By Katy Spence
On a snowy evening last week, 55 men and women from Missoula-area tech companies gathered on the third floor of onX’s Missoula building to discuss diversity and inclusion topics in the workplace as well as network with other professionals.
onX CEO Laura Orvidas opened the event with a reflection on her own journey and the importance of building strong networks and tackling diversity issues head-on.
As the event began, participants could choose from 10 stations around the room that each featured a different topic relating to women in the workplace. For 15 minutes, groups discussed issues such as Gender Communication, Maternity/Paternity/Parental Leave, and Inclusion Tactics for Brainstorming with Men and Women.
Kym Corwin, ATG Director, Production Success & Expert Services, worked closely with Rachael Caldwell, onX Producer – Brand Team, to coordinate the event. Corwin said she was excited at how successful the format was in fostering conversation.
“Each time the timer went off to indicate changing to a new topic, discussions had to be interrupted,” Corwin said. “We didn’t see anyone waiting around for the next group to start — everyone was actively discussing and participating. It was great.”
After participants had a chance to visit three discussion stations, the open networking portion of the evening began. Employees from onX, ATG, LumenAd, Partners Creative, ChickTech, LMG Security, Audience Awards, AT&T, Montana High Tech Business Alliance, University of Montana, Submittable, ClassPass, and Women’s Foundation Montana mingled and often continued the discussions that had started at the various stations.
Corwin said this was an important event because both men and women actively participated in discussions relating to women in technology, and pointed to a need for future events.
“Both men and women need to be part of the conversations in order to make change,” Corwin said.
If you are interested in learning more about atgSHE or other ways you can get connected, please contact Kym Corwin (Kymberly.Corwin@atginfo.com) or Rachael Caldwell (Rachael.Caldwell@onxmaps.com).
About the Author: Katy Spence is the Communications Director for the Montana High Tech Business Alliance. She worked previously with the Missoula Current and Treesource, and has an Environmental Journalism Master’s Degree from the University of Montana.
About the Publisher: Launched in 2014, the Montana High Tech Business Alliance is an nonpartisan nonprofit association of more than 350 high tech and manufacturing companies and affiliates creating high-paying jobs in Montana. For more information, visit MTHighTech.org or subscribe to our biweekly newsletter.