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Under The Wing

Celebrating International Day of the Girl

by Llanee.Anderson on ‎10-11-2016 08:09 AM (3,099 Views)

International Day of the Girl


International Day of the Girl, celebrated on October 11, recognizes girls’ rights and the unique experiences and challenges that girls face around the world. International Day of the Girl increases awareness of gender inequality and inequity in access to education. Empowering girls requires the active support and engagement of their families and the wider community, which is why the observation of this day, the initiative, and the positive action around it is so important.


As part of its diversity and inclusion initiative, Brocade’s Women In Networking (WIN) employee resource group (ERG) partners with community organizations that drive girls towards STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Some of our outreach efforts include presenting at conferences like Dare2BDigital, which provides STEAM (STEM plus Art/Design) exploration through hands-on educational session; bringing girls on Brocade’s campus through the SPARCS program in Minnesota; or spending the day with young girls at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose to inspire them to pursue careers in technology. Because Brocade is committed to increasing the representation of diversity in tech education, Brocade has developed a signature program, Teen Tech, where we have hosted nearly 100 12- to 15-year-olds in a 5-day experience to teach them what it’s like to work in a high-tech company.


WIN’s leadership speaks of their personal insights in celebration of International Day of the Girl:


“I’m proud to work for Brocade. From my first day over a year and a half ago to now, I’ve always felt like I’ve been celebrated for who I am, and for what I bring to the table. As a girl, I never thought that I would end up working in tech – or even that the opportunity existed. At Brocade, we’re not just talking about focusing on increasing girls’ interest in STEM, we’re actually working towards it. We focus on making personal interactions that will last a lifetime. My favorite days at work are when I have the opportunity to talk to young girls and actually show them that they can work in tech too. As our CEO, Lloyd Carney says ‘You never touch someone so lightly that you don’t leave an impression.’ I like to say that’s what we are doing in a positive way through our STEM outreach programs.”

-Llanee Anderson, Diversity & Inclusion Specialist


“As a mother I hope my daughter can embrace all of the possibilities that life has to offer.  With her creative spirit, confidence and passion for learning she can direct her future and reach for her dreams.  I hope that she continues to dream big and never lets her gender, race or economic status inhibit her prospects.”

-Libby Souter, Senior Director Finance and WIN Co-Chair


“When I was a girl, I wanted to be a singing star.  I also felt I had no limits for what I could be or do.  While not a singing star, I do feel privileged in how I was raised with a good education and the idea that I could be whatever I wanted.  As a result, I have such a creative and varied career that gives me the opportunity to make a great impact.  I know this is not true for all girls around the world, so my hope for the future is freedom, creativity, and opportunities to be whoever girls want to be.”

-Joni Podolsky, Leader of Global Diversity & Inclusion and WIN Co-Chair


“It’s incredibly important that we continue to encourage women and girls to pursue careers in technology and the sciences. The diversity of thought, background, and life experiences make our workplace and our lives that much richer. I’m honored to be a part of this effort at Brocade and will continue to be a shameless promotor in our workplace, in our schools and colleges, and in our industry as a whole.”

-Mitch Anderson, Sr. Manager, Services and Support


“When I was a little girl I fully believed I could be whatever I wanted when I grew up. I thought I’d be a veterinarian or a soccer player, but never thought I would work in technology. I went to business school because that’s what my mom did – she was always a big role model for me, as the working parent in our family. When I got an opportunity to work at Brocade I took it because I thought it would be good work experience, but little did I know it would also inspire me to encourage others that they can be whatever they want, even in STEM. I’m proud or Brocade and WIN for consistently working towards creating more opportunities for everyone.”

-Laura Howland, Product Manager, Business Operations


“When I was girl, I grew up in an environment where my voice was being heard. I was given an environment of candidness and competitiveness which gave me the opportunity to think outside the box and expand my wings. I knew this was not true with all my girl friends and classmates, they had lot of restrictions. Now being a woman, I feel privileged to be raised in that kind of open environment and wish I can extend the same to my kids, girls and fellow women.”

-Manjula Mahajan, Director, Information Technology


“When I was a girl I was a “jock”, I took it very personally when people said I couldn’t play a sport as well as one of the boys, and you better believe I took them to task! As an adult I find that I do not feel that injustice as personally, as I have learned to surround myself with supportive and inclusive people to build my lifelong team. As my childhood hero Mia Hamm said, ‘I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.’”

-Shelby Khan, Digital Media Manager, Social Media


“As a new Brocadian, I was thrilled to find out about Brocades’ dedication to improving diversity including WIN  and other ERGs.  I love working in diverse environments and believe we can deliver better outcomes through teamwork, collaboration, and enablement of one another.  As a young girl, I thought everyone had access to education and parents that encouraged their aspirations and successes.  As a woman, I learned not all young girls and women are that lucky.  I am blessed to have had access to quality education and an environment affording me the ability to continue to learn, grow, and contribute through challenging roles of increasing responsibility. “

-Cara Bilinski, Director, IT Operations and PMO