT² brought together hundreds of women from over 100 companies in a landmark gathering to discuss the past, present, and future of women in the tech industry.
The theme of transformation was present everywhere, from Arianna Huffington’s inspiring keynote on thriving in our personal and professional lives and Mary Lou Jepsen’s personal journey of transforming technology, to the workshops focused on developing leadership, tactics, and strategies for driving real organizational change that would not just transform the culture of the technology industry, but influence the purpose and goals of the technology itself.
WT² represents the growing recognition that the key to transforming the culture and community of the tech industry is less a matter of breaking through multiple glass ceilings, and more about using technology to transform the way the world is now: to make it more sustainable, more inclusive, and more personally healthful, creative, and productive.
A Perfect Fit with VMware’s Core Values
It is easy to see how these goals reflect core values of VMware as a company. From the very beginning, VMware has been on a mission to disrupt IT with its virtualization technology. In the same way, VMware people have always looked for disruptive ways to address the company culture and supporting employee programs. The strategic approach to these issues is also the same: VMware people come together to address these issues as a community first.
Initiatives such as VMwomen, VMware’s business-led initiative focused on female talent, attest to the success of this community-driven approach. With a focus on business leaders and managers, VMwomen relentlessly and continuously addresses gender issues through the business cycle of recruiting, hiring, developing, and promoting talent.
This community-driven approach is also the inspiration for VMware founding and hosting the first WT² Conference. It is a recognition that gender issues in the tech industry cannot be solved by one company acting alone. The same challenges in hiring and promotion confront women across the entire tech industry. And it is only by working together as an industry-wide community that systemic cultural change can be achieved for all women in every company.
Women in Tech Unite
This positive message of empowerment via community resonated throughout the WT² Conference. And, as the first WT² Conference attests, across Silicon Valley and the tech industry the signs are clear that, as Bob Dylan sang so long ago, “the times they are a-changin’.”
Organizations such as Women Who Code are inspiring women to excel in technology careers. At every level of schooling and education, outreach programs are instilling a love of engineering in more and more girls. Formally and informally, women in tech are coming together, and uniting, as the Women Who Code website so proudly proclaims, “under the simple notion that the world of technology is much better with women in it.”
VMware knows this to be true. And it’s why the company is so proud to have hosted the first Women Transforming Technology Conference in the history of Silicon Valley. VMware looks forward to continuing to partner with others in the industry to inspire and support the community of women in technology.