As a young child, I remember my mom explaining that when she was growing up, she felt there were only two career choices for women to pursue in higher education: a teacher or a nurse. My mother chose the teacher path and taught proudly for 35 years. As I grew older, I was encouraged that women in my generation would have more opportunities than previous generations. I have always looked up to my mother, and her encouragement meant that I never felt limited in what I could achieve.
My career started at a consulting firm, where I was often the only woman in meetings. Being one of the few women sitting at the table became the norm early on. It was not until years later that I started seeing forums created for women and other diverse communities at that same firm. These spaces were needed, and I became involved with the women’s group and connected with others. We had a safe space to share career challenges, met with senior leaders to learn about their experiences, and discussed managing both our careers and personal lives effectively. Many of us took advantage of these wonderful and empowering opportunities.
In hindsight, those forums (not defined as Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) at the time) were something many of us took for granted. It was not until the shift in my career from a mature consulting firm to a brand-new, startup-like culture that I saw the gaps. This new opportunity with Duck Creek came with incredible growth and learning opportunities. It was a great time for me to expand professionally, but I knew something was missing. It took a few years, but I realized the missing link for me was that we did not have those spaces for various diverse populations within our company to collaborate and learn from one another.
A few months into 2020, I started bouncing the idea of creating a women-focused group at Duck Creek with several female co-workers around the globe. All confirmed the need, and I approached a colleague, Sage Milton, whose enthusiasm was the final confirmation I needed. Together, we developed a proposal, presented it to our Executive Leadership Team, and received immediate support to launch our first ERG, the Women’s Resource Group (WRG).
Sage and I officially launched the WRG in October 2020. Our charter was to not only focus on the engagement, career, and leadership development of our current female employees, but also to increase female representation across the company, particularly at the senior level, and all employees were encouraged to join.
What inspires me the most is all the members who have stepped out of their comfort zones and into leadership positions to launch and grow the WRG. Our members have helped develop an incredible network and actively participate, challenge themselves, and share openly in our meetings and events. It is very encouraging to witness an extremely diverse group of women and allies from across the globe find a common interest or establish a mentoring relationship. Women lifting others to develop, grow, and support one another is what this is all about. When they share with others what an incredible place Duck Creek is to work, it’s the icing on the cake. We now have several Employee Resource Groups at Duck Creek and continue to expand our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs. It is truly embedded in our culture.
I am beyond proud that each day, women get far more choices than my mom and the other women from her generation, and I feel fortunate to live in a time where we are empowered to take our professional and personal paths in any direction we choose.