Over forty women (and one brave man) recently attended an interactive session on “Maximizing Internal Women’s Groups” at host company NETSCOUT. The goal of the discussion was to share best practices for launching, developing, and engaging women throughout the company. Guided by facilitator Kim Meninger, Executive Coach and Founder of Executive Career Success, panelists Lynn Gray, Human Resources Director at Everbridge and Barrett Sellers, NETSCOUT’s Sales & Channel Enablement Manager and co-founder of Women on Their Way, NETSCOUT’s women’s resource group, led an energetic and open discussion.
Among the common concerns that attendees are trying to address through their company’s women’s group are:
- Creating female role models in senior level positions
- Developing a talent pool of senior women who can step into executive roles
- Providing professional development and visibility opportunities to women (e.g., speaking opportunities)
- Providing mentoring for women at all levels
- Engaging men as allies
Attendees whose companies have more established women’s groups shared advice on starting groups, keeping them energized and relevant, and making them strategically valuable to the business and its leadership. It was noted that often women’s groups start off as social organizations and so are not perceived as strategically important to the company. One way to establish the importance of such groups is to show the positive correlation between successful companies and inclusive leadership. Another way is to emphasize the importance of women’s programs for employee engagement and for talent acquisition. Treating a woman’s group as a strategic part of the business by building a business case with negotiated goals and KPIs is an approach that NETSCOUT uses.
The group expressed interest in continuing the conversation through a Slack channel and meetings 4-5 times per year. Various topics, including how to deal with cultural barriers when rolling out a program across international offices and how to deal with tactical issues when executives are in one location but workers are in multiple ones.
Christine Nolan, MassTLC Sr. Director of Communities, agreed to create and share a Slack channel and to schedule follow up meetings. Christine can be contacted at email@example.com.