As likely the largest concentration of female agilists within one company, we are proud to announce our support of and participation in the Women in Agile (WIA) movement. We’re officially partnering with Women in Agile, Inc. to support their presence at more events and creating an Agile Amped podcast series focused on women in the workplace.
This month, Accenture | SolutionsIQ met for our annual employee gathering near Atlanta, Georgia, where we held our company’s first official WIA session. The event was limited to 40 attendees and was instantly booked full.
In addition to networking, promoting, and supporting the work of outstanding women in the Agile community, WIA has an initiative called Launching New Voices to lower the barrier of entry so more women who wish to speak at Agile and related business conferences have the opportunity and support to do so. Through this initiative, more experienced conference speakers will be able to mentor new female speakers in a supportive environment where they can feel comfortable sharing their message and “getting our feet wet,” so to speak. Although the majority of the chairs were filled by women, the WIA movement is inclusive and we invite men to join as supporters and a few such advocates were in attendance, including Accenture | SolutionsIQ leader John Rudd.
In our first internal WIA session, we had four lightning talks, which I highlight below. All of us in attendance focused on sharing our “glow” – our positivity and capability – and accepting that of those around us.
Personal Branding to Grow Your Career by Hanna Gnann
I was fortunate enough to be one of the four lightning talks, so I shared my passion and experience with marketing with the group. I offered a 9-step guide to building a personal brand to showcase your expertise and to attract new opportunities at work. Whether you’re currently working for a company, or you’re looking for a new job, or you want to go out on your own and have your voice heard more, you need a personal brand in order to stand out, particularly in social media. My nine steps, inspired by such influencers as… , are:
- Establish expertise
- Know your audience
- Create your brand image
- Write a tagline for your personal brand
- Own, don’t rent, your content
- Get out there!
- Be social on social media
- Create an email list using an app like MailChimp
- Ask for the sale
The Comma in My Resume by Delisa Brownley
Delisa gave a powerful account of her 23-year career in the military, where she assumed she would rise through the ranks and eventually retire. Instead, after amassing multiple degrees (including a doctorate), she discovered that her government position didn’t exist. With a family to feed, she needed to find employment quickly. She had to think outside the box and, with a little serendipity, she discovered that all her years of experience as a war planner and logistics expert with an annually diminishing budget, she was unwittingly practicing Lean waste management. After she demonstrated her knowledge and capability to a recruiter, she learned that she had a career in Agile as a ScrumMaster. Now she’s an Agile coach who rallies for businesses to find constructive ways to help veterans like herself transition into a private-sector job with a Lean-Agile focus.
Women’s Strengths in the Technology World by Monica Yap
Monica Yap has perhaps the longest tenure here at Accenture | SolutionsIQ, as one of the first Agile coaches. She was certainly the first female Agile coach on our staff. Monica shared about the struggle that some introverts feel in a professional environment – the desire to be louder and more aggressive in order to get results. But years later she realized that there is a quiet strength and confidence in introversion, which everyone loses when introverts attempt to stand out among extroverts. Everyone has their own strengths and you don’t have to try to change them in order to be successful. Monica gave fantastic examples of her techniques as a typically introvertive coach, such as:
- Inviting more interaction
- Asking powerful questions
Pearls of Wisdom, the Art of Being Resilient by Angela Erswell
Angela delivered a touching and powerful talk about her life, her path to becoming an Agile coach, and her determination to choose life after the worst imaginable adversity. She left us with 5 tips for choosing life and overcoming hardship:
- Stand straight
- Take care of yourself
- Seek professional help
- Live life with gratitude
- Build and maintain your support network
Following the talks, we got to know each other a bit better, shared mimosas and tips such as best books to read and ways to manage stress. And – to drive it all home – our own Agile coach Terry Mason guided us through a meditation that left each of us feeling grateful and energized the day – if not the year! – ahead.
As a follow-up, we created a #WomenInAgile Slack channel which has already been incredibly active and supportive. We encourage you to find or found a Women in Agile group wherever you are, attend a WIA event, and let’s spread the intentional giving of the glow! And don’t forget to check out our Women in Agile content!