Thursday, March 28 2019
11:30am - 1:00pm
Technology Square Research Building, 1st Floor Ballroom, Atlanta, Ga
Free food
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GVU Center Brown Bag: Karen Holtzblatt, "The @Work Experience Framework Key Success Factors to Retain Women in Tech"


High tech is a sector where job opportunities exist but go unfilled. Even with extensive effort to recruit women, women and other populations continue to be underrepresented compared to other professions. More importantly, when hired, women are twice as likely to leave mid-career than men. Today attrition costs companies 16B a year. At this time when workers are needed and when studies find that diversity aids innovation and the bottom line we must turn our focus to what goes on within the daily life of tech companies to understand what helps people thrive.
Recognizing this void, Karen Holtzblatt, well known thought leader in user centered design, launched The WIT Retention Project while at Stanford. Starting with in-depth field interviews her team talked with successful women in high tech, ages late 20s to 50s. Through a 360° inquiry into the daily lives of successful women developers, product managers, UX professionals, and managers Karen and her team identified critical factors affecting retention. The resulting @Work Experience Framework defines these factors which can guide companies to retain technical women.

Guided by the data and the factors, Karen and her world-wide collaborators have developed practical interventions iterated with real tech professionals and teams. These include the Career Power board game facilitating serious conversations while having fun; the Team Onboarding Checklist helping new hires connect and achieve success; Team Techniques improving interactions between team members in working meetings; Critique practices to ensure egoless feedback and more. In 2018 Karen launched the non-profit WITops to continue the work.

In this talk Karen introduces the @Work Experience Framework and shares some of the findings from the research. Participants gain insight into their own experiences or how their organization can better support women and diverse people at work.

Speaker Bio:

Karen Holtzblatt is a thought leader, industry speaker, and author. She is Executive Director of WITops, CEO at InContext Design, and Research Scientist for the University of Maryland. Karen has more than 30 years of teaching experience, professionally and in university settings. She regularly consults with universities to help improve their HCI programs – including building in an awareness of issues that new workers, especially diverse people, will face. Karen holds a doctorate in applied psychology from the University of Toronto.

How to watch: If you can't make the event in person you can Live Stream or watch the Recording (one week after event).

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