Empowering women in tech: The Smartsheet experience at the Women in Tech Regatta 2023

by The Smartsheet Team

July 25, 2023

An empowering atmosphere. A safe space. A force for positive change. That’s what Smartsheet employees experienced at the Women in Tech Regatta 2023 in Seattle.  

Fostering diversity and inclusivity within the tech industry is crucial to innovation and affecting positive change. Recognizing this, Smartsheet recently sponsored a thought-provoking panel discussion at the Women in Tech Regatta and encouraged employees to attend, underscoring the commitment to diversity and inclusion — a tangible manifestation of the ongoing efforts to empower the Smartsheet workforce.

In this blog post, we’ll hear from our employees who attended the event and uncover why women in tech should consider joining Smartsheet for their next career move. 

But first… what’s the Women in Tech Regatta? 

Before we dive in, let’s cover exactly what the Women in Tech Regatta is. A series of events filled with sessions, networking, and more, the Women in Tech Regatta celebrates diverse humans in tech with intimate discussions in a safe environment. It aims to drive positive change and innovation for women in tech and workplace diversity. 

Insights from the Smartsheet-sponsored ‘Maker to Manager’ session

Smartsheet at The Women in Tech Regatta 2023

At the seventh annual event in Seattle, Smartsheet sponsored a session titled "Maker to Manager: Navigating the Uncharted." Chika Monu, senior technical program manager II at Smartsheet, served as the moderator, while a diverse group of engineering leaders, including Smartsheet engineering manager Ash Clarke, shared their personal, transitional journeys from engineers to leaders. More specifically, they discussed strategies to navigate the maker-to-manager transition and highlighted essential tools for success in engineering leadership.

Ash Clarke, who spoke on the panel, expressed her joy and gratitude, saying, "It was an incredible honor to represent Smartsheet as an attendee and panelist. Discussing the transition from engineer to manager, a topic that is close to my heart, was truly rewarding. Many attendees approached me afterwards to express how valuable and inspiring they found the discussion. It's humbling and amazing to have the opportunity to inspire others."

For Ash, a self-described recovering introvert, being part of the panel was a significant personal milestone. She shared, "Being on a panel was a major step for me. Public speaking has always been outside my comfort zone. Breaking that barrier in such a safe and welcoming environment felt like a giant leap forward in my career."

The attendees from Smartsheet connected deeply with the session's content and engaged in meaningful discussions with fellow participants. Smartsheet talent development partner, Caitlin Goldbaum, particularly appreciated the small breakout group conversation. She described her own experience, having managed a team of five people before transitioning to an individual contributor role at Smartsheet. Caitlin emphasized that some may perceive stepping back from a managerial role as a failure. But as the panelists explained, she says, “There can be a perception that you failed as a manager when you take a step back to individual contributor work, but in reality, these roles simply require two different skill sets. It can be deeply rewarding to focus on skill development and owning your own work without having to be responsible for a team.”

Smartsheet talent experience program manager, Alycia Good, also praised the session, stating, "’From Maker to Manager’ was filled with valuable insights for both current and future managers. It highlighted the importance of recognizing that a manager's role revolves around supporting people."

Overall, the session provided invaluable guidance and reflections, allowing attendees to navigate the uncharted territory of transitioning from a maker to a manager in tech.

What it was like for Smartsheet employees who attended the Women in Tech Regatta

People from Smartsheet who attended the Regatta had a lot to say about its positive, welcoming vibe, where everyone felt they could truly be themselves. They loved how interactive, open, and supportive everyone was, noting that it wasn't just about sitting and listening to speakers or staring at computer screens: The panels and small group conversations were all about being real and vulnerable.

The Women in Tech Regatta really knows how to create an intimate atmosphere for discussions. In one breakout discussion, Caitlin shared her story about leaving her career in higher education and transitioning into the tech industry, landing a new role at Smartsheet. She shared the changes she went through, both professionally and personally, and the group of six in her conversation applauded her bravery for taking a risk and changing her career path. Caitlin couldn't believe how amazing it felt to be vulnerable and supported by total strangers.

Folks spoke freely about their challenges without any judgment. One attendee even mentioned an amazing panel on mental health that was so open and powerful, explaining how refreshing it was to see such honesty and understanding among women in tech. Smartsheet attendees reported that it was an incredible experience overall, and that they walked away with a real sense of community and empowerment.

Why women should consider Smartsheet for their next career move 

For women considering their next career move, Smartsheet stands out as a company that prioritizes diversity and provides opportunities for both personal and professional growth. “It’s one thing to say we want gender diversity on our teams, especially our tech teams,” says Alycia. “It’s another to put resources towards supporting the community.” 

“There is a community of women at Smartsheet to support you in whatever you need. This community is not just your teammates, but also consists of colleagues across other teams, those in the same ERG, and those that you run across in social situations. It's so nice to know you aren't alone and all you have to do is ask for support and you'll find it,” Alycia continues. 

The Smartsheet commitment to gender diversity and inclusion goes beyond sponsoring events like the Women in Tech Regatta. The company actively supports its employees by providing a safe and empowering workplace environment. The Women & Gender Minorities Employee Resource Group (ERG) at Smartsheet — one of many Smartsheet ERGs that represents under-represented groups — plays a crucial role in creating a community that inspires, empowers, and uplifts women and gender minorities. By leveraging diverse perspectives and fostering a culture of inclusivity, Smartsheet aims to drive innovation and ensure that everyone feels valued, supported, and engaged.

The supportive community at Smartsheet, including colleagues, ERG members, and technical leadership, creates an environment where women can thrive and succeed. As Ash beautifully sums it up, "At Smartsheet, I get to support female engineers in my role as a manager, work alongside amazing female peers, and have incredible female technical leadership to look up to and learn from." 

Smartsheet is committed to building a diverse and welcoming team, and the experiences at the Women in Tech Regatta highlight the company's dedication to fostering an inclusive and supportive workplace.

Chart your course at Smartsheet

If you’re looking for a company that values diversity, provides growth opportunities, and supports your journey, Smartsheet should definitely be on your radar. Join Smartsheet and be part of a community that empowers and uplifts women in tech.

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