Not everyone can say they work at a company that’s making strides to be a leader in empowering women. CDW coworkers are a rare exception, though. The company’s Women’s Opportunity Network (WON), a business resource group (BRG), is on a mission to help CDW foster an inclusive culture where women are actively engaged and can realize their fullest career potential. By providing resources and facilitating connections, WON is laser-focused on ensuring that women at CDW succeed, while also driving the company’s key business objectives.
If you think this sounds too good to be true, we hear you. To get a sense of what this group actually looks like, and how they go about walking the talk, we checked in with WON’s Board of Directors. Christine Holloway, VP of Healthcare Sales and WON Executive Sponsor; Hilary Malina, Senior Counsel and WON Co-Chairwoman; and Tara Barbieri, Director of Capture and WON Co-Chairwoman filled us in on how WON is transforming women’s career experiences — and also shared their No. 1 piece of advice for job seekers.
How and why did you first get involved in CDW’s Women’s Opportunity Network?
Christine Holloway: I have a passion for the development and advancement of women in IT and at CDW. I was impressed with the level of commitment and investment from CDW’s executive leadership (both men and women) to this BRG, so I was confident that the time I was investing would be taken seriously and have an impact.
Tell me a bit about how the Business Resource Group (BRG) works.
Hilary Malina: WON is our largest BRG with a board of directors, executive committee sponsors, and six committees. We have five committees that focus on planning programs and events throughout the year, each with a different focus area and target audience, plus a logistics committee.
Our three goals for 2018 were to:
(1) Provide development activities that impact professional and/or personal growth;
(2) Increase opportunity for connections with key influencers (internal or external); and
(3) Increase our impact on an overall inclusive culture at CDW and within our communities.
Events and programs vary over a broad range, and have included speaker panels, trainings on a variety of business topics, networking events, a business-focused book club, a quarterly newsletter, and charitable events. Between the committees and the board, we consistently run over 30 events and programs each year, including our signature event, our annual Women’s Summit providing a full day of professional development for approximately 200 coworkers each fall. Our committees are required to align each of their events and programs to one of our three strategic goals, so that they are producing maximum impact.
What has WON accomplished that you’re most proud of?
Tara Barbieri: In 2018, we made a deliberate effort to partner with other BRGs at CDW and host combined events. Every other affinity group also includes women: African Heritage Network, MARC (military & allies), ABLE (focused on supporting differently abled coworkers), and so on. We saw this as a way to both support broader inclusion efforts throughout the organization and provide impactful content to women who aren’t necessarily members of WON.
What’s the #1 thing you think your colleagues should know — but probably don’t know — about CDW’s Women’s Opportunity Network?
CH: The Women’s Opportunity Network drives results. There are numerous examples of women who have become better at their current job, better prepared for their next role and successfully earned that new position, and have remained CDW coworkers because of the value and relationships formed from being a part of WON. All of this makes CDW a stronger, more successful organization. Additionally, because of the investment made in WON and the results it drives, CDW has earned recognition for being a place that supports and promotes the advancement of all people, including women.
What’s your #1 piece of advice for women who are looking for jobs right now?
CH: Consider positions that will broaden your experience and add value to an organization, not just those that are the next level up. Truly great leaders have a both broad and deep expertise. And when you’re interviewing for the position you want, make sure you speak about your accomplishments and the results you achieved in quantifiable terms. Leaders want to know that you can focus, prioritize and achieve measurable results.
HM: Don’t underestimate the power of creating and using your network when looking for a new job.
TB: With the unemployment rate being pretty low, job seekers these days might have more options and even multiple offers. Before starting to interview, write down the elements of a role or company that are most important to you to avoid getting wowed by a cool perk that you hadn’t expected. Rate the companies and leaders you interview with on a scale so that when you’ve got more than one offer, your objectivity informs your eventual choice.
If you’re on a mission to land a new job in the new year, and all this talk about WON resonates with you, you’re in luck: CDW is hiring for several positions! This is your chance to grow your career at a company that’s not only passionate about advancing women — but is also walking the talk.
Fairygodboss is proud to partner with CDW. Find a job there today!