This International Women’s Day, We’re Celebrating Mentors

For women in STEM, mentorships level the playing field and accelerate careers.

Graphic of women throughout the world.

by Suzanne Steele

posted on 03-04-2020

I am passionate about mentoring. My career path wasn’t always so linear or so traditional. While that could have relegated me to the sidelines — even if just in my own mind — I was fortunate to have incredible mentors shining a big, bright light on what could be. No matter where I landed or what I wanted next, there was always someone inspiring me, guiding me, and making sure I knew I could do this — to take that next big leap or, simply, feel confident to stand up and speak out.

Now, I try to pay it forward with an eye on ways we as an organisation — and myself, as a STEM leader — can help diverse doers and dreamers accelerate their careers and achieve their goals. By doing this we’re not only helping future leaders, but we’re shoring up the future of work for Adobe and for our industry: companies with formal mentoring cultures have 20% lower turnover and produce 46% higher-quality leaders.

The power of mentorships — and this year’s International Women’s Day

That’s why I’m so keen on focusing on mentorships and championing the next generation of female leaders for International Women’s Day (IWD). Celebrated worldwide on 8 March, IWD is the perfect moment to stop, reflect, and see what we can do as individuals and as a collective global community to promote gender diversity, inclusion, and equality. It’s also an ideal time to look at where we are and where we’ve been, celebrating women’s economic, social, political, and creative achievements over these last 12 months.

To mark the occasion, Adobe Australia and New Zealand are hosting events in our market, where senior leaders will gather along with those they mentor — incredible, innovative young men and women, ready to find their voice and step into all that comes next. I can’t think of a better way to mark IWD than by talking about and promoting mentorships, and actually providing a backdrop for mentors and mentees to come together and think about what’s next.

Keeping the IWD spirit going all year long

Our IWD events are just one way Adobe supports gender diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Our Adobe for All initiative has been a central tenet of the organisation for years, with a focus on creating a diverse, inclusive, and innovative workforce. As we’ve seen over and over — and as endless research supports — diversity isn’t just good business, it’s good for business. Diverse teams make better decisions and are more likely to increase market share. They’re more profitable. They’re more likely to attract top talent.

Much of our work on the gender diversity front has involved promoting women in STEM which, historically, has been a challenge industry-wide. In a recent study, 91% of women in STEM said gender discrimination is a career obstacle, and 100% say self-doubt and a lack of confidence are barriers in their career paths.

To support these women — talented, creative women starting and advancing their careers — Adobe has introduced a number of initiatives including our Adobe Research Women in Technology Scholarship program. This global initiative recognises outstanding undergraduate and masters-level students studying computer science, awarding them a $10,000 stipend and connecting them with an Adobe mentor plus an opportunity to interview for an internship.

For current employees, we also offer extensive on-the-job training and mentorship opportunities along with networking, skills training, and other programs including the new Australia and New Zealand Chapter of the Adobe & Women Network, to attract, develop and engage our community of women at Adobe.

Together with one of our greatest points of pride — achieving global pay parity and kicking off opportunity parity — we strive to create an environment where anyone and everyone has an opportunity to create, thrive, and excel. And our work hasn’t gone unnoticed: in 2019, Adobe was named a Best Place to Work in Australia for the seventh year in a row, due in part to our fair-pay practices, family leave and benefits, and a deep focus on the community at large.

Promoting women in 2020 and beyond

As we look ahead to International Women’s Day and the future of women worldwide, I’m excited for all that comes next. More and more women are stepping into global leadership roles, and that’s boosting bottom lines while reinforcing the power of female leaders. Women are also assuming roles in more corporate boards which, likewise, is making those enterprises more successful, more profitable, and more productive.

And, of course, I’m eager to see what comes next from this dynamic generation of up-and-coming female leaders. We’re committed to continuing and even deepening our work with women in STEM and beyond so, together, we can ensure these next-generation leaders are ready for all that comes next.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Topics: Diversity & Inclusion, APAC, Women Create, Celebrating Women