By Vijay Anand
Intuit Senior Vice President & Managing Director- India Development Center
“We are all diverse in some way, and by valuing diversity, we not only create an inclusive work environment, but also create a company for the future work force – and that’s a sustainable, competitive advantage.” – Brad Smith, President and CEO, Intuit
This quote is a guiding principle for us at Intuit. We treasure diversity and promote inclusiveness, knowing that it fosters an environment where differences are valued and seen as each other’s strengths, pooled together to create conditions potent enough for the world’s top talent to do the best work of their lives.
At Intuit, we are constantly channeling efforts to improve our gender diversity and increase the number of women in technology. It’s important for us to truly reflect the diversity of our customer base in our workforce and tap into the diverse ideas that women in tech can bring to the table to fuel innovation.
Our commitment to recruiting, retaining and advancing technical women has helped us move the needle on raising the percentage of women talent at Intuit India from 13 percent to 23 percent in just two years! It has also resulted in Intuit India being ranked as the #3 best company in supporting women to remain at work in India in 2015 by the Great Place to Work Institute. Across Intuit, women represent 38 percent of our global workforce, holding 27 percent of our technology positions and 46 percent of our non-technical positions. They also hold 33 percent of our leadership roles.
At the same time, we continue to to focus on attracting, retaining and developing a diverse workforce.
Intuit Women’s Network (IWN) and Tech Women@Intuit (TWI)
Two important initiatives that help us recruit, retain and advance this diverse talent are the Intuit Women’s Network (IWN) and Tech Women@Intuit (TWI).
Since its formation in January 2013, the primary motive of the IWN is to inspire and enable women to lead with confidence and make a difference for Intuit and our communities. TWI focuses on attracting, retaining and promoting women in technical roles.
Managed by women volunteers and supported by an executive board from around the globe, these groups strive to make Intuit an awesome place for all women. Under the TWI initiative we sponsor the Anita Borg Institute (ABI) and the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC), Technovation, Girls Who Code, the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and are a member of their Pacesetters program. Internally our volunteers have organized Intuit Again, helping women in India return to the workforce, and Intuit Circles, modeled after Lean In Circles.
Intuit Again is a new India-focused initiative to inspire and provide opportunities to women technologists who have taken a break in their career and aspire to come back to work. During the 6-month internship program, we help them reach their full potential through mentoring, technical training and other training to sharpen their professional skills. We had the first cohort of 10 tech women in the program coming back after a break, and 50% of them have joined the Intuit India family in their current roles and are on their way to exciting careers at Intuit. The next cohort of 11 women joined us in April this year.
Partnership with Anita Borg Institute and the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC)
I’m inspired by the work Anita Borg Institute (ABI) is doing globally. We are pleased to be part of the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC) both in the United States and India for the past several years. Over the years, GHC has resulted in collaborative initiatives, networking, mentoring and increased visibility for the contributions of women in computing. With GHC, we have encouraged women to resume work after a sabbatical, while helping them smoothly undergo the transition to get them at par with their peers. In India we have played a big role here by sponsoring the Women Entrepreneur Quest (WEQ) and the Back to Work Track at GHCI 2015.
In the lead up to GHC India last year, I had an opportunity to take part in a wonderful Twitter chat hosted by ABI India and Intuit India on the topic of ‘Challenges and Opportunities for Women to Get Back to Work’. Asha Vade – one of our comeback heroes from the Intuit Again program, joined me and we witnessed some amazing interactions and discussions on how we can support women to join the workforce again.
Girls Who Code
Intuit partners with this national nonprofit organization that seeks to achieve gender parity in the workplace by 2020. Intuit was one of just three Bay Area locations to host a Girls Who Code Immersion program in the summer of 2015, giving high school sophomores and juniors hands-on experience in computing concepts, programming fundamentals, mobile phone development, robotics, and Web development and design. Intuit employees also serve as mentors, speakers and field trip chaperones.
Personal Journey with Women in Tech
Personally, one of my key priorities is to mentor tech women, not just from Intuit, but externally from the industry as well. I have been fortunate to work with, mentor and learn from some very talented women in the process. While I continue to be the ABI India Council Chair, I have also increased my efforts in my new role as a member of the ABI Board of Trustees.
I look forward to some amazing experiences and learning great things this year at the 2016 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.