At Qualcomm, we honor, support, and celebrate women year round: We provide and participate in myriad initiatives aimed at empowering women of all ages, both inside and outside our company. Just within the last month, using International Women’s Day (IWD) as the inspiration, we hosted a number of motivational and affirmative events celebrating women.
At the beginning of February, we kicked things off with a moving talk by Dr. Vivienne Ming, titled “A Post Gender Tech Company: Is It Possible?” During her presentation Dr. Ming explored the cost of unrealized human potential, and how that cost can be reduced to zero. Her background as a theoretical neuroscientist, the fact that she has spent part of her career as a man and the rest as a woman, and her experience as a technology entrepreneur, a mom, a visiting scholar, a board member, and an industry advisor, gives Dr. Ming a unique perspective on gender issues in the technology industry. Her talk inspired us to imagine what our company—and the entire technology sector—could look like if we eradicated even the most subtle unconscious gender bias.
So inspirational—what a great kickoff! Definitely ready to use what I learned to push, plus, and promote. I already debriefed my husband (even though he doesn't work for QC) so he could start using it for his workplace as well.
In mid-February, we hosted an Athena San Diego panel called “Men Who Champion Women” which was moderated by Will Marre. The discussion highlighted how important it is for men to provide support, encouragement, and mentorship to their female colleagues, and offered examples of easy ways for men to engage.
The speakers gave us tangible takeaways and ideas on how to further our efforts here at QC to move the needle for diversity.
On a side note, we expanded our support to Athena San Diego this year with more member employees and scholarship support, as we believe that Athena plays a key role in enabling Qualcomm women to build their careers and extend their networks beyond the company and into the San Diego community.
Because we care very much about our employees’ health and well-being, we held a Yoga and Health & Wellness Fair on March 8th. Attendees learned about making healthy choices and enjoyed a yoga and meditation session.
Dr. Telle Whitney, CEO and President of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, joined us on March 15th to commemorate the second anniversary of Qualcomm Females Influencing Information Technology (QFINITY) employee network. During her keynote, she talked about why women belong at the table creating technology. She also shared her advice and personal stories about “going for what you want,” “asking for what you want,” and “engaging with who you want.” One of the best quotes Telle shared was “It isn’t who you know, or what you know, but who knows what you know.” This event was also a great opportunity to present 17 local high school women and one educator with NCWIT (National Center for Women and Information Technology) Aspirations awards for their achievements in technology.
As a way to conclude our IWD 2016 festivities, Padma Lakshmi, host of the Emmy Award–winning Bravo series “Top Chef” and author of “Love, Loss, and What We Ate,” joined us to share her journey from a humble kitchen, ruled by ferocious and unforgettable women, to the judges' table of “Top Chef” and beyond. She highlighted the fierce devotion of the remarkable people who shaped her along the way, from her headstrong mother who flouted conservative Indian convention to make a life in New York, to her Brahmin grandfather—a brilliant engineer with an irrepressible sweet tooth—to the man seemingly wrong for her in every way who proved to be her truest ally.
Despite fame and fortune, Padma Lakshmi won hearts through her genuineness. Fantastic event from start to finish!
I am so proud to be part of Qualcomm and its commitment to empowering women to grow, develop and succeed. I am also very appreciative of all the hard work that our employees put into all of our women-focused initiatives.
Our efforts to celebrate and empower women will continue throughout the year and around the globe. Stay tuned for future updates and learn more about other women-focused initiatives in the current Qualcomm Sustainability Report, as well as in these stories:
- Inspiring college women engaged in engineering degrees
- Qcamp sprouts future female engineers
- Getting more women in STEM fields starts with enabling girls to get interested in STEM
- Honoring the female perspective on Women’s Entrepreneurship Day
- Grace Hopper conference celebrates women in computing
- Plus: Looking for opportunities to “plus” women and elevate their voice. For example, if you are in a meeting and one of your female colleagues makes a suggestion or offers an insight, you seize on her suggestion/insight and “plus” it by recognizing her contribution and building on it.
- Push: Women pushing themselves and each other to “sell” their good ideas, assert their points of view, say what they think, take an unpopular position, and ask for that promotion.
- Promote: Promoting the careers and achievements of women in our company and our industry, and finding more ways to spotlight their stories as a way of engaging more girls and women to pursue STEM-related education and careers.