BeCOME ALLIES eBook

Gavriella Schuster Become Allies A framework for change
Gavriella Schuster Become Allies A framework for change

I am thrilled to share with you my new eBook – BeCOME ALLIES eBook: A framework for change.  It is hot off the digital press, and I would be honored if you would download and give it a read. This eBook guides readers through my framework for how to BeCOME an ally (a champion for women in the workplace) and the actions ALLIES take each day to make a difference.

I call on each person reading this eBook, regardless of gender, to BeCOME an agent of change—BeCOME an ally. I don’t expect you to do it without guidance. In my TEDx Talk, I outlined my framework for how to BeCOME an ally: Connect, Outreach, Mentor, and Empower. This framework addresses four fundamental methods to create a multiplier effect and get more women into tech. This eBook goes deeper into the framework and expands on the fourth method, Empower, with six additional actions you can take each day to help make our industry better, stronger, and more inclusive.

Actor Victor Webster said, “Everything we do, even the slightest thing we do, can have a ripple effect and repercussions that emanate. If you throw a pebble into the water on one side of the ocean, it can create a tidal wave on the other side.”

Consider the actions captured in this eBook your pebbles. Together, let’s throw them courageously and with purpose. Hopefully, on the other end, we’ll create a tidal wave of change.

Building for Inclusion | Actions for ALLIES

Having an ally in the room can make all of the difference. An ally helps you feel like you belong because they advocate and intentionally work to include you in the discussion.

I have been in high tech almost my whole career.  And many times, I have found myself to be the ONLY woman in the room — a lonely place to be. Have you ever had that experience, being THE ONLY one in a group of people? It’s painful. I’ve felt dismissed, disrespected or simply not heard – as if I were invisible. Now, I don’t believe any of the men in those meetings intentionally excluded me. But here’s something I’ve learned over the years: one single ally in the room can make all the difference in the world.

I’ve had the privilege to work with many men who have been my allies and have worked with courage and intention to advocate, include and sponsor me. As I have stepped into awareness the last few years, I have learned that when you work with intention to be an ally and empower other allies, you can create an inclusive environment where everyone in the room has a voice, is valued and can feel emboldened to speak up and share their authentic selves. To build inclusion through allyship takes focus, intention and acute awareness of the environment.

Becoming an ally is the first step in the journey.

Last fall I introduced the #BeCOME framework, which focused on what you can do to become an ally—and the actionable steps you can take to build healthier workplace cultures.

BeCOME:  Taking intentional action to Connect and network into the communities. Outreach is examining your recruiting and hiring practices. Mentorship is taking your relationship to another level. And Empowerment is about the inclusive environment you create when you are an ally. 

To learn more about how to BeCOME an ally and bring more women into your network, organization and leadership roles, take a look at my blog post, TED talk or website, dev.mieche.net/gavriella

Having an ally in the room can make all of the difference. An ally helps you feel like you belong because they advocate and intentionally work to include you in the discussion.

The next step on this journey requires us to dig into the actions of ALLIES more deeply. This is a double click on the role and the actions of allies in creating inclusive and empowering environments. To grow together, we need to share what it means to be an ally and the specific behaviors allies exhibit every single day.

It is my mission to bring more intentionality to allyship. Being an ally should be a conscious decision. I want us to get to a stage where allyship is so infiltrated into the technology industry—so normal—that there isn’t a need for us to have these conversations anymore. So, I am excited to share with you this second stage of my framework:

ALLIES.

Being an ally is not as hard as you think.  I developed this new framework that is simple and easy to remember. When you find yourself on a team or in a meeting and you realize that someone in that group could use an ally, I encourage you to consider taking any one of these six actions:

Allies, Advocate, Listen, Lift, Include, Elevate, Sponsor

Advocate | Put yourself in the shoes of the ones you want to ally with and consider what support they need “in the moment.”  Support the idea the person just shared. Amplify or expand upon what they said to encourage more conversation and inclusion.

Listen | Listen to what others have to say, regardless of their age, gender or race. Listen to learn. Be curious and ask questions. Too often we listen to respond.  Take the time to really understand someone else’s perspective.  

Lift | Lift up your colleagues to build their confidence. It is very easy in an environment where a woman is constantly dismissed or disrespected for her to lose confidence and stop speaking up. It is also easy to criticize and find fault with other people’s ideas. Allies work with intention to highlight the positives instead of the negatives. They recognize the value of everyone’s contributions and they build the confidence of others with their support.

Include | When you walk into a meeting, a team, or a group, seek out those who are not sharing their ideas and work with intention to include them in the conversation. Look around the room and encourage everyone to contribute.  When someone speaks up, demonstrate that their opinion matters.

Elevate | Elevate individuals by providing them opportunities to be more visible.  That can be as easy as amplifying their voice and making sure they receive credit for their ideas. Look for new projects or opportunities for the individual to demonstrate leadership and become more visible.

Sponsor | Be supportive of individuals even when they’re not in the room. Make sure they are considered for new roles, new projects or new opportunities they might not even be aware of. Seek opportunities for that individual to grow and take on more leadership.

As I developed the #ALLIES framework, I was reminded of the many examples of allyship I’ve witnessed throughout my career. Over the next few weeks I will share my stories, the perspectives of those who have been an ally to me, and examples of others who demonstrate these actions.

Take a listen to what Phil Sorgen, CRO for RingCentral, has to say about his experience as an Ally. And stay tuned for my next LinkedIn article to hear more incredible stories of ALLIES. 

Great ALLIES are Intentional

Allies

I want to introduce you to some of my confidants and colleagues – women who I have gotten to know over the last 30 years whose career progression has been nothing short of inspirational.  These are women who have had incredible careers and are very successful.  They are remarkable, smart, and motivated women.  They have also had the support of some very special ALLIES who have supported them through various moments of their lives. 

Each have rich stories, I am sure like many of you, of allyship.  In my upcoming series on ALLIES over the next several months, we will share these stories both from their perspective and the perspective of the male allies in their lives that have enabled them.  They align to each element of my framework, but more importantly their stories demonstrate the importance and power that allies have played on their own careers.  You can do this too!  You can #BeCOME and ally and build your ALLIES!

Having the support of ALLIES does not guarantee that your own career trajectory will accelerate at the same pace as these women, but it will empower you to find the courage and confidence within yourself to unlock your full potential.  You may be surprised at how far you will go when you believe in yourself and give yourself permission to go bigger and lead.

Here is quick view into the stories from the perspective of the women that were supported.  Tune in to get the 360 on these stories from the men who are their ALLIES.

Melissa Mulholland

Melissa Mulholland CEO, Crayon

ADVOCATE

 

“Having an ally has been instrumental in expediting my career over the last 10 years. When I changed roles to help CEOs develop their Cloud strategy, I struggled with “imposter syndrome.” I didn’t believe I deserved the opportunity to offer strategic guidance on improving their profitability in transitioning to cloud-based services. During this time, one of the CEOs I was advising pulled me aside and asked for me to stop putting myself down and instead accept that I wouldn’t be in the position I was if I hadn’t earned it. He supported me in meetings, amplified my ideas and even sponsored me for the role I am in today.  He pushed me to believe that I was talented and smart. Essentially this ally paved a path for me to simply believe in myself.”

Mitra Best

Mitra Best
Partner, PwC

LISTEN

“A male senior leader who listened to what I had to say and “saw” me and the value I could bring as a software engineer, advocated for me with our Board and sponsored me to become the first-ever partner at PwC in a purely technology role. This set a precedent in the firm’s partner admission process and helped me crack a glass ceiling at the same time.”

Dawn Marie Elder

Dawn-Marie Elder
GM, Sippio

LIFT

“When I was considering switching careers – leaving roles in large organizations to join a start-up – a long-term, male mentor of mine helped me to see beyond specific roles I had held and reminded me of the fundamental assets and capabilities I had gained from my collective experiences. He influenced the decision I made to invest in myself as a leader in a start-up by reminding me of my core, aggregate skills vs. how others might limit their view of me to a very specific role or function. These days, I wear a lot of hats and I love what I do more than any role I had in the past because I’m able to apply past to present every day with intention, this ally lifted my confidence and spirits in that crucial moment helping me to soar.”

Glynis Bryan

Glynis Bryan
CFO, Insight

INCLUDE

“For the last 12+ years I’ve worked with a leader who has ensured that I “owned” my seat at the table.  He included me in critial scenarios and has given me the opportunities to grow and expand my horizons. He has been a strong supporter both internally and externally and exhibited a high level of trust and confidence in me that I truly value.   We can accomplish so much on our own, and with a great ally in our corner, we can accomplish and  conquer even greater challenges and have some fun while doing it!.”

Lori Borg

Lori Borg
VP, Cognizant

ELEVATE

“When I was started my business in 2007, I was the CEO of Northwest Cadence. It was assumed that my husband, who also worked in the business ran the business. Yet I was the CEO. Year after year, meeting after meeting, he elevated me through every interaction. His allyship gave me the confidence and courage to embrace what I knew in my heart – that I was, indeed, the right woman for the job.”

Sarah Haggard

Sarah Haggard
CEO, Tribute

SPONSOR

“Most of Tribute’s investors are men. It wasn’t until a few notable men started advocating for me in rooms without me there, that we began to gain traction on our fundraising. I’m grateful for those men, but also encouraged to see more women entering the startup ecosystem, as founders and investors.”

These stories demonstrate that when you are an ally, your simple actions can change lives. When you believe in yourself, when you know you are not alone, you can move mountains. Stay tuned to hear the complete story from each of these inspirational women and their male allies, starting with Melissa Mulholland and Rune Syverson’s story next month.  Let’s start changing more lives.