WITI NJ Celebrates One Year!

Kalyani Tholeti

November 08, 2020

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It isn't easy to tackle an issue like "women and leadership," where the problems seem intractable and the discussions are often fraught. Although women have made many gains over the years, they remain underrepresented at the top levels of institutions around the globe. In corporate America, for example, women hold only about 15% of C-suite jobs and 17% of board seats.

Sheryl Sandberg, the Facebook executive featured in an HBR interview, has famously argued that women must learn to "lean in"—to develop behaviors that will help them move up the ladder. Anne-Marie Slaughter, of Princeton, ignited widespread debate by contending that women can't make significant progress without fundamental changes to the structure of organizations and society. Closing the leadership gap is a formidable challenge, but there's no excuse for accepting the status quo.

While some organizations invest time and money to train and coach women, traditional high-potential, mentoring, and leadership education programs are necessary (though insufficient.). Becoming a leader involves much more than being put in a leadership role, acquiring new skills, and adapting one's style to the requirements of that role.

It's not enough to identify and instill the "right" skills and competencies as if in a social vacuum. The context must support a woman's motivation to lead and also increase the likelihood that others will recognize and encourage her efforts -- even when she doesn't look or behave like the current generation of senior executives. A safe space for learning, experimentation, and community is critical in leadership development programs for women.

With this idea, WITI NJ began one year ago: a group with similar thinking, supporting and encouraging each other -- a place where women can learn and thrive. Started with five people at the first event in Princeton, NJ, it became part of a global WITI network, now virtually reaching many more.

WITI NJ has organized many programs so far:
-Financial literacy
-Career planning
-Yoga and Mental well-being.
-Public speaking and Confidence building
-Mentoring and Coaching.

We would like to thank our speakers:
@Nicole Drasin, @Marianna Kind, @Hima Pavuluri, @Kalpana Patel, @Nila Satpute,@ Eileen Galwey, @ Kathryn Lancioni, @JanetParnes, @Rockford Lhotka, @AshwinChaudary.

And we thank all our members for their continued support.

Kalyani Tholeti,
WITI NJ Director.

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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Founded in 1989, WITI (Women in Technology International) is committed to empowering innovators, inspiring future generations and building inclusive cultures, worldwide. WITI is redefining the way women and men collaborate to drive innovation and business growth and is helping corporate partners create and foster gender inclusive cultures. A leading authority of women in technology and business, WITI has been advocating and recognizing women's contributions in the industry for more than 30 years.

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