In October 2016, Gartner launched the global Lean In Circle for Women. Considering Gartner’s commitment to workforce diversity and celebratory attitude toward individual differences, the formation of inclusion groups focused on empowering women was not surprising. The Gartner Lean In Partnership team, led by Gartner’s Erica Smith and Cindy Steagall, debuted at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Orlando in 2016 and began rolling it out in two pilot locations to start. The focused pilots will help ensure a successful global kick-off in January 2017.
Lean In Circles are small groups that meet regularly to learn and grow together — encouraging women to step outside of their comfort zones. The concept was recently made popular by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and founder of the Lean In Organization, a nonprofit organization aimed at creating a global community that encourages women to continue to be active and ambitious in their careers even as they start families. While focused on women, the Lean In movement’s message can relate to both genders and encourages men and women to work toward solutions together.
“Research shows that gender equality is as good for business as it is for individuals,” explained Sandberg, in an article in The Wall Street Journal. “Diverse teams and companies produce better results and higher revenue and profits, which lead to more opportunity for everyone, not just women.”
Where We Are Today
The Lean In program at Gartner has grown and developed from its fledgling stage, transforming into a company-wide initiative at one of the world’s leading IT research and advisory firms. “The Lean In program is a strategic vehicle that is closely tied to Gartner’s mission to enable female associates with the tools, skills and networks necessary to achieve their career aspirations and move into leadership roles,” says Erica Smith, Gartner’s Lean In Partner Champion.
Not only does the Lean In program enable women associates to network personally and professionally, members can take on leadership roles within a particular circle. Members can choose to act as Local Leads, Lead Moderators or Support Moderators within each circle, roles in which different levels of responsibility can be held. These positions give women associates opportunities to exercise their leadership skills and become a part of a larger corporate conversation, in which Gartner aims to unite employees worldwide regarding the role of women in the IT industry.
Erica Smith praises the Lean In Program as an initiative meant to empower Gartner’s female associates. She states, “As a unified corporate family we have been able to leverage the power of our collective global associates and our unparalleled talent. We’ve seen our associate community come together and drive exceptional impact through our newly established Employee Resource Groups (ERG).
Women at Gartner has embodied what can be accomplished when a truly inclusive and engaged ERG turns passion into action. It has been fantastic to witness our leaders and team members come together to honor each other during Women’s History Month, give back to their local communities, and challenge each other to strive for greater heights in their career aspirations while effectively building the skills necessary to lead and excel. As we look to the coming months, Women at Gartner will continue to build upon its fantastic start to 1H18, providing more vehicles to recognize excellence, spark philanthropic spirit in our backyards, and provide the development tools necessary so we can be bold and lean in across the globe.
Enabling our women associates to achieve their ultimate aspirations is a privilege and I’m inspired by how we’ve all rallied around the notion that we are better together and will continue to bring Gartner to new heights,” says Smith.
The company boasts nearly 20 different circle chapters as of today, including groups that specifically target females working within the IT industry. Gartner Women in Sales, Gartner Women in Research and Women in Gartner Events are just a few of the business-unit-specific circles. The company also has several circles promoting work-life balance and females empowerment, including Moms at Gartner and Together We Are Better (Egham). These groups aim to foster a diverse community of women associates dedicated to professional development, while also providing a confidential space for open and honest lines of communication.
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