NEW YORK -- Women in Comms (WiC), the not-for-profit, independent initiative providing information, networking, mentorship, access to jobs and support for women in the next-gen communications industry, has announced that nine leading telecom companies, including three of the world's leading global communications service providers, will be joining it when it formally launches in January 2016. The companies are Intel, Nokia, Sprint, CommScope, Fujitsu, SAP, Ciena, AT&T and Vodafone Americas.
"Sprint understands that our leaders and employees need to mirror our diverse consumer base. As we continue to grow and change as a company, diversity in all its forms is a top priority. It's an exciting time to be a woman in our industry, and we still have a lot more work ahead," said Tracy Nolan, Sprint president and general manager of Illinois and Wisconsin. "We're proud to support independent organizations like WiC that provide a platform for women in the next-gen communications industry."
Sharing similar sentiments on the significance of WiC, AT&T Distinguished Network Architect Margaret Chiosiadded, "It's crucial to invite, cultivate and retain women in STEM jobs. As a woman working in technology, I see a desire and need for us to tap into those opportunities to make an impact. This is why AT&T joined Women in Comms. Through this organization, I look forward to meeting and working with other women in STEM fields to promote STEM education and careers."
In 2016, Light Reading and its esteemed partners will join forces to address the well-documented gender imbalance in the communications industry, working to connect women, build up the pipeline of qualified female candidates, provide mentorships for women in the workplace and scholarships for college-level women. WiC will strive to empower women currently in the industry and, ultimately, create a work environment that's better and more equitable for women.
Women in Comms will hold quarterly networking breakfast events throughout the year in the US and London, including a one-day conference and jobs fair dedicated to women at Light Reading's BIG Communications Event in the spring. The group will also hold regional meetings, connect women who are early in their career with mentors from the industry, provide a scholarship to a young woman pursuing a degree in the STEM field, honor leading women with industry awards and much more.
By joining WiC, these founding members are demonstrating their authentic commitment to gender diversity and inclusion in the next-gen communications industry. They are complementing their own internal and external efforts with an industry-wide partnership that will ultimately bring about a lasting change for the better. "Technology is relevant for everyone in a connected world, and the development and prioritization of solutions must reflect this by engaging women as well as men," said Jane Rygaard, head of advanced customer solutions and partner marketing at Nokia. "Investing in WiC demonstrates the importance Nokia places on ensuring innovative women are fairly represented and engaged in the workplace."
Light Reading began hosting WiC networking breakfast events ahead of its own conferences in the fall of 2014. Recognizing the opportunity to have a larger impact, Light Reading has underwritten the "pre-phase" expense of launching WiC. At the beginning of 2016, WiC will become a completely self-funded not-for-profit supported by WiC membership.
WiC expects to announce more than 30 member companies in early 2016, including the world's leading service providers, vendors and web-scale companies.
For more information and to join Women in Comms, please contact WiC Director Sarah Thomas at [email protected] or 913-486-9358.