One of our goals at Index is to foster active communities of allyship to support all Indexers, across many spectrums. A large part of how we do this is through our employee-led affinity groups, including the Index Women’s Network.
Index Women’s Network supports women within our workplace and the work they accomplish, while fiercely advocating for their growth and encouraging mentorship and allyship. I spoke with its leaders, Sara Vincent, managing director, UK, and Amelia Ward, senior director, buyer development, about the group’s mission, what they’ve learned, and their tips for how we can all be better allies.
Simone Payne-Powell: What’s the mission of Index Women’s Network? What have you done, or plan to do, this year to further that mission?
Sara Vincent: The mission of the Index Women’s Network is to build a group within Index that empowers, propels, and supports all of our female employees and allies.
This year, we’re going to build on the success of our Connect program, which is an informal monthly group meeting to discuss a topic that’s relevant and meaningful to our members. We’ve created this safe space to share insights and learnings and to support each other.
We’re also building out our formal program schedule, which will address challenges women experience in the workplace. We’re planning to engage external speakers as well as some of the incredible talent here at Index.
Amelia Ward: In APAC, where I’m based, our goal is to connect the women of Index across the region and allow for them to have a safe space to chat and share experiences and challenges.
We’ve had some incredible speakers already this year who have coached us on how to de-stress and set boundaries, as well as gain insight into the experiences of women in data and technology.
Globally, we just held a session, “Untold Stories,” with our chief customer officer, Jessica Breslav, and chief marketing officer, Lori Goode. It was a grounding experience for all of us to hear everyone’s stories about empowerment, successes, and lessons learned.
SPP: Why did you join the Index Women’s Network?
AW: I am a fierce believer in empathetic leadership and supporting women. I wanted to make sure I could contribute to Index in a meaningful way that would help to support and inspire my fabulous APAC colleagues, both women and allies.
SV: I have been lucky enough to experience the power of a network in helping further my career and personal life, and therefore recognised immediately the importance of this group at Index. The Index Women’s Network is crucial and shows unconditional support for others, which is very powerful.
SPP: What’s a key takeaway you’ve learned from participating in this group?
SV: Sharing personal insights and experiences has been very useful across the group. To know you are not alone, that others have experienced similar things to you, and most importantly, have overcome those challenges, is very empowering and helps drive the group forward.
AW: I agree. Being vulnerable is very powerful and has the ability to create really strong connections amongst the group. Being vulnerable as a leader, where many people look up to you, is even more powerful.
SPP: What are a few things someone can do to be an ally to your community?
AW: Forbes contributor Sheree Atcheson states that an ally is “any person that actively promotes and aspires to advance the culture of inclusion through intentional, positive, and conscious efforts that benefit people as a whole.”
Allies come in many forms, but I believe that the most important attribute an ally can have is empathy. Think about your mother, sister, grandmother, aunt—what would she want you to do, and how would you want her to be supported? That’s how you become a true ally. Advocate for women, share their growth, listen, and support them.
SV: Allies play such an important role in our success. By recognising behaviors that are not conducive to female involvement or by making room for a female colleague to speak or finish their point, allies can help change interactions and outcomes at work.
Education and awareness are very powerful drivers of change. The more we’re aware of bias or inequality in society, the more we can do to change it.
We look forward to continuing the great work of Index Women’s Network and welcoming more allies.
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