Celebrating LinkedIn’s Women in Tech and Mentorship at Grace Hopper 2015

October 9, 2015

While the gender imbalance in the tech industry is prevalent, watching women come together and commit to making change is inspiring. That's why LinkedIn is sending 100+ of our women software engineers, designers, and product managers - along with several of our male leaders - to the Grace Hopper Conference in Houston. I can’t help but feel energized by these women who are the driving force behind our employee-led Women in Tech (WIT) program and who show such inspiring dedication to tackling the gender imbalance in the tech industry.

One of our WIT program’s key focus areas is mentorship. We believe deeply that mentorship plays a crucial role in empowering and shaping the career paths of women in tech. When we connect people with the right mentor or mentee, we’re paving the way for our employees to develop a valuable relationships that can help transform their career.

Our WIT leaders all have stories of how mentors have helped them at key moments in their careers. From learning to embrace a stronger voice in a male-dominated environment, to the importance of working directly alongside a technical mentor, to being encouraged to continue education to fuel growth and new passion for work. It was also clear that confidence is a trait built, buoyed, and strengthened through mentor relationships.

Mentorship is also a two-way street, we’ve seen that when we invest in being a mentor we can also learn valuable lessons. This summer we put this idea to the test by hosting a pilot high school trainee program for software developers. Seven female high-school students were embedded within our Growth Engineering and Horizontal Web Development teams for 10 weeks working on projects like member profiles, URL routes and incorporating Java 8 stream features. At the end of the program, 100% of these trainees declared an intent to study a STEM major. It was an incredible experience for these young women and the teams they worked with.

Next week’s Grace Hopper Celebration is a great opportunity for the tech industry to come together to learn about how initiatives like these can help us to empower women. Follow our hashtags, #LinkedInWIT and #GHC15, and join the social conversation. Together, we can make change happen.