Rewind to January 2020, four members of the IT Ladies group attended the European Women in Tech conference in Amsterdam. They later shared their learnings from the conference at our first event, which was themed around Women in tech, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The event comprised units from Security to Solutions and it officially kicked off the community. After that, we hosted several morning breakfast events on topics such as success stories and learnings from books we had read. Interest was growing and so did the group, which had reached 30 members by the time the pandemic hit.
We didn’t organize any events during the pandemic but we kept the group alive and engaged by sharing and discussing remotely. In December 2020, we decided to organize our first remote event called “Magnificent mistakes”, where women shared their failures and vulnerability. It was very emotional and inspiring to hear stories from different people including the management, and the feedback was great. Hearing management sharing their mistakes lowered the threshold for others to do the same. It motivated us to continue because when there is a will, everything is possible, Sofiya says.
At the beginning of 2021, Lulu stepped in to drive the activities forward. She explains: I wanted to focus on creating a psychological safe environment from the get-go. So far 2021 has been our most active year. We organized panel discussions on personal branding and advanced Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion on a KONE level. We broadened our network and made allies within KTI leadership. One of the highlights was the inspirational talk by Tricia Weener, our CMO. She shared the story of her career growth, from horizontal to vertical and international experience, as well as why in the end she chose Finland.
In 2022, we were going through structural changes at KONE, and the activities were put on hold for H1. We were however able to make the most of the second half of the year. We organized a sauna and cocktail evening with no specific topic but spent time getting to know each other better. In addition to increasing employee satisfaction and engagement, we organized an empowering session on wellbeing. The focus was on mental and work wellbeing. It is a privilege to witness the impact the community has on its members, some of whom are even now hosting their own podcasts.
As I am now stepping in to drive the activities in 2023, our vision is to have a more lively community, get more internal stakeholders and increase the participation rate, Sofiya says. We aim to expand the community and our allies within KONE, such as with the ITEC Women’s Council in KONE India, as well as increasing the leadership management topics.