People around the world celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8 as an opportunity both to reflect on achievements and to inspire actions that accelerate gender equality. At Blackbaud, we love this conversation!
This year’s theme, #BalanceforBetter, acknowledges that building a gender-balanced world means stronger economies and thriving communities. We asked some of our colleagues to talk about gender balance in their professional lives—what that looks like, why it matters, and how they strive to create the best work environment now and in the future.
Here’s what they said:
Kathy Wilkes, Senior Event Marketing Manager, Charleston, United States
“I am fortunate to manage events in my profession that focus on promoting a gender-balanced world. It’s an extremely powerful thing to create experiences that steer meaningful discussions, celebrate the advancement of women in leadership, and spark action in this company and the Charleston community. Blackbaud is determined to help build a better world, and I take great pride in sharing that responsibility while also doing what I love.”
Sandra Luther, Head of Customer Partnerships, Blackbaud Consumer Solutions, London, United Kingdom
“I’ve had strong female role models throughout my life. The struggles they faced to achieve a seat at the table paved an easier path for me and my generation. Each day I use my voice to encourage those who did not have those examples to participate. Look around and ask, ‘who else should be sitting here with me?’ It takes everyone working together to make and sustain positive change.”
Odessa Jenkins, Vice President of Client Support Services – YourCause, Plano, TX, United States
“I wake up every day with a commitment to my own personal core values—values that are driven by balance, inclusivity, transparency, and collaboration. I believe that in order to truly strike balance in the workforce, or in the world, women must have the courage and freedom to be unapologetically true to themselves. I am an ambitious, black, lesbian woman. I walk proudly in that existence every day, but I never use who I am as a weapon. My diversity is a strength, and I constantly draw upon it to influence transparency and collaboration from others. This has allowed me to create an environment in my career and personal life where people spend less time counting their differences and more time using them to achieve shared goals. The men in my life encourage me to be strong, because they recognise that my strength is not a sign of their weakness. I want what they want. I want to do well and achieve the highest levels of success. I actively seek to propel, stretch, and lift people up in every interaction I have. I am a woman who is and will never be afraid to ROAR!”
Pascale Harvie, Managing Director, Blackbaud Consumer Solutions AU/NZ, Melbourne, Australia
“I want a future where girls and boys believe that anything’s possible—and we don’t disappoint them. As women, we are now doing things our grandmothers only dreamed of. In our roles as leaders, we need to make a conscious effort to create work environments where women can thrive. Gender equality is not a battle of the sexes; it’s about men and women working together to create fairer and more equal work environments.”
Husna Siddiqui, Software Engineer, Charleston, SC, United States
“My mission is to advocate for equality for everyone. Being surrounded by a diverse group of people with various interests, experiences, and racial and cultural backgrounds helps to nurture beautiful relationships that enable us to be successful. As a software engineer, I collaborate with an incredible team to develop tools that drive social good. I’m involved in outreach opportunities that promote technology and participate in recruiting so that I can continue to drive diversity and cultivate new experiences.”
Blackbaud’s commitment to empowering female leadership is a focused and continually expanding effort. The company has an equal gender balance in its workforce and has been recognised for its efforts, including being named by Forbes as one of America’s Best Employers for Women and one of the AnitaB.org 2018 Top Companies for Women Technologists in 2018.
We are proud to celebrate International Women’s Day and look forward to continuing this important work.