On October 13, Cornerstone celebrated Ada Lovelace Day – an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Ada Lovelace Day aims to increase the profile of women in STEM and, in doing so, create new role models to encourage girls to explore STEM careers and support women in STEM.
Cornerstone first celebrated Ada Lovelace Day in 2019. It was a huge success, creating such a strong sense of pride and accomplishment that we decided to make it a much bigger celebration this year!
Here’s how Cornerstone employees (aka Cornerstars) celebrated #ALD20.
CTO Mark Goldin kicked off the celebrations
Cornerstone’s Chief Technology Officer Mark Goldin kicked off the Ada Lovelace Day celebrations with a Facebook Live session welcoming and encouraging Cornerstars around the globe to participate, celebrate, and focus on inclusivity.
Mark said it well: "Inclusivity is everybody’s issue." At Cornerstone, we strive every day to create an inclusive environment because we want everyone’s full participation and we need to hear everyone’s ideas so we can keep developing innovative solutions for our customers.
Mark ended his talk with this Ada Lovelace quote capturing the learning mindset so deeply embedded into Cornerstone’s culture: "Understand well as I may, my comprehension can only be an infinitesimal fraction of all I want to understand."
The Extraordinary Power of Diversity — a Live Q&A
Organizations that embrace Diversity & Inclusion in all aspects of their business see increased levels of innovation, productivity, employee engagement, employee retention and overall better business outcomes. But it doesn't mean that it's easy to achieve!
It’s why in this session, hosted by our D&I in Tech committee members, we explored the extraordinary power of diversity, and discussed how to advance D&I amongst Cornerstone teams.
Participants explored the importance of equity, using this quote from D&I expert Verna Myers as a starting point for an interactive discussion:
"Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance."
This example resonated with participants: If diversity is being invited to the party and inclusion is being asked to dance – then equity is ensuring everyone invited to the party can get there. It’s about looking at any initiative and distributing resources in a way that creates better outcomes for everyone involved.
The conversation went on to explore how to address microagressions, the verbal or behavioral indignities that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally, communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative attitudes towards marginalized groups.
Important side note: On a recent HR Happy Hour podcast interview, Sarah Morgan, CEO of Buzz-A-Rooney described microaggressions as multiple paper cuts. On its own, a papercut doesn’t hurt so bad but piled up one after...they’re painful. Sarah noted that people with one or more marginalized identities experience 5-10 microagressions per day. The harm is real even if it’s unintentional.
The Extraordinary Power of Diversity talk closed with a call to get involved in DEI initiatives:
Educate yourself. Do the work to challenge your biases. Learn, learn, learn (no short cuts!).
Rethink and reframe the stories you tell yourself. Stop using the talent pipeline as an excuse for not creating diverse teams. It’s not just about "hiring the best", which just results in what Kara Swisher famously calls the mirror-tocracy; it’s about hiring and creating diverse teams of people with different experiences and stories from yours.
Be inclusive.Develop your emotional quotient (EQ). Practice empathy and build relationships.
Get involved. Connect with Employee Resource Groups in your organization. Explore opportunities to provide support in your community. Mentor others.
Diversity, inclusion and equity builds more productive and innovative teams. Looking at DEI from a technology perspective, the diversity of our teams should mirror the diversity of the society we build technology for.
Celebrating Cornerstars in STEM
Throughout the day Cornerstone employees from across the globe were profiled in our internal and external social channels and celebrated for their unique perspectives on embracing DEI. Here are a few words of wisdom from these amazing Cornerstars...
Fireside Chat with Barbara Furlow, Global DEI Leader at Facebook
Ada Lovelace Day celebrations included an inspiring fireside chat with Barbara Furlow-Smiles, a global DEI leader at Facebook.
Cornerstar and chat moderator Payal Shah kicked off the conversation by asking Barbara to share something she is most proud of. For Barbara, it’s the behavior change in people – when a comment, talk, or presentation changes the paradigm. That shift in thinking is what it’s all about!
Barbara said she "took her pain and made it a purpose." She didn’t always feel like she belonged. But there are two perspectives: you can fall victim to those feelings, or you can take them and turn them around.
That analogy resounded throughout the day’s sessions and celebrations: Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging is "like a dance." Think about it as a dance party: Who's invited to the dance? Who’s dancing? Who’s busting a move on the dance floor? And who are the people who weren’t asked to dance or weren’t invited?
DE&I is about connection. It’s about getting comfortable with getting uncomfortable. Step outside your comfort zone and understand who others are and walk in their shoes. The ABCDE approach – Always check in, Be bold about who you are, Constantly call people in, Detect the cracks, and Embrace flexibility – puts the accountability on yourself to check in and reach out to others.
To end the session, Barbara shared her "brag sheet" and gave attendees an opportunity to get uncomfortable with themselves. She shared the 4 Gs to own your greatness (Greatness, Growth, Go for it, Grateful):
What are you great at?
What are your strengths?
What is a growth area?
What is something new you’ll try today?
What is something you’re grateful for?
Barbara asked attendees to consider these questions for self-reflection and growth, and we challenge you to do the same.
STEM Trivia, a Talent Show and Coding with Kids!
Ada Lovelace Day at Cornerstone ended with some interactive learning and networking opportunities!
A group of Cornerstars played STEM Trivia: 5 rounds, 5 categories including Science, Tech, Engineering, Math, Women in STEM.
Questions ranged from: What does a ribosome do? (It synthesizes proteins) to who was the first female game programmer? (Her name is Carol Shaw!) It was a fun way to bring Cornerstars together and test our STEM knowledge.
Cornerstars also participated in a DEI Talent Showcase – sharing their unique talents with performances covering stand-up comedy, slam poetry and so much more!
And with coding becoming one of the most in-demand skills across all industries, we invited Cornerstone employees and their children to join a fun learning session introducing the basics of coding.
Honoring the life and legacy of Ada Lovelace
Ada Lovelace, notably the first computer programmer, paved the way for women in STEM. At Cornerstone, we’re committed to continuing to pave that path, amplify the female voices in STEM and create a diverse and inclusive environment for every Cornerstar.
Learn more about steps your organization can take to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce by visiting Cornerstone Cares, a free website filled with online learning content about topics that are exceptionally timely, critical and evolving day by day – including how to recognize and mitigate unconscious bias in the workplace.
Interested in a career at Cornerstone? Visit our Careers page to see our latest openings on the engineering team and elsewhere, and to learn more about our culture, our people and what it’s like to be a Cornerstar.