Nourishing the Pipeline for Tomorrow’s Women in Tech

Despite the national conversation about gender diversity, we continue to see women underrepresented, underpaid and often discriminated against in the tech industry. The pandemic appears to be setting women in the workplace further back.

Last year, Cindi Howson shared a blog about the value diversity brings to teams and organizations, why women opt out of the tech industry, and the need for multi-faceted solutions to change the status quo.

Today, we know that diversity is critical across all sectors because it enables organizations to create better offerings that consider everyone. A report from McKinsey finds that diverse companies not only perform better, but hire more skilled talent, have more engaged employees, and retain workers at a higher rate than companies that do not focus on diversity and inclusion.

At ThoughtSpot, we are passionate about contributing to impactful change and partnering with organizations that share our mission of improving diversity and inclusivity across organizations and local communities.

Addressing the Pipeline Problem: How to Get More Women in Tech

Last year, ThoughtSpot sponsored our first data workshop alongside the girls + data organization. The girls + data mission is to increase data literacy, pique interest, and provide exposure to non-coding careers in technology. They accomplish this through hands-on workshops that focus on different topics and activities in the data analytics field.

Girls plus data ThoughtSpot workshop - February 2020

By sponsoring and volunteering for an organization like girls + data, our goal here at ThoughtSpot is that we may tackle the pipeline challenge and spark an early data interest among middle school girls.

Among the many volunteers that support the girls + data organization at ThoughtSpot, one of the most passionate champions is our Chief Data Strategy Officer, Cindi Howson. She considers last year’s workshop as “one of [her] most important workshops of the last decade because these are our future professionals where data is part of everyone’s job. Some [students] will be artists, some will be scientists, some will be doctors.”

We spent time with the girls + data team to hear directly from them on what fuels them to volunteer in their spare time for the organization and their favorite aspect of volunteering.

Kira Wetzel,<br>Founder of girls + data:

“I started girls + data because data is everywhere, and we need to be able to build and attract a diverse pipeline of future data professionals to help us make sense of it. We focus on not focusing on teaching students how to code but instead teaching them the important life lessons they need to know as citizens in our constantly growing digital world. I love seeing all of our students learn, but I tend to find extra enjoyment in observing the group of students that don’t understand data or didn’t want to attend initially, organically start asking more questions about data throughout the workshop. In just a few short hours, we have effectively turned them into data analysts. The other aspect I love about girls + data is meeting amazing data professional volunteers across the country. Our current team never ceases to amaze me, and the fellowship at events is one of the biggest things I miss in 2020.”


Becca Nock<br>Director of Event Operations: 

“I started volunteering with girls + data in September 2018 because the organization was offering an opportunity to middle school girls that I wish I had when I was that age. I always knew I wanted to work in healthcare, and growing up, I thought that meant that I needed to become a doctor or a nurse. I had no idea that health informatics or healthcare data analytics even existed. I enjoyed math in middle school and high school, and I even completed a minor in Economics while in Nursing school because I liked problem-solving and modeling. I didn’t know that there was a way to combine these things with my interest in working in healthcare until grad school. My older brother studied computer science in college, and I thought I wouldn’t be good at coding or like a job in tech because our personalities are very different. I want girls to grow up knowing that there are a lot of different types of jobs in data and tech and that almost every job will use data in some way in the future.”


Girls + Data & ThoughtSpot volunteers - 2020

Last month, we sponsored our fourth event with the girls + data organization; but this time virtual! The girls + data team didn't miss a beat by pivoting their hands-on in-person workshops to virtual ones while still maintaining their winning formula of fun yet educational.

During this event, the girls + data team led students through the importance of data across multiple industries, how it's collected, and the roles typically found in the data and analytics field. Following the lecture, the students were split into breakout rooms for a hands-on ThoughtSpot session with our ThoughtSpot volunteers (Sofie GardenAaron BroxNeil ColemanJames Alexander). The students learned how to leverage ThoughtSpot to search for hidden insights around their names and accumulate them into a Pinboard.

To wrap the event the students were able to present their findings and practice their data storytelling. As volunteers, we were so impressed with the students' level of data fluency and their ability to correlate these insights into a captivating story. 


Be the change you wish to see

  • Get involved with one of the three girls + data chapters: Madison, WI; Atlanta, GA; or Memphis, TN

  • Volunteer on the headquarters team in curriculum development, marketing, and social media, or operations

  • Register your middle-school aged daughter for an event or encourage others to join us

  • Donate

  • Follow girls + data on social media and share updates with your network