Concur, alongside SAP, is committed to achieving gender balance in leadership across our organization. Today, 37 percent of leadership positions are held by women at Concur—a milestone we recently reached. We are helping SAP achieve its goal of exceeding 25 percent women in leadership by the end of 2017. This puts us near the leading edge of technology companies, where women typically are underrepresented in every level of leadership.
But, there is much more work to be done. A recent survey found that 25 percent of Americans believe time travel is more realistic than women leading half of the Fortune 500 companies. (Today, only 6.4 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are women). Globally, 50 percent of companies have no senior women executives, and women still make only 80 cents on the dollar compared to men.
How will we continue our momentum? With intention. At Concur, we talk about diversity and inclusion with leaders, both men and women. We hold ourselves accountable to the goals we set as an organization, working to actively improve representation at every level, across our entire business. We conduct diversity training to elevate awareness and spark action.
Another important strategy is diversifying our talent pipeline by engaging with young women early on, during our summer internship program. Each year, we recruit, develop and inspire the next generation of women leaders at Concur, and within the technology industry, through this program.
Just last month, 75 Bellevue-based women interns and senior leaders gathered for the fourth annual Women in Leadership Dinner, held by SAP iXp. The event began as a way to foster community among women at Concur, and has since become an anticipated summer staple for interns and leaders alike.
I am constantly inspired by the women at Concur, and this event was no exception. Four fantastic leaders from across the business shared insights, advice and personal stories in a panel discussion led by my co-host for the evening, vice president of Customer Experience Tabitha Dunn. Following dinner and guided table discussions, our Diversity and Inclusion leader, Charlotte Flanagan, shared an impassioned message about the importance of focusing not only on inclusion, but also on gender intelligence, and recognizing the unique values that diverse employees bring to their organizations.
The interns who attended were inspiring in their own right, representing nearly every department at Concur. They brought thoughtful questions and curiosity to their conversations with the leaders in the room.
“I’m proud to work for a company that recognizes diversity, and also recognizes there is still more progress to be made,” said Emily Lindner, an intern on the Distribution Enablement team, after the event. “You could feel the solidarity in the room. It was cool to see parts of myself in these inspiring female role models.”
“I took away that we all need to be our true, authentic selves at work,” said Global Product Marketing intern Nahid Arif. “When you're true to yourself, that's when the best work comes out.”
“This event helped us celebrate the women that surround us, and empowered the women in the room to be leaders and role models,” said Amber Caudle, a field marketing intern. “It’s not something you see often.”
When women come together to support each other, amazing things happen. We need to be intentional about creating these opportunities—like our women in leadership dinner—that bring women together to learn, connect and inspire. During the event, I shared the important lesson I learned from my late mother, an accomplished physician and a role model to many. She realized later in her career that she had to actively promote the work of women around her to see real progress towards gender diversity and equality in the medical field. This shift inspired and informed my own leadership philosophy. As a woman, and a leader, I have a responsibility to support and grow a community of women who will, in turn, support and grow other women as they progress in their careers.
Across the tech industry, and across all businesses, women need to come together to build each other up and support rising talent. It’s something I’m so proud to be a part of at Concur. I can’t wait to see what our female leaders accomplish in the future.