Sit With Me

Empowering Women in Technology

CHALLENGE

“Technology’s Man Problem,” cries the New York Times. “Why We Need More Women in Technology,” argues Forbes. And from Business Week a more troubling trend: “The Rise of the Brogrammer.” Today technology is more important than ever, but half our workforce is being left behind as IT advances. While efforts are underway to attract young women to the field, little has been done to keep technical women from opting out at the mid-career point. How do we keep them engaged? The National Center for Women & Information Technology, in partnership with Google, turned to BBMG to create the first national platform targeting mid-career technical women.

INSIGHT

Too often in male-dominated technology companies or departments our female colleagues are not invited to lunch. They find themselves forgotten or listed last on emails. Passed over for promotions. They also struggle with unforgiving maternity leave policies and the lack of subsidized child care. No wonder many leave the field just as they’re beginning to make strides. But there is hope. As one female engineer said, “All we want is a seat at the table to start the dialogue.” Sometimes, we realized, you have to sit down to take a stand.

SOLUTION

We named the platform “Sit With Me” to honor the invitation from these mid-career women. Sit. Listen. Learn. Let’s share stories, experiences and work together—both men and women—to create a culture and set of products and services as diverse as the population we aim to serve. It’s not a gender issue; it’s smart business.

We made an iconic red chair (the classic Navy Chair by Emeco) the living symbol of our campaign, deploying dozens across multiple locations.

In addition to developing the concept, creating the campaign identity and producing a comprehensive toolkit with companion videos, BBMG refined the “Sit With Me” platform in a series of co-creation workshops with academic and corporate partners. This strategy helped ensure the initiative would be readily adopted by a diverse set of organizations large and small, and it worked.

IMPACT

“Sit With Me” launched on International Women’s Day with integrated support from the global HR teams at the world’s leading technology companies: IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Google and Facebook, to name a few. Since then, hundreds of “Sit With Me” events have taken place around the world, capturing images and stories about how and why women should stay engaged with technology. At Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg committed to making the “red chair” part of a permanent installation in the social network’s new office. The campaign continues to earn praise and gather momentum.

“BBMG’s campaign is deceptively disruptive. The red chair is brilliant. It’s an artifact. It concretizes the abstract. It forces you to have a conversation. Sometimes you really do have to sit down to stand up for what you believe in. The response has just been overwhelming and we are so grateful to our friends and partners at BBMG.”

Lucinda Sanders, CEO and Co-founder, National Center for Women & Information Technology

 
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