Last night I had the honor of representing SAP as one of three finalists for the Anita Borg Institute Top Company for Technical Women Award. I was delighted and proud to stand alongside Intuit and the 2012 Award Winner, American Express, as a leader in leveraging diversity for greater innovation. The Anita Borg Institute’s second annual workshop and awards banquet was held yesterday at the Santa Clara Convention Center.
Our placement amongst the finalists is a reflection of the work that has been spearheaded by the SAP team in Palo Alto. We have an amazing group of engaged women and men who are driving innovative initiatives such as a mentoring program targeting women in the leadership pipeline, the Women’s Stories project in partnership with Anita Borg Institute Research, and the cultivation of our local women’s network. These efforts have resulted in an increase in the representation rates of technical women in our Palo Alto office.
Throughout the day yesterday, Barbara Holzapfel, senior vice president and managing director for SAP Labs North America, Anne Hardy, vice president of Developer Experience, and I participated in various panel discussions. We were given the opportunity to share SAP’s journey to increase the representation of women throughout our leadership ranks, our commitment to increasing and expanding the career path for technical women at all levels, and our belief in diversity as a unique business differentiator. As the only panelists working for a non-U.S.-based company, I think we brought an international dimension to the workshop and triggered new reflections for many participants.
The Anita Borg Institute does tremendous work to increase the visibility and impact of women in all aspects of technology – in business, academia, government and society at large. Yesterday’s conference provided an unparalleled forum to share ideas and learn from our peers. In particular, the Women of Vision banquet provided an opportunity to network with other technical women working within business, public sector and academia. The Women of Vision recipients represented three incredible women who are changing the face of technology by increasing the inclusive and collaborative nature of technological work to drive new and exciting innovations.
The many panelists and keynote speeches throughout the day truly inspired me. It is always reassuring to be reminded that SAP is not alone in our quest to push for greater inclusion of diverse and creative ideas, to extend the reach of our diversity programs, and to increase the interest of young girls and women in math and science education.
All in all, I was proud to represent the women and men of SAP, and the spirit of innovation they bring to work every day to help the world run better.
Phyllis Stewart Pires is vice president and global head of Diversity at SAP.