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Inspire Inclusion on International Women’s Day 2024 — and Every Day


International Women’s Day (IWD), on March 8, is a day to celebrate women’s achievements and raise awareness about discrimination, equity and inclusion.

We’ve covered IWD on our blog before, weaving perspectives about this annual event into other thoughts about women in data management and governance and feature articles profiling many of the women working at First San Francisco Partners.

2024 Theme: Inspire Inclusion

Kelle O'Neal, founder and CEO of FSFP.

Kelle O’Neal is the founder and CEO of FSFP.

Each year, IWD chooses a theme to rally people around. Previous themes included Balance for Better (we wrote about this topic on our blog) and Each for Equal, which Kelle O’Neal shared on LinkedIn.

IWD summarizes this year’s theme, Inspire Inclusion, in this way:

When we inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion, we forge a better world. And when women themselves are inspired to be included, there’s a sense of belonging, relevance and empowerment. The #InspireInclusion campaign aims to forge a more inclusive world for women.

Throughout each yearly IWD theme, recurring messages emphasize the importance of gender balance, challenging stereotypes and celebrating women’s achievements. So, for 2024, what does it mean to inspire inclusion? How do we take concrete actions to create environments where everyone feels valued and empowered? And how do we inspire inclusion every day, not just each March 8?

International Women's Day 2024

Your Circle of Influence

FSFP's Maggie McGlenn

Read about Maggie McGlenn’s experience as an FSFP intern.

One powerful way to inspire inclusion is to start at home, with our families, friends, schools, and communities. Simple actions — using gender-neutral language, championing women and acknowledging their achievements, and encouraging girls and young women to consider science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers (and to know that not all STEM and data-focused roles are technical) — create a ripple effect that builds momentum.

Inspiring inclusion at work matters greatly, of course. Over the years, FSFP has prioritized workplace flexibility, creating inclusive cultures, promoting diversity in hiring practices and encouraging more women to work in our industry, even if they don’t have direct experience with data management.

“We hired Maggie McGlenn as an intern during the summer of 2021,” Kelle said. “She had no industry experience, but Maggie’s background in data science and her desire to see how data is used in the real world made her a great fit for our company. And she continues to work for FSFP today.”

IWD 2024

You can find IWD pledge cards, e-signatures, social media graphics and other IWD resources here.

Rachel Thompson, Consultant

Read about Rachel Thompson’s experience studying for the Collibra Ranger certification.

Kelle cited former intern, Rachel Thompson, as another data management newbie. Rachel, now a consultant for our company and Collibra-certified as a Solution Architect and a Collibra Ranger, called landing in data governance a happy accident in her article, My Path to a Career in Data Governance.

Rachel talks about her foray into applying for “techy” jobs and the frustration she initially felt:

Following the end of my six-month, virtual, full-stack web development boot camp came the true test — landing a job. I read about job openings on site after site, with many of the posts listing skills I had acquired, yet they asked for a half-decade of experience. And this included the posts labeled junior and entry-level.

Daily, I would send out resumes tailored to each post and company. What I received back were emails telling me I didn’t have enough experience or the position had been filled. This method took the wind out of my sails as I knew the numbers were not in my favor. I felt like I was just a name in an inbox lost amongst all the other names. My life experience and newfound programming skills were reduced to an unseen PDF file.

I found myself submitting fewer and fewer resumes as this process dragged on.

Sarah Rasmussen, Engagement Partner

Sarah Rasmussen is an Engagement Partner at FSFP.

Rachel’s story takes a turn for the better when a contact connected her FSFP’s Sarah Rasmussen. Fast forward to the summer of 2021 (yes, it was a great year for interns), and Rachel came aboard. She began learning about all things data — governance, stewardship, quality, etc. Later in 2021, Rachel joined FSFP full-time as a data analyst. Soon, she was promoted to Senior Analyst and then worked diligently to earn two Collibra certifications.

We share Maggie’s and Rachel’s stories to inspire you to think about how you can bring new talent into your organization.

Inclusion Doesn’t Mean Exclusion

We’re fortunate to have Kelle as a leading voice who’s talked about industry diversity on our blog for years and puts actions behind those words.

“We need to make women and others feel comfortable that they enter an industry that’s traditionally not female-dominated,” Kelle said. “Inclusion doesn’t mean we’re excluding others. We’re making the ‘opportunity pie’ larger, bringing more diversity into a growing industry.”

Kelle also uses her voice and influence at industry events. Two come to mind, with one being more recent, where Kelle shared thoughts on diversity with a larger audience:

  • In 2021, Kelle participated in AIRSIDE LIVE, an OKERA event, joining a panel of women discussing data privacy and ethics and data bias. (Read our recap of Kelle’s session.)
  • Last September and December, Kelle co-led Enterprise Data World breakout sessions focused on hearing from women in the industry. The September session was so well-attended that DATAVERSITY formed a special interest group, Women in Data Management and Governance. (Read Kelle’s thoughts about the new group. If you’re interested in future events dedicated to the Women in Data Management and Governance, opt in here.)

Going further back to 2016 when we worked with Kelle on her Are Women Presenters (In)visible at Data Conferences? blog article, we interviewed DATAVERSITY’s founder and CEO, Tony Shaw, to get his take on women’s involvement in industry events.

When asked recently about the diversity of speakers at industry events, Kelle noted a positive shift since 2016 and a huge change since she joined the industry 30 years ago. “In the past, some of my female data management peers didn’t even know it was an option for them to present at industry events. Thankfully, more women now know that they can submit their session ideas and abstracts to conference organizers like DATAVERSITY and have a great chance of being asked to participate.”

Ready, Aim, Inspire

As we celebrate International Women’s Day again this year, please join us in committing to inspiring inclusion in every aspect of our lives. Whether it’s talking about diversity at home, advocating for gender diversity in the workplace, creating supportive communities for women or empowering the next generation of data management leaders (like our inspirational interns), we can all play a role in building a more inclusive world.

We hope you find time to mention this year’s IWD celebration to your family, friends and co-workers on or before March 8. And be sure to make a recurring note on your calendar, as we do each year, to celebrate it in the future with us. As the sponsoring organization says, “All IWD activity is valid — that’s what makes IWD inclusive. Collectively, we can all fight the good fight.”

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