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Building a Network of Mentors for Women at SAP Silicon Valley

Blog | September 10, 2015 by Kellie Drenner

Diversity in Silicon Valley remains a crucial conversation. We continue to read news articles about the lack of women in technology roles, on corporate boards, and the inequality in compensation. At SAP, we work to change the status quo in multiple ways.

We engage in a concerted effort with other companies, in our own hiring and development programs, and also building a community of mentors and supporters for women. The last area is where the Business Women’s Network at SAP makes an impact.

As an external relations manager at SAP Silicon Valley, I work with community partners and government representatives to raise awareness of SAP, as well as provide employees opportunities to contribute to the dialogue on community topics.  My work aligns well with the goals of Business Women’s Network and it was a natural fit for me to join and eventually lead the organization. I enjoy working with my colleagues to create an inclusive place where women can network, learn, and find inspiration.

It’s important for women at SAP to engage with each other, with business leaders, elected officials, and thought leaders to make sure that our voice is at the table and that we, as women, are continuing the conversation on these issues in meaningful and compelling ways.

This year alone we have had several events and engagements that have accomplished just that. The Business Women’s Network organizes quarterly mixers to each of the Silicon Valley campuses, where women have a chance to meet new colleagues, engage with leaders, and connect on a topic. In collaboration with community partners, we also organize marquee events for members.

KQED.pngIn February, we joined forces with KQED to bring their Makers: Women Who Make America – Women in Business series to our Palo Alto campus. With over 100 women and business leaders in attendance, the panel of experts, including SAP’s Chief Learning Officer Jenny Dearborn, discussed themes from the film and how they connect with our professional lives today.

We also partnered with the women’s organization Watermark for a workshop with TED speaker and bestselling author Liz Wiseman, who inspired us with her insights on succeeding with a rookie mindset.

In collaboration with the Churchill Club, we organized a technology executive panel, where Silicon Valley leaders including Tanja Rueckert from SAP shared their insights and experiences working in tech and addressed why women should choose a career in this field.  At the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Women and Leadership Luncheon, Jenny Dearborn focused in her keynote on wage gap inequality, how to approach career progression, and how we can support each other to reach our goals. With more than 400 SAP Silicon Valley Business Women’s Network members and business and community leaders in attendance, SAP Silicon Valley continues to help drive the conversation on women leadership in the area.

We also launched an initiative this year to share stories of women at many different stages of their career. In a series of blogs, women from different professional backgrounds at SAP have shared their experiences. The series includes stories from SAP sales academy graduate Maya Shovestull, Ursula Ringham in digital marketing, design leaders Janaki Kumar and Siva Sabaretnam, and many others.

Read blogs from the series and more about women at SAP here.

This story originally appeared on SAP Community Network.

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