Pioneering African American Women in Tech

As part of Black History Month, we want to highlight some of the pioneering women in tech who made history with their achievements.

Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden were four pioneering black women who achieved the seemingly impossible through their vision, actions and hard work. They worked in the segregated town of Hampton, Virginia to help offload the massive amounts of aeronautical research needed to win the war. As Americans fought for victory in World War II, and the Space Race, these brilliant mathematicians worked quietly behind the scenes as “human computers.” Recruited by NASA and featured in the award-winning film; Hidden Figures, they also helped put a man on the moon.

In 2017 we had the honor of hosting one of these brave women, Christine Mann Darden D. Sc., as a speaker on our DWN Leader Series. She shared her wisdom and insights with us, including some practical tips for success.

Christine Darden’s 5 P’s for success:

  1. Perceive yourself in your dream job.
  2. Plan: What courses and background do you need to achieve it?
  3. Prepare: Work your plan.
  4. Persist through all the detours.
  5. Project: Is it a job that is growing or dying? Is this
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What Serena Williams’ seed in Wimbledon shows us

One of many worries during a woman’s life is finding the right time to start a family. Recently, I was discussing this topic with friends from previous athletic teams, and we found that most of our teammates who decided to resume their careers after having a baby were at the peak performance of their careers with more than five years still to play the sport on a high level. Most of the athletes who continued their careers after delivering a child, were playing on elite leagues that provided an income that they could comfortably live with.

Serena Williams’ case is an example of the obstacles women face once they decide to start a family. Who would have thought that the highest paid tennis athlete was not going to be forgiven by the system? In 2018, the seven-time champion was “given” the 25th seed at Wimbledon after a 13- month maternity leave. While out on maternity, her ranking plunged from #1 to outside of the top 400, despite winning the Australian open in 2017 while being two months pregnant.

While each of the Grand Slam events has the prerogative to award its 32 seeds regardless of ranking to ensure a … Read more and comment

7 Tips for an improved new year outlook

As each year ends, we reflect and make inventory of our experiences and learnings during the year. This time is a great opportunity to adjust courses and commit to improve different areas of our lives. The following tips can be useful on that endeavor.

1. Take time to reflect and know yourself 
Reflect and revisit how you act and learn about your predispositions.

2. Set aside time for relaxation 
Separate time to rest and contemplate nature.

3. Perform activities that you enjoy 
Spend time with your family, exercise, go to art festivals or sports events.

4. Seek for opportunities to learn in your areas of interest 
Read an interesting book, go to trainings or workshops, take a class, pursue a certification.

5. Take advantage of networking events 
Listen to others and share your experiences. Stay connected.

6. Contribute in your community and workplace 
Volunteer in your community, be part of corporate initiatives, join a collective group and collaborate.

7. Be present 
Take in as much as you can from every experience.

Here at the DISH Women’s Network, we strive to provide opportunities to inspire and help people connect through our networking events such as the First Friday Coffee. We also … Read more and comment

I “just” want to let you know…

By: Kathryn Rainville

“Just.” A small, but powerful word. One that we use far more frequently than we probably realize. ~Just~ today, I noticed myself typing it several times; I used it in an almost apologetic way regarding small favors or follow-ups. Each time I typed it, I thought about what it really meant for my reputation. I thought about how it lowered the power of what I wanted to convey and showed a meekness that I don’t normally display in advocating for myself. It wasn’t until this article resurfaced that I realized all of this.

A few years ago, I stumbled across an article that an Apple and Google alum wrote. She brought up this phenomenon of the word “just.” In her observations, women use the word more frequently than men, and describes it as a “permission word,” something that grants the person you’re addressing “more authority and control” (Leanse). In her own “research,” she observed that women’s “J-count,” as she refers to it, was substantially higher than men’s. She recounts a story of a man and a woman giving speeches, and the woman used “just” six times to the man’s one time. Ultimately, this got me thinking about … Read more and comment

Barbies in STEM? Female Filmmakers? Major changes at major institutions

By: Kathryn Rainville

This year has marked the advent of a new generation of women speaking up and stepping out. Two major players in the way of female influence from a young age (Mattel and Disney) are making strides to empower women.

First up: Mattel. What was your favorite Barbie doll when you were young? Did you ever think about her career, and did you ever envy it? I certainly thought about it, but I can’t say that I ever understood what, exactly, my Barbie did other than wear pretty clothes and go to the beach in her Jeep. However, this year, Mattel released a Robotics Engineer of their world-famous doll, one that they hope will promote young girls to explore STEM. Although the original Barbie isn’t going away, Mattel views the release of this Barbie as “…a powerful opportunity for kids across the globe” to become more exposed to the STEM fields and still play with a Barbie (McCowan). In fact, they have leveraged an online platform in conjunction with each sale of a Robotics Engineer Barbie to give girls the opportunity “…to learn basic programming concepts at a young age” through their partnership with Tynker (McCowan). Mattel has Read more and comment

Women in the Workplace 2018 Report at a Glance

Gender diversity improvement and female advancement in leadership are the core initiatives of LeanIn.Org. Along with McKinsey & Company, they have published this report annually since 2015 to give companies and employees the information they need to advance women into leadership positions and improve gender diversity within their organizations. For the past 4 years companies have reported that they are highly committed to gender diversity, but that commitment has not translated into meaningful progress.

Women in the Workplace 2018 is the largest comprehensive study of the state of women in corporate America. This year, 279 companies completed a survey of their HR practices and shared data regarding their pipeline. Also, more than 64,000 employees were surveyed on their workplace experiences. For additional insights, women of different races and ethnicities were interviewed as well as LGBTQ women. “This year’s findings make it clearer than ever that companies need to double down on their efforts. As progress seems to be stalled to achieve equality, companies must turn good intentions into concrete action”.


“Experts agree that articulating a business case, setting goals and transparently reporting on progress, and rewarding success are key to driving organizational change”. When it comes to gender diversity, … Read more and comment

Tips for Being a Woman in the Workplace, as told by RBG

By: Kathryn Rainville

Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Notorious RBG. Brooklyn girl. Supreme Court Justice.

Throughout her career, Ginsberg has demonstrated several key lessons that women should consider in their own careers. In fact, in the two articles that this post is based on, several of the rules overlapped. Below are my favorites, with a little explanation of why.

  1. “One foot in front of the other”/”Take a deep breath”

Often, we become preoccupied with success, advancement, etc. While these things are important, they can be wearing. One author reminds us: “Don’t let temper confuse your goals.” Ruth Bader Ginsberg showed us that you must find your own way in and being deliberate in your actions will chip away at injustices one step, one breath, one act at a time. After all, she didn’t become one of the most prolific champions of women’s rights and gender equality overnight. Instead, she “[chipped] slowly at the big mountain of making women equal in the eyes of the law” with each strategic choice she made for the cases she took.

  1. “Find your own way in”/”Do not reward bad behavior”

If it was as simple as following the pre-constructed directions, there would likely be a lot more … Read more and comment

The Weinstein Clause

By: Kathryn Rainville

Since the dawn of the “#MeToo” movement last year, several institutions have launched investigations, further investigated equality, and promoted the need to bring social injustices in the workplace to light. Wall Street is the latest to join the movement and make a statement.

In a recent article from Fortune, it appears that Wall Street mergers will now include what is being called “the Weinstein Clause.” According to Gregory Bedrosian, chief executive officer of the investment bank Drake Star Partners, “social due diligence is becoming more and more important, and particularly for founder-centric businesses, money is being put aside to address #MeToo issues.” Therefore, the clause will require the company to “…legally vouch for the positive behavior of a company’s leadership.” In fact, the clause will go in so far as to make the sellers “…state that nobody has accused any member of their management or leadership of sexual misconduct.”

This stipulation comes as “more than 400 high-profile executives and employees” have been taken down by the #MeToo movement. At this point, there is no excuse for companies to not be held more responsible. This is Wall Street’s attempt to affect change on a corporate level, as well … Read more and comment

6 Key Traits Women in STEM Possess

By: Kathryn Rainville

What happens once women are in the workplace? Harvard Business Review recently published 6 key tenants that successful women in STEM have in common. They are:

  1. Telegraph confidence

A recent study cited in the article states “…that fewer than 2 in 10 women in STEM who have not achieved success report being extremely confident in their abilities,” even if they are perfectly capable and excel in their field. This confidence is everything for women in STEM, and of those who have achieved success, “…39% report such confidence” (Sherbin)

2.  Claim credit for your ideas

We hear it all the time, but based on a study cited in this article, “…82% of women in STEM say their contributions are ignored” (Sherbin). However, women who are successful in STEM boast a 14% higher likelihood of speaking up upon being overlooked. Dr. Velma Deleveaux shares her method of reclaiming her own ideas, in which she confronts the person who attempts to claim her idea and says “I’m so glad you agree with the idea I introduced earlier. Let me share some additional thoughts.” It’s important to stand up for yourself and your ideas, and this is one easy way to … Read more and comment

The Summer of the Female C-Suite

It may be too soon to declare this, but this seems to be the summer of female CEOs and C-Suite appointments.

Between Heineken appointing a woman as the CEO of the USA division, and GM appointing another woman to the C-Suite (as the CFO), we are seeing a few more cracks in the glass ceiling.

Heineken’s appointment of Maggie Timoney marks “…the first woman to lead a major U.S. beer supplier” (Schultz). Timoney has an impressive resume with the company, and arguably a better reputation. After spending the previous five years as CEO in Ireland, she has been regarded by her colleagues as “…a competitive and energetic leader who is known for inspiring teams, operationalizing plans and mobilizing organizations to deliver business results” (Schultz). In an industry that has remained male-dominated, and smaller breweries (even those that become major) are passed down through generations, Timoney’s appointment demonstrates the rise of women in the industry, and the relevance of female leaders in the alcohol industry.

Mentorships, allies, and women supporting each other all stick out in the story of Dhivya Suryadevara’s ascention to GM’s CFO position. Mary Barra (GM’s CEO) “…selected another high-achieving woman to join her in the executive suite” … Read more and comment