Understanding the relative dearth of women in the comms industry requires following them throughout their career and seeing what happens at each level -- recruitment, entry-level, middle management and the C-suite.
While there are certainly many talented women in the comms industry, the pipeline of female talent tends to leak at each of those levels -- all the way to the top. McKinsey & Co. and LeanIn.org point to three specific areas where the leaks are strongest -- being unable to enter, being stuck in the middle or being locked out of the top, meaning that our industry struggles to recruit women and then also struggles to retain and promote the ones it does have. (See McKinsey: Women Less Likely to Advance at Work.)
Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) Vice President of Enterprise Sales Nelly Pitocco has seen the pipeline problems first hand, but has built an impressive 20-plus year career in the comms industry despite them. She was hired at the wireless operator in early April and joined Women in Comms as a board member shortly thereafter. (See Sprint Appoints Nelly Pitocco VP of Enterprise Sales, Service Providers Debate Workplace Inclusion and Sprint VP Breaks Down Gender Stereotypes .)
Pitocco will now be joining WiC on Wednesday, November 2, at 1:00 p.m. EST for a live radio show on these pipeline challenges, where we will discuss why they exist and what can be done about them. She will also share details of what Sprint is doing to address them within its own organization and beyond, including its role in the One Million Project.
Announced earlier this month, the One Million Project is the carrier's initiative to bring free mobile phones and high-speed wireless connectivity to a million low-income homes in the US with high schoolers that currently lack access.
As Pitocco explains it, pipeline problems actually start at the very beginning. Young children, especially girls, are not often exposed to STEM-related studies and others, especially those in low income areas, lack even a basic Internet connection, putting them at a significant disadvantage. Teachers also typically give out homework that requires Internet access, putting these kids further behind the curve.
"There is a significant amount of boys and girls in inner cities that don't have access, and this will bring them connectivity," Pitocco says of the project. "You have to take yourself out of current environment to understand your options, and we have to give girls the ability to study STEM and understand it's everywhere. It's not that view of the nerdy scientist and geek technologies; it's in everything. Some of the projects and initiatives that Sprint has kicked off will naturally support solving the problems we see in the three [pipeline] pain points."
Tune in next week for more on the One Million Project and Sprint's other initiatives, as well to hear Pitocco's advice for women and companies across the industry. Register right here, and join us on Wednesday, November 2 at 1:00 p.m. EST. See you on the message boards!
— Sarah Thomas, , Director, Women in Comms