As with many tech companies, the diversity and inclusion of Spark Hire’s team has ebbed and flowed, but a competency and core values-focused hiring process has steadily helped us improve our representation of many underrepresented groups. At the time of posting, half of Spark Hire’s leadership team is female. During Women’s History Month, we reached out to our own colleagues about their experiences and how to empower the women of our own workplace, as well as those of our customers.
As we seek to empower and embolden the next generation of women – who was the woman figure in your life that you’ve looked up to the most? What did they do daily that was inspiring?
My mom is one of the strongest women I know and I’ve looked up to her my whole life. While working as a veterinarian she was often running on very little sleep, yet she always made time to help me with school work and cheer me on at swim meets. She has a huge heart and a work ethic to match which has always inspired me. – Alexa Jackson
My grandmother is a source of inspiration to me. Born in 1912, she was the only female in her class to go to college. She went on to get her masters in nutrition and even served tea to Eleanor Roosevelt while leading her on a campus tour! And, she had 6 children! I can’t even begin to imagine the daily stressors that she felt being a working mom in the 40’s. Whenever I feel tired or incapable, I think about her strength. – Joanne Denenberg
The three women figures in my life that I look up to most are my mom and my grandmas. Being the oldest grandchild on both sides of the family, I always had a special bond with both of my grandmas. Alongside my mom, they taught me how to have compassion, respect, and how to work hard, all while ‘enjoying the ride’ and having a good time. My mom is a Speech Pathologist in an elementary school. She works her tail off advocating for her students and ensuring that each and every one feels supported, loved, and gains the confidence to be successful. – Rachel Truger
What is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
Seek out a female mentor at your company or within your industry who can provide you with insight and advice based on their experience. This will help you navigate your own career path and map out the steps you need to take to achieve your goals. – Jordyn Shelton
Did you know that women are less likely than men to apply for a job where they don’t meet all of the qualifications? My message is simple: apply for the job and the promotion. Make it known to anyone that will listen what it is you want to be doing. Ask yourself, “what is the worst thing that can happen?” At the very best, you’ll get the job or promotion. And, at the very worst, you’ll learn something and be better for it in the future. – Joanne Denenberg
In your opinion – how important is it to lift other women up & what does lifting up other women look like to you?
I can’t tell you how fortunate I feel to work for an organization where the core values are so closely aligned with my own. That being said, it is still vital that women in leadership – and in all positions – not forget the importance of lifting other women up within their own organizations, no matter how awesome of a company you work for.
Understanding that the pandemic has had a much bigger impact on women’s roles in the workplace – of the 140,000 jobs lost in December of 2020 EVERY.SINGLE.ONE. was held by a woman – I think the place to start is giving your female co-workers the time and flexibility necessary to reach some semblance of work/life balance.
Next, listen to your female colleagues and advocate for them during meetings – this might sometimes mean that you need to go out of your way to ensure that a coworker receives credit for an idea or project contribution that would otherwise be overlooked. No matter your seniority level, the most important thing you can do to empower other women is to root for them and encourage them to succeed. Women have so much harder of a time believing that they can (or should) go after what they want, especially in the workplace. Take it upon yourself to be the voice of positivity reminding your colleagues how amazing they are, how much they have already contributed, and how capable they are of surpassing even their own expectations, and then take the time to follow up and see how their efforts are progressing and if you can help. – Megan Zolnierowicz
It is extremely important to lift up other women. This of course means celebrating their work and contributions and advocating for them in the workspace. And, it also means normalizing the specific experiences that working women have. This became especially true to me when I became a mom. I so appreciated my female mentors preparing me for this new work-life integration I was set on achieving and I am very intentional in my conversations with moms whom I currently work alongside. Whether it’s providing flexibility, actively listening to their current stressors, or giving advice, I find it so important to support one another’s specific experiences and believe all members of our workspace are better for it. – Joanne Denenberg
Who’s a historic female figure whose story inspires you?
Golda Mier. I was compared to her many moons ago, and taking a look at her story made me realize just how incredible her accomplishments were. She was incredibly active in causes she was passionate about, led her country with tenacity, and still maintained the support and love of her spouse and children. – Hannah Goldenberg
Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was a champion for equality and believed that everyone is better when we’re treated equally. She overcame obstacles from a young age and I am impressed with her drive and integrity. – Joanne Denenberg