A Strong Start for Stanford Women in Technology

Women sitting at table and writing

“It’s in our institutional DNA to always be getting better, and this is one area where we have opportunities to improve and really up our game,” Stanford CIO Steve Gallagher said, as he addressed an expectant crowd.

Over 140 people — plus another 100 on Zoom — were gathered for the inaugural Stanford Women in Technology (Stanford WIT) meeting. Sponsored by the CIO Council, Stanford WIT is a new university-wide program aimed at advancing gender representation, engagement, and support for women in technology-related roles.

Gallagher’s opening remarks were met with nods as participants agreed that the program’s launch is not only timely in light of recent current events, but also critical to producing better outcomes in the IT community and at Stanford in general.

“I believe strongly that a diverse and inclusive environment is a better place to work and it results in better outcomes — and that’s the foundation for this initiative,” he said.

Keynote speaker Laura Patterson, retired CIO of the University of Michigan, echoed Gallagher’s statements.

“There is a body of research that supports that diverse groups make better decisions than homogenous groups, and that diverse groups can innovate faster,” she said. “The challenges before us require the best leaders possible and diverse groups are part of that solution. That’s why I applaud your efforts to get this program going. It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s part of the future of Stanford.”

Speakers share career journeys

Patterson went on to speak about her career journey in a talk entitled, “The Tale of an Accidental CIO,” where she imparted wisdom from her years of experience as an executive level IT professional. Her primary piece of advice was to “not leave your career to chance,” as  she encouraged the group to take ownership of their careers. Watch Laura’s talk here.

Stanford Graduate School of Business CIO and Stanford WIT co-sponsor Megan Clarke also shared her own career journey, in which she traversed through various roles at organizations like the Grammys and the Oscars before starting her current role in higher education. She offered the group several keys to success, citing things like integrity, authenticity, facing fears, and finding a tribe. Megan’s talk is available here.

The event wrapped up with time for networking and an opportunity for participants to share their ideas for future programming, topics, and how the Stanford WIT program might take shape.

“We very much believe that this is a community that all of us will make successful,” said Program Lead Dani Aivazian. “We look to your help to make it truly do what we need it to do.”

View event photos and watch the recording

If you missed the Sept. 27 event, view photos and check out the full recording here.

Attend the October meeting

The October Stanford WIT meeting will be from 10 - 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 23 in the MacKenzie room (Huang building). It will feature Dereca Blackmon, Director of Stanford's Diversity and First-Gen Office, and Ruth Marinshaw, Chief Technology Officer of Stanford Research Computing. Register to attend in person or via Zoom.

Learn more and get involved

To learn more about Stanford WIT, visit the Stanford WIT webpage. To get involved, sign up for the mailing list and/or submit questions and comments through this feedback form.

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