October 5, 2022

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WiDS growth reinforces importance of mentors and sponsors for women in tech

2 min read

There are times when an initial gathering can kick off a global movement.

The Women in Data Science initiative started as a conference held at Stanford University in November 2015. WiDS has grown significantly since then, which was reflected during its most recent event in March.

“In seven years, it’s gone from this one day technical conference to a global movement,” said Lisa Martin (pictured, right), co-host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, during an analysis segment at the Women in Data Science WiDS) event. “WiDS is now in 60 countries, with 200 events and 500-plus ambassadors. We really saw a lot of fresh faces and heard from them. ”

Martin spoke with co-host John Furrier (pictured, left), and they discussed key themes generated from interviews on theCUBE and coverage of conference presentations.

Sponsor impact

The WiDS gathering provided attendees with an opportunity to assess what was working in the data science field for women and what was not. While there was a sense at the conference that mentorship had improved, the growth in actual data science opportunities was another matter.

One of the guests interviewed as part of theCUBE’s coverage was Tanuja Randery, managing director of Europe, Middle East and Africa for Amazon Web Services Inc. Randery was previously a partner with McKinsey & Company and founded the PowerWomen Network, a community of senior business leaders across industries.

“She said there are too many mentors and not enough sponsors,” Furrier noted. “She said sponsors create opportunities, mentors give feedback. I felt that comment hit home. ”

Speakers during the WiDS event touched on a number of themes, including the importance of building a personal team of people for advice and counsel, akin to a corporate board, which can help guide a career for women in the tech field.

“There were very inspiring stories of women,” Martin said. “I got to hear a conversation about mentors and sponsors and how important it is for women of any age to build their own personal board of directors with mentors and sponsors. It’s important to teach how to have the confidence to find those sponsors and cultivate those relationships. ”

Watch the complete video discussion below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the Women in Data Science (WiDS) event.

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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