Intuit principal software engineer Cindy Osmon is aware that she’s a bit of an anomaly. She’s a female technologist who’s built a successful career helping companies prepare for the next generation of technologies and trends – a field often dominated by men. Her research has put her in the early stages of development around self-driving cars, wearables and technologies like Amazon Echo. But she was still surprised when a school-age family friend recently told her that the technology field was “too nerdy, boring, and not feminine enough.” She wondered how such a smart girl with a natural flare for math living in Silicon Valley could hold this stereotype.
Taking action with Tech Women @ Intuit
These stereotypes have driven Cindy to be an active member of the Tech Women @ Intuit (TWI) program. Through TWI, she and hundreds of other colleagues around the world help attract, retain and promote women in technology roles. They are building the diversity pipeline for technologists through sponsorship of the Grace Hopper Celebration, Technovation, Girls Who Code and other programs. TWI also focuses on the career development of women in tech like Cindy, with programs such as Intuit Again, helping women in India return to the workforce, and Intuit Circles, modeled after Lean In Circles. In addition, Intuit is a partner of the Anita Borg Institute (ABI) and the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), and is a member of the Pacesetters program – all of which help TWI members share and learn best practices.
Through these efforts, today women make up over 29 percent of Intuit’s technical workforce in the U.S. and more than 27 percent globally, with goals of increasing both of those numbers. Across Intuit, women represent 38 percent of the global workforce, holding 46 percent of non-technical positions. They also hold 33 percent of Intuit’s leadership roles.
Led by a combination of employee volunteers and an executive board, TWI has made significant progress. “It’s critical to support the grassroots passion and talent of the employee base while supplying executive sponsorship,” says Raji Arasu, senior vice president of Platform & Core Services and TWI board member. “Engaging everyone in the process is how we’re going to get to a future with diverse technology leaders.”
Involving everyone in innovation
For Cindy, Intuit’s deep culture of innovation offers diverse employees unique opportunities. “From my first day of orientation I learned Lean Startup practices – failing fast, rapid prototyping and driving for customer benefit were all encouraged. I was overjoyed that this company was so innovative,” Cindy remembers. “Every employee participated and that put us all on an exciting and equal playing field.”
In this environment, Intuit’s employees of all job types – from HR to back-end engineering – work together to learn innovation and customer empathy practices like the Lean Startup method and Intuit’s own Design for Delight methodology – valuable lessons that they take with them throughout their career. Intuit treasures diversity and promotes inclusiveness, knowing that it fosters an environment where differences are valued and enrich the innovation process.