The world is a heavy place right now. It’s impossible to look away from the escalating crisis in Ukraine, as we grapple with ways to assist from near and far. With one of Chronosphere’s three hubs located in the neighboring Republic of Lithuania, and because some of our team members are Ukrainian, we stand especially strong with the people of Ukraine. Chronosphere is rallying as a company to offer support in whatever way we can, ranging from organizing company-matched donations (raising more than $18K between our ~140 employees and company match) to listening to advice from Ukrainian teammates about trusted news sources.
At times like these we draw strength from past struggles to make the world a better place. In that spirit, this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) was especially empowering. This year’s IWD “Break the Bias” theme was centered around raising awareness against bias that enables one gender to dominate over the other. Gender bias is especially challenging in the tech space, where women strive for equal pay, opportunities, development, and mentorship in roles – from technical to sales to marketing and beyond – historically held by men.
In the gender-equal world envisioned by IWD organizers, the world is “free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination” and differences are valued and celebrated.
At Chronosphere, we couldn’t agree more! Creating a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a priority that we work towards every day – which we were thrilled to discuss at a special IWD event held this week for a group of women in tech and allies. In honor of IWD’s Break the Bias theme, we gathered together to share a meal, meet new people, and talk about workplace experiences and challenges. Below I walk through the details and share some fun photos from the day.
Sharing workplace experiences as women in tech
Our International Women’s Day event took place Monday March 7 and was our first of what will be many community-based events to come. More than 50 people joined in on the conversation, including our co-founders, Martin Mao (CEO) and Rob Skillington (CTO), as well as leaders and team members from across the company – from engineering to marketing to sales.
There were two sessions for our attendees to choose from: one track focused on tech and one focused on marketing. During these sessions, guest speakers from Chronosphere weighed in on how they became the leaders and contributors in tech that they are today. They walked through personal and professional stories that were illustrated with photos and provided a deep sense of “who” makes up Chronosphere’s workforce.
In addition to providing guests with good food and dialogue, they were also given the opportunity to vote on one of two organizations – Voices of Children and Girls Who Code – geared toward helping others and advancing women in tech. The winner would receive a $5K donation from Chronosphere. Scroll on down to find out which organization won the vote (spoiler – both!)
Our warm welcome for International Women’s Day
Kicking things off, Chronosphere’s Technical Recruiting Manager, Natalie Pau, (Chronosphere’s first recruiter) touched on the variety of backgrounds that make up our vibrant team, and introduced the speakers of this event:
“One of the reasons I decided to join Chronosphere was seeing the clear mission to build a diverse team. I remember reading a TechCrunch article when Chronosphere first raised its Series B funding. Martin said DEI was a key focal point here and wanted to make sure they were building a diverse, inclusive foundational team – from the ground up. Now, we want to make sure we’re supporting the next wave of female engineers out there.”
In an effort to cultivate a safe and supportive environment for women in tech, Natalie mentioned our #chronogals Slack channel – an inclusive space for our teammates to engage in open dialogue.
Co-founder and CEO, Martin Mao
Following Natalie’s intro, Martin painted a picture of Chronosphere, sharing the journey of how the company came to be.
Martin went on to underscore Chronosphere’s ground-up plan to build a culture of DEI.
Martin captured Chronosphere’s guiding values when he said: “We founded this company with a principal that we have continued to stick by – and that’s building a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. In building a diverse workforce, we have a component of awareness and intent to solve a problem.”
Martin also noted, “When we look at the low numbers of women entering this industry, the numbers drop further in leadership roles. That’s why we’re looking to implement awareness programs throughout the company.” Martin mentions that this will take shape in a few ways:
- Alignment: Creating an environment where there is an ongoing dialogue that will spread across all lanes of the company.
- Awareness: Intentional design of people processes (global benefits, development opps, etc.) and a consistent process to regularly review and audit all practices to identify biases.
- Education: Discussing goals and sharing internal demographic numbers to help us increase awareness, which encourages dialogue.
- Engagement: Providing opportunities to participate in company-wide workshops, philanthropic giving, or through campaigns such as #BreaktheBias.
Women of Chronosphere: Talking tech
After intros from Natalie and Martin, we all went into one of two breakout rooms where guest speakers from Chronosphere’s marketing and tech teams shared their experiences as women in tech.
Engineering Manager, Elenore Bastian
Our engineering team is growing rapidly, and women are increasingly powering that growth – and challenging the status-quo of a normally male dominated industry. Elenore kicked off the tech track breakout session, highlighting how to use networking to get more opportunities: “I used my social time to network with my peers. And, I actually became really good at ping pong.”
Elenore also mentioned how many women today have to work around the “Prove-It Again” bias: “A lot of times, women find themselves having to prove themselves on skill sets, while men are assumed to be capable. Men are given the benefit of the doubt, and women are judged strictly by what they’ve accomplished.”
Elenore brought up the importance of receiving stretch assignments – which are projects that are generally outside of one’s skill set: “So, how do you get those stretch assignments? Through networking and sponsorship. We naturally socialize and network with people like us. This just means we have to take deliberate action to Break the Bias. She offered a few tips:
- If you’re stuck on a problem, ask for help from a different person, not your go-to buddy.
- Take ownership over your learning and feedback. You’re never going to get handed anything. Find someone that is really good at something that you want to learn, and pair with them.
- Chat! Play a game! Sponsorship often starts with just becoming friends.” (see ping pong skills above!)
UX designer, Claire Kim
Claire touched on her past experience in a less diverse workplace and her experience as a mom in the tech world:
“I started my career in advertising, which wasn’t exactly like Mad Men, but it had similar characteristics. I realized that bias mainly comes from lack of knowledge and experience. Once I moved into tech and became a mom, I battled between wanting to be a super-mom, and feeling guilty that I wasn’t doing enough. But part of success is learning how to communicate what you need and want. You don’t have to do it all.”
Claire then shared with us a fragment of an empowering article: Why Being A Mom is Enough.
Women of Chronosphere: Tech marketing
Product Marketing Manager, Gibbs Cullen
Gibbs gave attendees an overview of her unlikely transition from being an art history major, to a Product Manager at AWS (Amazon Web Services).
“After the five-year mark (with Amazon), I started to think about other opportunities outside of the company. When a recruiter from Chronosphere reached out, I was really excited. I joined as a Developer Advocate, which is a role that we built based off of my strengths. Recently, I moved into my new position as a Product Marketing Manager. I think it’s very cool and exciting that Chronosphere offers the opportunity to try different avenues.”
Gibbs shared three key pieces of wisdom that she’s learned during her career in tech:
- When you challenge yourself, you succeed.
- We (especially women) tend to get caught up in looking at other people’s career tracks. The timeline isn’t the full story.
- Quality over quantity: “I’ve had at least one manager that has supported me and guided me. You can be just as successful having one or two mentors.”
Head of Product and Technical Marketing, Rachel Dines
Gibbs handed it over to Rachel, who coincidentally also studied art history and also double majored in computer science. Rachel dove into the timeline of her career in tech – from the old boys club of being a Principal Analyst at Forrester to her current role as Chronosphere’s Head of Product and Technical Marketing – and what she learned while overcoming obstacles (both personally and professionally) throughout her career:
“The first thing that I always come back to as a leader, manager, peer and employee – is that we are humans first, and we are people first. I never want to work for an organization that loses sight of that. The well-being of the person that works with me is the single most important thing.”
Donations and other ways Chronosphere supports
Attendees were able to vote on the organization that would receive our IWD event’s $5K donation. Voices of Children, a far-reaching organization that will assist children in Ukraine, won the vote – but we didn’t stop there. As a surprise, Chronosphere pledged to additionally donate $5K to Girls Who Code. Also, Martin and Rob each personally matched Chronosphere’s donation, bringing the total to $10K for each organization.
Other ways Chronosphere contributes:
- We partner with OpenLearning to help close the tech skills gap and make learning computer science accessible to everyone.
- Chronosphere raised more than $18K in assistance for Ukraine between donations from our ~140 employees and company match.
- Members of Chronosphere, including Martin and Rob, mentor with BUILT BY GIRLS, which “prepares the next generation of female and non-binary leaders to step boldly into careers powered by technology.”
Breaking the Bias is a long-term goal
We ended our International Women’s Day event with a few minutes of Q&A from guests that joined us. We enjoyed thoughtful dialogue from different backgrounds, found renewed commitment and inspiration from one another, and came together to learn more about each other’s experiences. Breaking the bias is not a one-day feat accomplished in celebration of women, but rather something that we, as a company, strive for on a regular basis – within our teams, within our personal lives, and more importantly, within our community.
Want to keep up with the latest at Chronosphere, and stay tuned for more events? Follow us on Twitter @chronosphereio and check out our blogs on our site.