By: Melissa Monahan, Campus Recruiting Lead.

Last year marked State Street’s 14th year as the presenting sponsor of the Annual Massachusetts Conference for Women, which celebrates, supports, and encourages women and their contributions to the workplace. Traditionally, the event is held at the Seaport Conference Center in Boston where women – and some men – from different industries and from different locations gather in person, all with the same goal: to foster connections and support women in the workplace. Due to the pandemic, the conference was held in a virtual setting; and yet, the energy and passion participants brought to the event was still present – helped along by the excitement surrounding the keynote speaker, artist Alicia Keys!

Cultivating Inclusive Workplaces Still a Challenge

The theme of the conference really resonated with me: “Powered By Purpose: Achieving Equity for All.”  By now, it’s no secret that cultivating a diverse workplace through a variety of inclusive practices creates a more productive, engaged, and profitable organization.  However, even after the storm of social and political calls for change like the #metoo movement, corporations continue to find themselves challenged when it comes to creating and sustaining a diverse workplace.

Many women and individuals who identify as she/her/hers feel torn between a call for action and a helplessness to enact change; the challenges brought about by COVID highlighted the ongoing gender inequities that still exist in the workplace and in society at large. Mandated quarantines and shutdowns forced many women to choose between focusing on their career or their families.  For tech companies that already feel the disparity of female representation in their ranks, this is sure to create increased pressure to attract and maintain diverse female technical talent.  Women make up 47% of the overall U.S. workforce, but only 25% of the tech industry workforce.  As a talent acquisition professional, I’m keenly aware that companies like Charles River Development – with a continued focus on technology and software solutions – will need to remain competitive and innovative when it comes to attracting female technical talent.

Engaging Sessions and Energizing Speakers

Throughout the course of the online event, virtual attendees could participate in various speaking and networking engagements centered around achieving equity and inclusion for all women in the current workplace.  The great thing about the event being virtual is that the content was available online for viewing after the event as well, so attendees could re-visit sessions.  One of my favorites was “Edge: Turning Adversity into Advantage with Laura Huang.” Another highlight was actually getting to see Kathy Horgan from our very own Global Human Resources department introduce Alicia Keys as the keynote speaker.  The event offered great suggestions on professional improvement literature and an online bookstore where attendees could purchase these books.

Reflecting on the Conference’s Meaning

This year’s theme of “equity for all” is particularly significant and has given me the opportunity to reflect on what it means to be a full-time working mother with a very active toddler who frequently becomes my “desk buddy” for the day.  There have been times during my professional life when I felt hindered because I felt I had to choose my family over my work; however, throughout the course of the various breakout sessions and speakers at the Conference, I felt strongly supported and encouraged.  While the event felt a bit different being online, the conference planners did a wonderful job planning and executing on the logistics of such a large event.  They also did a great job delivering content that supported and bolstered “Equity for All.”

Some of the takeaways for me include:

  • It is up to us to get comfortable having uncomfortable conversations. Remember that people we surround ourselves with should be those who will help drive the conversation and also support us.
  • Seek out mentors/leaders and network with individuals who support you and your professional mobility. In full disclosure, it was not until very recently that I had a manager who actually sat me down and told me, “You can do anything you want here,” and wow, did that feel good.
  • Mentor where and when you can and break through silos.
  • When you get to where you’re going, remember to pave the way for others in your wake; amplify the accomplishments of other women around you where possible.

The 2020 Virtual MA Conference for Women felt like a success.  However, I don’t want the energy from that day to dissipate along with the personal and professional goals I set that day. I hope to carry on that energy so that I and my female colleagues can continue to thrive in the workplace.  I am excited and energized; even when I have cleaned up a spill for the hundredth time in the dining room that now doubles as my office.  I can’t wait to see what next year’s conference will bring!



Disclaimers and Important Risk Information

Charles River Development – A State Street Company is a wholly owned business of State Street Corporation (incorporated in Massachusetts).

This document and information herein (together, the “Content”) is subject to change without notice based on market and other conditions and may not reflect the views of State Street Corporation and its subsidiaries and affiliates (“State Street”).  The Content is provided only for general informational, illustrative, and/or marketing purposes, or in connection with exploratory conversations; it does not take into account any client or prospects particular investment or other financial objectives or strategies, nor any client’s legal, regulatory, tax or accounting status, nor does it purport to be comprehensive or intended to replace the exercise of a client or prospects own careful independent review regarding any corresponding investment or other financial decision. The Content does not constitute investment research or legal, regulatory, investment, tax or accounting advice and is not an offer or solicitation to buy or sell securities or any other product, nor is it intended to constitute any binding contractual arrangement or commitment by State Street of any kind. The Content provided was prepared and obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of preparation, however it is provided “as-is” and State Street makes no guarantee, representation, or warranty of any kind including, without limitation, as to its accuracy, suitability, timeliness, merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, non-infringement of third-party rights, or otherwise. State Street disclaims all liability, whether arising in contract, tort or otherwise, for any claims, losses, liabilities, damages (including direct, indirect, special or consequential), expenses or costs arising from or connected with the Content. The Content is not intended for retail clients or for distribution to, and may not be relied upon by, any person or entity in any jurisdiction or country where such distribution or use would be contrary to applicable law or regulation. The Content provided may contain certain statements that could be deemed forward-looking statements; any such statements or forecasted information are not guarantees or reliable indicators for future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those depicted or projected. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. No permission is granted to reprint, sell, copy, distribute, or modify the Content in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of State Street. 

The offer or sale of any of these products and services in your jurisdiction is subject to the receipt by State Street of such internal and external approvals as it deems necessary in its sole discretion. Please contact your sales representative for further information.

State Street may from time to time, as principal or agent, for its own account or for those of its clients, have positions in and/or actively trade in financial instruments or other products identical to or economically related to those discussed in this communication. State Street may have a commercial relationship with issuers of financial instruments or other products discussed in this communication