Episode 28: Women in Tech Maven Christine Bongard

Episode 28 of the Mavens Do It Better Podcast features Christine Bongard, President and Co-Founder of The WIT Network. Christine is the main spokesperson for the organization and regularly speaks on behalf of The WIT Network at events and hosts all “We’ve Got WIT” webinars. Her job is to see that the mission and passion of The WIT Network is carried out. She also leads the global community currently consisting of 80 chapters in 40 countries.  She has been actively involved as a leader for Women in Technology for four years and was honoured with the WIT Community Champion award by Microsoft in 2017. 

Prior to the WIT Network, Christine helped start a Microsoft Gold Partner company. At the ripe age of 25 she became an entrepreneur. Over the years she learned how to run a company managing everything from sales to finance to operations. Additionally, the experience provided an opportunity for Christine to build and grow her relationships in the Microsoft channel as a participant on many Advisory Councils for Microsoft. 

 Christine was “Born to Run” as a Jersey Girl and never misses an opportunity to spend time at the beach in her spare time. She has a love for travel and is in pursuit of completing a visit to all 50 U.S. states, with only 7 left to go. Christine adopts retired racing greyhounds and currently has two lovable pups, Fleetwood and Leo who also keep her “on the run”.  

Christine and Heather caught up in New York City at One World Trade Center.  

Listen in as Heather talks with Christine about: 

  • The transformation and launch of The WIT Network, a community of professionals that believe in making it easier for women to imagine, begin, and develop a career in IT and their upcoming inaugural International Women’s Day Event this week happening in Kansas City 

  • How important diversity is to output for a business, and how male allies and conversations are happening in our industry and how The WIT Network is facilitating those conversations.  

  • Learnings of how to not just check a diversity box and getting educated, create solutions together for the good of companies and our world at large. 

Christine Bongard | Instagram | Twitter 

The WIT Network | Instagram | Twitter | Website | LinkedIn 

Mavens Do It Better original theme music composed by Jesse Case with voice over by Julia Francis.

Transcript

Heather Newman:  Hello everyone. Here we are again for another version of Mavens Do It Better podcast where we interview extraordinary experts and Mavens who shine a light in our world. I am here in New York City again. I am in, we are in the World Trade Center One right? 85th floor?

Christine Bongard:  85th floor, overlooking beautiful downtown New York City.

Heather Newman:  Yeah, it's quite amazing. So I'm so excited to be sitting here today with Christine Bongard who is the president and co-founder of The WIT Network.

Christine Bongard:  Yes, thanks so much for having me.

Heather Newman:  Absolutely. Longtime friend and colleague, we've known each other forever and a day.

Christine Bongard:  Yeah, let's not age ourselves.

Heather Newman:  Yeah, I just met her last week on the street. No. And uh, we just saw each other at the Women in Cloud Summit in Seattle that you were heavily involved with. And with Gail Mercer-MacKay as well.

Christine Bongard:  That's right. And Jennifer Didier two other co-founders of The WIT Network.

Heather Newman:  Yes. Lovely women who were speaking and you had a booth and very, very involved.

Christine Bongard:  We formed a nice partnership with Women in Cloud because we both, we have unique audiences. Women in Cloud is really focused on helping female entrepreneurs get their start. And that's one of the WIT Network's many missions. So it ties nicely together. They snap into, into our core mission. And so we formed a partnership and they were gracious enough to invite us out to speak and also have a booth there.

Heather Newman:  Weren't there about a thousand women?

Christine Bongard:  Yes. I think they had 400 last year and they were expecting 600 this year and think they had over a thousand people there. It was wonderful.

Heather Newman:  We did a, so it was at the Microsoft Conference Center on Redmond campus and the, you know, you could tell there were a thousand women there by a lot of things, but one of them was because we did a takeover on the bathrooms.

Christine Bongard:  Which is so unusual.

Heather Newman:  I know! The one men's bathroom had a piece of paper over it that was like for today it's women. So that was pretty funny. So, um, so let's back up a smidge and tell everybody about the WIT Network, what it is, how it started, all of that.

Christine Bongard:  Sure. Sure. We formed about, let's say technically about six years ago, we had our first ever Women in Technology conference as part of the IAMCP at the, at then it was the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference and we did a charity luncheon and we did that for a few years. And after that, some women came up to us and they said, you know what, this event here is so wonderful and so meaningful. Is there a way to take this platform out to our local communities? So we looked at each other, a few of us, and we were like, yes, let's find a way to make that happen. So a few communities got just going right away. Seattle, Southern California, Chicago, I believe those, those were the three of our first communities who got started. And from there, four years later, we have now just about 80 communities in 40 countries worldwide. So we really have had some rapid expansion and you know, for me, that just goes to show the need for this type of community, this, the need for connecting women to women and supporting each other. And so this past year, we broke off from the IAMCP but only to rebrand as the WIT Network. We're still affiliated with the IAMCP. We're going to be announcing a wonderful partnership opportunity for both of our members in the next month. And so we're grateful to them because that's where we got started. And they have been very supportive of everything that we've done. But our core mission is supporting women in technology. Everything that we do, whether you're just starting out in the industry, whether you're looking at making a career change, if you want to become an entrepreneur, if you're looking to get to the C-Suite, if you want to get on a corporate board, right?

Heather Newman:  Moving on up!

Christine Bongard:  There's so much. That's right. But there's so many different ways that women need help. We need to help educate. We need to coach, we need to mentor, we need to inspire, we need to tell stories. And that's what we're all about. And it's on top of all of that, we have these local communities where women can connect, network, support each other, do fun events and, you know, grow their professional and personal networks.

Heather Newman:  Right. Yeah. And so those of you who are listening, listeners, the I A M C P, just so we're clear, it's the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners. And so that's an organization, that's been around forever.

Christine Bongard:  Oh, like 20, 25 years I believe.

Heather Newman:  Exactly. And so it's, it's basically Microsoft partners who work with Microsoft, they join the organization and then they have meetings monthly and there's lots of networking opportunities.

Christine Bongard:  Yeah, so that group's purpose is to connect partners with other partners and to connect partners with Microsoft. So if you are in the Microsoft channel and you're not affiliated with your IAMCP community, you should be. It's $195. You join, you get to local, you get to go to local monthly meetings. If you're traveling, you can go visit other places, you can visit their meetings, you get access to all their content, you get access to Microsoft. And then they do a whole bunch of stuff at the Microsoft Inspire Conference in July. It's a great organization.

Heather Newman:  Yeah, it's fun. And, yeah, I've been around with it for a long time.

Christine Bongard:  The website is iamcp.org. And you can find your local chapter there.

Heather Newman:  Yeah, absolutely. And so, and the IAMCP WIT Chapter NorCal, Sharon Chang and I started that and that was sort of right after the first iteration I think of that. So, Sharon has been holding the charge on that since I moved to SoCal. But it's been really fun to see that. It's just growing and growing and growing.

Christine Bongard:  All the chapters are, and we like, we know we launched in September, we have almost 3000 members now.

Heather Newman:  Wow.

Christine Bongard:  Yeah, it's really been great.

Heather Newman:  That's unbelievable. That's so cool. And I know that, you know, your career trajectory, as a woman in tech has been interesting. You're in, you're from Jersey?

Christine Bongard:  I'm a Jersey girl. Me and Bruce Springsteen.

Heather Newman:  So how did you get started in tech?

Christine Bongard:  Oh, Geez. Well, yeah, we're going to have to date ourselves here. But about 25 years ago, I was working at a big insurance company. And my boss there, Neal Rosenberg, for those of you who may know him, he decided to go out and start a tech company and he asked me to join him. And that was back in the early nineties. And, you know, really I had to learn, you know, PCs were just busting out, right? So I had to learn how to build a computer, Windows for Networks. Wasn't that the original, right? I learned how to build a network. I was doing cabling and then I had to learn how to sell and how to market and how to do support and how to do training. And, you know, eventually I worked my way through the whole organization. So, you know, I felt that was important for me to be able to say; I built a computer, I built a network, I did customer support, I did training so that when I talk to customers or I worked with my employees, I knew where they were coming from right? You know? And so I kind of really have grown up in technology and it's been a great, great ride. I love it. It's adrenaline pumping and just when you think you have something figured out, you know, it changes. And the whole evolution of being a Microsoft Partner has just been a great experience.

Heather Newman:  And right now you're working with different clients?

Christine Bongard:  Yeah, right now I'm doing some consulting where I'm helping Microsoft Partners, you know, with, with various different aspects strategically for their business and I love it.

Heather Newman:  Yeah. That's super fun. And you mostly do it, geographically are you mostly sort of working with like New York, New Jersey folks? Or are you kind of all over the place?

Christine Bongard:  Right now, yeah, New York Metro, primarily, but the good thing about what I do is it's not specific to, you know, it's working with Microsoft.

Heather Newman:  You're a consultant, yeah.

Christine Bongard:  So you can really, you know, I could do that anywhere. But, yeah, I love it. You know, we were just laughing before, it's kind of like, I feel that this is such a family environment growing up in the industry. You know all the people at Microsoft, you know all the partners, you know, and everybody moves around, you know, and you wind up, I'm working with, I'm now working with people that I worked with 10 years ago in a different capacity, you know, and so it's super fun to get, to be constantly reconnected with people. I love it.

Heather Newman:  I think the Women in Cloud Summit was so great on so many levels, so congratulations to everybody on that event. It was lovely. But it was hilarious because it was like, I saw more people that I worked with say 10, even 15 years ago, that I haven't seen in about five or six years at that event than I have in forever because it was like we were all concentrated together and I was like, every time I turned around and I was like, oh my goodness. There was a lot of Aahh! Which was so cool. So yeah, that's, that's so awesome. And I know with the WIT Network, you have a big amazing event coming up.

Christine Bongard:  We do, we do. So it's International Women's Day on March 8th. . And that's something, you know, by the way, International Women's Day has been around for hundreds of years and for some reason the US has been slow to pick up and celebrate that.

Heather Newman:  We've been slow on a few things around the women's movements I think.

Christine Bongard:  So since we branded, you know, our own name, we thought, okay, let's have a, you know, let's put a flag in the ground on an event that we can do every year. And so this year it's going to be in Kansas City. And we picked Kansas City strategically because first of all, it was central to the US and we thought, you know, lots of people can come in from all directions and also Kansas City has a massive tech hub. And I don't know, I don't know that people know that, but it really does. And there's a huge group, Kansas City Women in Tech there. I think in multiple studies it's ranked the number two city in the United States for women in technology. So we thought, you know, that's a real nice place to launch this event. And, we'll move it around every year. You know, we'll take a vote after this one and find the next city, that will be good. But we're coming together for, I like to just say simply put education, inspiration, collaboration and celebration, right? So we want to be educated about what's next for women in tech, what should everybody be doing? What are some practical, real things that women can do when they leave this conference to start to try to make a difference? We want to hear inspiring stories. We want to collaborate with each other. We've got a great mentor circles event on Thursday night. We're all going to be working together to do some problem solving and then we want to celebrate, right? We have done a lot, even though every survey, every research report that comes out is still showing declining, not even stagnant or slow growing declining numbers for women at the top, in CEO positions, on the boards, on leadership teams, getting promotions, salary, everything is still going down. So I don't want people to get discouraged by that because movements take a long time and we have to keep at it, right? But we have done a lot and especially in this industry, I mean I'm seeing a lot of great change happen all over. So we want to celebrate that. We want to make sure we take time. They always say that, right? When you're, you know, you have all these goals, you're moving along and everybody's always like, well, I didn't do that. You know, I haven't didn't get that yet. I didn't quite get there. I didn't hit that number. I didn't lose those pounds. I didn't, but what did you do? Right? You always have to stop and say, let's be proud of what we have accomplished. So it's going to be a day of that. I can't wait.

Heather Newman:  A lot of people have a celebration journal or a gratitude journal and I think, you know, on an individual level, that's great. But I think it's also really, really powerful to celebrate together. So that's really exciting.

Christine Bongard:  Yeah. So we're excited. So, you can go to our website thewitnetwork.com and then there is a conference page and it has all the speakers we have, we have, oh my gosh, we have like, I think over a dozen sponsors, right? So companies like Microsoft, obviously they're one of our founding sponsors, Cisco, NetApp, New Signature, Jabra, Robert Half, Live Tiles. I mean, the list goes on and on, and I love it because it tells me we're doing the right thing when all these companies are rising up to support you. It's like, okay, yep, this is right. Right? This has to be right. And then we have a great speaker lineup and there's too many to mention here, but you know, they can go to the website and see everybody that's slated to talk and it's, we going to have a CEO panel. I'm doing a fireside chat with Coco Brown who is the founder of the Athena Alliance. And she's, that organization is all about coaching and helping women get on more corporate boards and she's at her fingertips, has a ton of research, so really looking forward to speaking with her. And then we have a SHEnovators panel, which is a program we created.

Heather Newman:  A Sheno, say it again.

Christine Bongard:  She-No-Vator. Instead of innovators SHEnovators. And it's going to be young students in high school that are doing great things with technology. Like I want to be inspired by them, right? The next generation. So we're excited about that. So, it's just going to be a great event. I can't wait.

Heather Newman:  That's wonderful. And there will be, and we talked a little bit about this, of course Microsoft Inspire is coming up and there's always a presence there. So, more to come looking at the website.

Christine Bongard:  More to come. We've been involved with the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference for six years as I mentioned. And we try to put on a lot of different events to help to help people there. Not just women, but men also. We'll do a mentor circles event on Sunday. We usually host a happy hour event on Monday. We'll have a leadership session. And then we have the big charity luncheon which we hosted last year. We had, we broke records. We had over a thousand people. And I introduced Satya Nadella on stage, so it doesn't get better than that.

Heather Newman:  That was so awesome! And Gavriella Schuster, she's such a wonderful, you know, sponsor of all of these things. And you know, as a female executive at Microsoft has always been a champion for all of this. And then, and what happened, everyone was that, you know, there was a planned, you know, panels and talks and all of that stuff. And then there was this surprise at the end and our surprise was, you know,

Christine Bongard:  Well, we knew about it.

Heather Newman:  Well you did.

Christine Bongard:  Nobody else knew about it and I want to let everybody know he was there because he wanted to be there.

Heather Newman:  Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.

Christine Bongard:  I got an email, I got an email by the way that said, Satya Nadella is interested in speaking at your WIT luncheon. Is this something you would be okay with? And I thought, oh my gosh! What?

Heather Newman:  You're like, oh no. I mean, of course.

Christine Bongard:  I know. I was just like, umm wait a minute. You know, is this real? But, yeah, and, you know, he had some scheduling conflicts and they were going to pull him out actually at one point. And when he found out about it and you know, he pulled his team together and he said, no, it's very important for me to be at that luncheon. I want to speak to that audience. I want them to know this is important to Microsoft. And right there he had me. Like that was just a class act. And, you know, he's an amazing leader. So I feel fortunate to be a part of a community where he is changing the dial for lots of things. But I do want to just stop for a second. You mentioned Gavriella and she is our executive sponsor. We would not be here today without her. She has made a lot of stuff happen for us. She's a leader. She's a friend, you know, to many of us and she is so inspiring. She believes in what we're doing. She holds us up, she guides us, you know, and it's just, it's great to have somebody like her who is leading the way, paving the way, and just inspiring us in so many different ways to take this group and make it the best that it can be for our community. I feel very fortunate to be able to consider her an advisor.

Heather Newman:  Oh, that's amazing. And yeah, it's, it's great. You know, Microsoft has a great tradition of, of that. And, you know, it's really, it's wonderful to see sort of the next and the next and the next iterations of things that go along. And, you know, speaking of, you know, Satya and men and allies and all of that I think, with the WIT Network and everything that I think I've ever seen you all do that, you know, there's always been, you know, the look at allies, you know. We were talking before we started the podcast a little bit about, you know, inclusion versus, diversity versus like, you know, for women and women only and that there's, you know, like, I think leveling up the conversation, you know, the diversity is sort of what we are and who we are and inclusion is how we work together. And knowing that, you know, with the WIT Network, I mean, I've always seen, you know, there's men at the charity lunch and there's, you know, all of that. So having it be women in tech, it's about women in tech and their allies. If you want to put the parentheses on the edge of that. Will you talk about that a little bit?

Christine Bongard:  Yeah, no, I mean, we've said really from the beginning, this isn't, we're not going to do this alone. And the more that men understand the challenges we face or where we've been, what our stories are. I can't tell you over the past two years, how many men have approached me to say like, what is this all about? Help me to understand, right? They had never heard some of the stories. They're, you know, everybody is in their own bubble. And so it's, it's hard to know what's going on around you, right? But when they start, and lots of women have told me this too, the same exact experience. Men will have asked them, tell me the story, like, what's going on, what's behind this? And then when they hear it and they get it, you know, they say, oh my gosh, like how do I help now, you know, what can I do to help? And so changing the dial is not going to happen from us being in a bubble and trying to do it by ourselves. It takes listening, you know, to understand. Right? And then understanding how can men and women take action to make change. When you're at a meeting and you're sitting around and there's 12 dudes at the table - ask, why are there no women here? Are there people of color in the room? You know, the studies all show that every output from a collection of people that are more diverse is going to be a better output because of that diversity in the room. Better profits, higher revenues, better customer satisfaction, higher stock price, better employee satisfaction. And so if I were any man or woman in a room and I saw the scales not, you know, tipped in the right way, you should question it. Let's make this group better. And so I think the more that men understand that, right? Because they're just used to it, hey, I'm the only, all dudes in this room. I'm used to that. Then the more people start to question, I think then change will soon follow. Right? So yeah, men are welcome. Men are welcome at the meetings. Men are welcome at the events. Men are welcome on the webinars. And I have, you know, I'm fortunate to have such a lovely advisory group of men that help coach me with everything that I'm doing with women in technology. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Heather Newman:  Yeah, absolutely. And in a lot of the events you know, Women in Cloud and at Inspire, and at our other Microsoft events, the Ignite Conference last year there was great to see a lot of, you know, male leaders bringing their teams and attending with them.

Christine Bongard:  David Willis being one.

Heather Newman:  Yes. David Willis. You know, like he's amazing. And so, it was, I see a lot of our SharePoint partners because that's the world that I play in. They'll bring their teams, not just send their teams, like, hey ladies, go to this, but it's, hey, let's all go to this. And then we all hear. Then we all can have a dialogue. Then we all can have conversations about this stuff. So it's not just go and run off to your, you know, women's thing. It's, let's go to this because it's important to us as a business, as a country, as a global community.

Christine Bongard:  Yeah. I mean, I think that's something that's really going to challenge us as an industry is that this diversity initiative is huge. I worry that there are a lot of companies and people that are just trying to check a box, you know? And that they're the companies that are going to say, yeah, let's just send people to a seminar and say that we did it, right? That's not it. What you just said, let me go with my team. Let me get educated. Let's work together on solutions. That's where the magic will happen.

Heather Newman:  Yeah, absolutely. We talk a lot about is it in your DNA? Or are you bolting it on? And you know, it's like with anything movements and you know, there's a lot of interesting things happening in our own country and have been for a little while, but the women's movement has been around for a hundred years. It's not like this is new. We stand on the shoulders of giants, people with the ERA and all the right to vote and all of that stuff. So, it's been going on a long time, but that doesn't mean it doesn't evolve and change and that there's a new bandwagon of, hey, let's make sure we're doing these things. And I do like the fact that in, you know, all the things that you put out, it is about the WIT Network, but it's in this umbrella of inclusion and diversity, you know?

Christine Bongard:  Yeah. When we formed, we did think about, you know, do we go broader with a name that is more specific, less specific and more focused on the bigger picture. But we got some counseling from Gavriella and some other leaders that said, you know what, there's so much to be done just still yet for women. Focus on that, you know, focus on that for now until that's dry and there's nothing more to do, you know, then you can move on to some other, other groups. But I think what we're going to do is we're going to lead with the, you know, the issue of women in tech. And then as a result, some of those programs will become more broad for other diverse groups. And we, we start to really pave the way, make it easier for other diverse groups to follow. So I think that's really, you know, that's really our plan. I had wanted to be more, you know, broad, but they said, you know what, it's better to, there's just so much work to do just be a little more focused and stick with this and you know, who knows where we'll be in a year or two from now, right.

Heather Newman:  Yeah, absolutely. And I think with your programming too having programs that are about certain things inside of what you're doing, that also makes it, you know, a larger umbrella.

Christine Bongard:  That's right. So for instance, you know, we have some webinars, we're titling them Be Your Best. And so we have one that we're doing with the founder of the National Association of Women Sales Professionals, right? She's going to talk to women about what makes women unique at sales and how women can use some of those characteristics and traits to make them better salespeople, right? So that's very specific for women, but we're going to do other programs on unconscious bias, which is for everybody, right? It's helping everyone learn and understand the biases we may all have that we don't even realize. You know, I have a great example of that. They say, you know, you see those ads for positions and it will say are you a rock star and come join our team and other, well, I read it, you know, I read a report and it said, you know, women will never respond to that kind of an ad, right? Like rock star, first of all, women don't see themselves as rock stars. Typically, this is just generally speaking, not for everybody, but typically women don't associate themselves as a rock star. And so, they would kind of maybe like shy away from, from an ad that sort of said that. Now, the funny thing is I used to write ads that said that. So, when I read this, I went, oh my gosh! Right? So that, you know, it's things like that you just don't even think about. And so we're going to run a program on that to try to help open the eyes, educate people on, on some of the biases. So our programs are going to go back and forth.

Heather Newman:  That's awesome. Yeah. I had a conversation with another gal that was on my podcast to Alicia, Dara, who is a public speaking coach and all of that. And I, when I think I introduced her, I said, I called her a bad ass. And she said, I love that you just did that. And I said, what's, what? And she said, well, I just wrote a piece about why I don't like women being called bad asses. And I was like, awesome, let's talk about that. And so we had this really interesting conversation of, you know, it's like if you look at a book by, is it Jen Shapiro, it's like a how to be a bad ass and then wonder woman or the Rock Star, or whatever, it's like, you know, there's so much of how words are important and how we call things and what the, I guess if you want to call it the patriarchal grid, you know, that we all sort of live in and it's, it's like how, how are we conditioned, you know, even, you know, at an event where you call people, you're up on stage and you call people "guys" the whole time and you've got an entire room full of women and it's like, well, what do you say, ladies? Or people or humans or, you know what I mean? So, it's this interesting like shift, I guess, in how we talk to each other and how we say things. And I think everybody is learning, you know? And hopefully people aren't getting, you know what I mean? It's hard though. With people like somebody who has been marginalized or people that have been taken advantage of. It's like those, there's very strong feelings there. We were talking before we were podcasting a little bit about working in this space and how it's not, it shouldn't be easy necessarily, but sometimes it's not because you're trying to understand and put out the right things and also not make mistakes in those ways. And I know you struggle with it too.

Christine Bongard:  Be sensitive.

Heather Newman:  Being sensitive and all of that, so, yeah.

Christine Bongard:  Yeah. No, I mean, I think we're just calling attention to a respect in the workplace that is long overdue and for all groups. And also, you know, the whole initiative of just bringing more balance to management teams, you know, to C-Suites to help make the company's better. I mean, really, at the end of the day, there's, there's just no evidence that shows it hurts. It only helps. So for me,

Heather Newman:  We want to see those numbers just keep going up and up.

Christine Bongard:  Yeah, exactly. Like it's all positive, right?

Heather Newman:  Oh, I have a final sort of question for you. So, I am very interested in sort of moments and the micro and macro moments of our lives. We've got big ones, right? The, you know, people graduating, marriage and deaths and all of that and you know, those big things that change you and move you along. And then the smaller ones that maybe are some sort of a spark. Do you have something, a spark or something that has happened when you were like, yes. And it, it sort of validated where you were, who you are, the path you're on. You know what I mean? Like, I'm sure there's been a lot of them, but is there one that stands out? I guess.

Christine Bongard:  I think this is what you're looking for. So, yeah, I was a female, this tech startup and I was with my client and we were actually in New York City, downtown. They were a, you know, a stock brokerage firm and they were moving into a new space. And so they asked me to come with them to help do the plan out for all of the networking stuff. And we were all standing around in a circle, right. The building owner and the architect and the construction and the electrical, the plumbing, and you know, I was there representing the tech. And so we were in a circle in this hollowed out space. And one of the men actually went around the circle to shake everybody's hand. And when it came to me, he skipped over me.

Heather Newman:  Oh Wow.

Christine Bongard:  To dismiss me, I assume because I was a woman and you know, finished his way around. So a couple of the men looked at me like when it happened to say, uh-oh. Because after they saw my face. So I waited until he got back into place and then I walked over to him and I said, I'm Christine Bongard nice to meet you. And I shook his hand and then men started clapping. And for me, I don't know if that's what you were looking for, but that sparked in me, this has got to change. Because that's atrocious and it's not respectful. It can't be tolerated. It wasn't necessary. Like there's just a million things about that that was wrong. And I think when that happened, like I still remember it and it was 15 years ago or however long ago it was, and I'll never forget it, but to me, that's why I do what I do right? Try to help influence the world in small ways. It doesn't have to be this big. And that's why I try to coach people. This movement is going to happen by everybody doing something small every day, you know? And that action that I took, hopefully, you know, changed him and maybe not him, but other people saw it and those other people I know were going to never let that happen again. And so, you know. Yeah. What, and I just, I thought to myself, yeah, we have to continually be calling things out and in a professional way. You don't have to be a jerk. I wasn't a jerk to him. I didn't treat him badly after that. And so, you know, when you see stuff, call it out. And that's why I say, when you're at a meeting and you look around and there are all men there, you know, ask why. I was, I had dinner with a Microsoft exec a few months ago when she told the story that she went out to a client, they invited her out and, a partner, a Microsoft partner, and she went out to meet with them and she's, she went into the board room and there were 22 men in the room and her. So she walked in and she looked around and she said, can anyone tell me what's wrong with this picture? And they all stared at her and she said, nobody knows what's wrong with this picture? And they all sat there in silence. So she said, hold on a minute. So she left the board room and she went out onto the floor and she found a young woman and she said, can you come with me for a minute? And she brought her into the room and they pulled up a chair and she said, you know, please sit down. And the woman sat down and she looked back at everybody and she said, now do you see what's wrong with this situation here? And they were like, uh-oh. And she said, I don't ever want to come back here to this again. Like, and meanwhile she went home and her husband said to her, you see that every single day when you go out, you have seen this for 20 years. Why today? Did you, you know? And she thought about it and she said, I don't know. I just, I just couldn't stand it. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. And her husband said to her, I know why. Your daughter is graduating college and it's hitting you. She is going to be facing this. It's still, you've been dealing with it for 20 years and now your daughter is still going to be dealing with it. And she was just like, that was it. So that was her spark. She's like, I'm done with this. So now every meeting she goes to, she, the first thing she has her admin tell the partner, I'm not coming unless there are x number of women in the room. And that's how she's going to change it. And Gavriella has some changes that are coming, and everybody has to look to say, how, what can I do to try to enforce some change? So I'll leave everybody with that, including yourself and you're doing great work by talking to people about it. And that's really what we need to do. We just need to share stories. These stories are impactful. Right? You get it. You're like, oh my gosh. And so we need to tell the stories and we need to work together to try to make change.

Heather Newman:  I love, thank you for sharing that. That's exactly what I was looking for. So, but you know, it can be so small, you know what I mean? Like there's the times when it needs to be large and grandiose and all of that, but I think on a day to day basis, on a moment to moment basis these things, these changes, these words can be simple and one thing. And thank you for sharing that story. And sharing that executive story. That's amazing. So, people can find information at the W I T wit network dot com. And how do people find you socially in the world?

Christine Bongard:  So, we're on Twitter at TheWITNetwork, and we have a LinkedIn company page, The WIT Network so they can find us all of those places. And we have a great membership for people to join. And I also want to encourage one of the things that we're starting to get some really great momentum with, if you'll allow me a minute to announce this just because we're seeing, you know, people are really liking this. We have these corporate memberships. So we just signed one with New Signature right? They're an award winning Microsoft partner. And we just did a whole blog up on it and a social campaign about it because, so what they did is they purchased a set number of memberships to provide to their women employees. So women on boards to New Signature, they get a packet and they get a whole brochure on you've now been enrolled on The WIT Network and they get access to all of our programs as part of, you know, part of being employed at New Signature. And now we have three other ones just as a result of that. We have three other ones now that we're onboarding. So that's an opportunity if you're a small business owner, a medium business owner, one of the things that we want to do is try to help them. They can't afford chief diversity officers, right? So how do we, you know, how do they go about making their place a more diverse workforce or getting educated and coached? The WIT Network can kind of step in and help them in that way. So that's another branch of something that we're doing. I just wanted to mention that. So they can find us there and they can connect with me anytime. If anyone has any questions, cbondgard@thewitnetwork.com.

Heather Newman:  Yup. B O N G A R D. Cbongard, we'll put everything in the show notes as usual so you'll know where to find her for sure. And if you're looking for that International Women's Day event that also up on that site. Tickets are still open but it's going fast.

Christine Bongard:  Yeah. There are probably only like 50 tickets left.

Heather Newman:  Yay. That's awesome. Okay, well cool. Well, my friend, always a pleasure.

Christine Bongard:  Pleasure. Right back.

Heather Newman:  Ahh, thank you so much. And it's great to see you in your city.

Christine Bongard:  Yes. In New York City. Come visit again.

Heather Newman:  I will of course. So everybody, thank you so much. That is another episode of Mavens Do It Better. You can always find our podcast up on iTunes, on Stitcher, we're on Spotify, we're on Google play, and we're on our website mavensdoitbetter.com. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at MavensDoItBetta. B E T T A. And wishing you another beautiful day on this big blue spinning sphere. Bye.

Heather Newman

Creative Maven, 8710 Graton Road, Sebastopol. CA 95472, United States

Heather Newman is an award-winning marketing maven, technology entrepreneur and an epic connector that brings many worlds together. She has extensive experience marketing products and services for Enterprise businesses, startups and emerging markets. Heather builds plans and processes that are nimble, human and different. She is an adept storyteller and is passionate about growth for both employees and the corporate bottom-line. Heather hails from the arts and the bulk of her career has been working with the largest technology companies in the world (Microsoft, Google, Amazon, NetApp, Hewlett Packard, and Dell). Her nineteen years of experience working at technology companies and building global high-tech marketing strategy has driven millions of dollars of revenue and multiple award-winning campaigns. She has led global marketing teams for many technology companies including AvePoint, IT Unity & KnowledgeLake. Heather was a part of the original Microsoft SharePoint Marketing team. During her tenure, she helped launch multiple versions of the product, build the SharePoint Partner Ecosystem and conceived of and produced the first three Microsoft SharePoint Conferences. Creative Maven has produced thousands of global marketing campaigns and events. Currently CM is focusing on go to market strategies for Microsoft and its partners as well as a new site sister site launching in 2015 called Marketingfixer.com. Heather also serves as Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Content Panda, an innovative technology startup looking to actively disrupt how content is delivered inside software.