Commentary & Perspective

What It Means to Partner With the Anita Borg Institute

By Telle Whitney, CEO of the Anita Borg Institute & Jody Mahoney, Senior Vice President of Business Development

At the Anita Borg Institute (ABI), we’re fortunate and grateful to partner with some of the leading names in technology, including Google, Microsoft, HP, Facebook, Intel and many others. Our partners help facilitate the important work we do to recruit, retain and advance women in technical roles.

In addition to the Grace Hopper Celebration, our flagship conference, ABI offers many different programs, such as the Top Companies for Women Technologists, the Systers community, a global online forum for women involved in the technical aspects of computing, and the ABIE Awards. ABI also recently launched ABI.Local, a network of locally organized communities to bring women technologists together in cities around the world.

The support we get from partners is crucial to achieving our mission and making these programs possible for women in technology all over the globe. While financial support is key, being an ABI partner is so much more than simply writing an annual check. So what exactly does it mean to be an ABI Partner? This blog post will spell it out.

Commitment is Key to Making Progress

First and foremost, partnering with the Anita Borg Institute means that a company is committed to increasing the number of women in technical roles within their organization. This commitment is the cornerstone of any partnership with ABI, and it’s what guides all of the events and programs that our partner companies participate in.

To assist companies, ABI holds three annual partner-only meetings where participants network, gain insights and celebrate the progress we have made together throughout the year. We share the latest research findings, best practice information and provide guidance on developing and making progress on each partner company’s commitment to grow the number of women technologists in their organizations.

Access to participation in our Top Companies for Women Technologists program is a part of every company’s partnership with ABI. The Top Companies program recognizes companies that are increasing the participation of women in their technical workforce at all levels and creating inclusive workplaces where women technologists can thrive. We compare quantitative measures of the participation of women at each level of the technical workforce, plus recruitment and promotion rates year over year. We also provide customized analysis so companies can hone their strategies to create more inclusive work environments and grow the number of technical women in their ranks.

Partnering with ABI also gives companies a chance to work closely with our communities — other ABI partners, Systers, ABI.Local and the ABI Team. These are valuable opportunities for companies looking to support the broad community of women technologists more directly through meetups, hackathons and other events.

Take Action and Lead by Example

All of these benefits are excellent resources to help companies increase the number of women technologists, but they are not sufficient to make change without the commitment from partner companies to improve these numbers.

Partner companies have many options when it comes to making a commitment to ABI’s mission. For instance, companies can focus on recruiting more women technologists, and demonstrate their progress through tracking how many interviews, offers and hires they’ve made at ABI events. Or partners can send senior technical executives to the annual Technical Executive Forum, an invite-only program that provides participants with the opportunity to network, share experiences and drive action in creating company cultures that sustain diversity for innovation.

Partner companies may also choose to focus on educating their own executives and staff about fostering a welcoming and diverse culture, which is crucial to retaining and advancing women technologists at their organization.

There’s no set formula for how partner companies can get involved in the effort to grow the number of technical women in their organizations — ABI provides the support and insight companies need to advance this mission in many different ways. The most important step companies can take to make a difference is to get involved and become a partner so we can join together in driving change and making the workplace inclusive and welcoming for everyone.

Learn all about partnering with the Anita Borg Institute here.