If gender diversity and equality stand a chance in the workplace, we’re going to need everyone to get involved — and that includes men. And based on our latest report on male allies, almost 88% of respondents said they want to help women advance in the workplace. But of the 400 men who took the survey, 56% said they’re simply not sure how.
Fortunately, Bill Bloom, the Executive Vice President of Operations, Technology, Data & Analytics at The Hartford, has worked diligently to bridge the gender gap — and his involvement as the executive sponsor of the company’s Employee Resource Group focused on the advocacy and advancement of women — Professional Women’s Network (PWN) — is one prime example of his commitment.
When he’s not engaging men as allies at the company through “visible sponsorship,” Bloom says he actively mentors high potential talent at the company “with a heavy focus on women in technical leadership roles.”
We recently spoke to Bloom about his sponsorship of The Hartford’s Women in Technology group, the talented female leaders he works with, and his valuable advice for helping men establish their allyship.
How long have you been with your company? What about it made you first want to join?
It’s been five years since I started working at The Hartford. I joined because of the attitude and culture — everyone I met with was incredibly optimistic about the company’s future and their focus was on how to make the place and each other better.
What are your main job responsibilities, and what about your role most excites you?
I’m responsible for our customer service operations, technology, and data & analytics across the company. I’m most excited when we find ways to apply new digital, AI and analytical modeling technologies and techniques to our business in order to create better experiences for our agents and customers.
While we’ve made progress toward achieving a more gender-balanced workforce, there remains a lot of work to be done. What kinds of actions do you incorporate into your day-to-day routine at work (or beyond) to serve as a male ally?
I spend a lot of time personally mentoring several of our highest potential talent — with a heavy focus on women in technical leadership roles. I’ve also sponsored the creation of a Women in Technology initiative at The Hartford, as well as a program to teach women from other areas of the company how to code. Additionally, I learn a lot and hopefully give a lot as the executive sponsor of PWN, one of our nine employee resource groups.
What kinds of longer-term initiatives are you participating in to advance gender equality at your workplace (whether an employee resource group, mentorship, etc.)?
Through PWN, Women in Technology and active mentoring, The Hartford enforces a stewardship culture in which we’re making the place better and leaving it in stronger hands as we move on. It’s a play for the long-term growth of our company and our people.
Do you believe your company is a particularly supportive place for women and women of color?
Absolutely — and you see it across the organization with talented women in some of our most important roles! This includes our CFO and Head of Small Commercial & Personal Lines, and some of our most technical roles, too, like our CIO, the Head of Infrastructure and Head of Architecture.
What’s your #1 tip for men who want to be allies to women at work but aren’t sure of what to do or where to start?
Be your authentic self. If you believe the company will be better as a place where everyone — and I do mean everyone! — can thrive, look for your spots to help move your area in that direction.
What was the best quality of the best boss you’ve ever had?
Direct, decisive and grounded in doing what’s right for the company.
What’s the most memorable piece of career advice you’ve received?
Be the kind of person others want to see succeed.
How are you getting other males within your organization interested in becoming male allies?
Visible sponsorship — every day!
Learn more about an exciting career at The Hartford.
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