Talking All Things Inspiration with Lady Pitch Night Keynote Speaker Yvonne Wassenaar

Katrina Jefferson
  • By: Katrina Jefferson
  • Posted: October 1, 2015

You’re not only a CIO at New Relic, but also an executive sponsor for the company’s non profit and diversity program! Can you tell us a bit more about that program & the cause the non profit supports?

A great company is about a lot more than making money. It is about making an impact and making the world a better place at the same time. I came to New Relic because the broader executive team shares this passion with me, and as an Executive Sponsor of our community citizenship efforts, I work to turn ideas into action and impact.

New Relic employees have always given back in a grassroots way to a wide number of non-profit organizations. Fast growth, however, can take a toll on the best of intentions. I set up our more formal company efforts to compliment and amplify the grassroots work in a scalable and sustainable way. Today at New Relic we focus these efforts in two ways:

  • Our Software – our Non-Profit program provides free & significantly discounted products to all qualifying organizations
  • Time Spent – our Data Nerds 4 Good program allows all of our employees 2 full days of paid community service time a year to spend with an organization of their choice.

In alignment with our company values, our approach is one of democratization versus dictatorship. Rather than deciding how our employees give back, we encourage them to embark on charitable efforts they’re most passionate about.

My experience shows most people agree that diverse leadership teams and companies have a better probability of success. Yet, the Tech space does not follow this best practice. The diversity gap is large on many fronts: gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and the like.

Part of what attracted me to New Relic is the diversity I see in the company and its culture. And, it is clear to me that New Relic is starting from a position of strength in some areas of diversity. For example ~ 40% of our top executive team are women. Yet, it is also clear that there is much more work to be done and that we are only on the start of our journey.

As Executive Sponsor of Diversity we are putting in place broader company efforts to complement the strong grassroots foundation that has existed since the company’s inception. Our goal is bold – it is to be the leader of diversity in Tech. Our motivation is to provide greater opportunities and success within New Relic, to create a broader set of role models for the community,  and to share our successes and challenges openly with others.

Thank you for supporting our efforts at Lady Pitch Night USA! We know you like to support organizations that help inspire women. Why is helping other women important to you?

A lot of people helped me get to where I am today.   It is now my time to pay it forward. When I survey the world around me, the data shows good intention is not enough.   We need to turn desired outcomes into actions that move the needle in meaningful ways. I intend to do my fair share to make that happen now.

It becomes clearer to me every day that with the acceleration of change in the world around us, there has never been a more important time to increase the number of women in leadership and Technology.

  • Women bring the needed innovation, collaboration and team focused skills
  • Women are known for their thoughtful stewardship of community
  • Women are around half of the potential work force

Unfortunately, as I look at the data we are a long way from where we need to be in perspective:

  • The number of female CIOs has been holding constant around 14%, increasingly better — the larger the company: 17% of F500, 24% of the F100 and over 40% of the F10
  • Female founders up from 10% in 2012 to 18% in 2015 is well short of 50% it should be
  • While some STEM fields are showing improvement in regard to women; others are not. For example, female computer science graduates have dropped from 37% of the graduating classes in 1985 to 18% today.

Change requires we come together in innovative, agile and collaborative ways. I am excited to be a part of driving this change with so many other passionate leaders out there. Together we can and will make a different and more positive future for our children and generations to come.

Can you tell our audience what your topic is for our upcoming Lady Pitch Night SF event?

Look around and it is clear the world is rapidly changing around us. The days of companies being the leaders in their respective industry for decades on end are over. Only those companies and those leaders who actively and effectively embrace change and innovation will thrive.

My talk is on how to be/stay relevant in this rapidly changing world as a business and even more importantly as a leader. Come dig deep as we discuss the root causes that make change and innovation hard and how you can address them successfully.

With so many successful female entrepreneurs out there, we have a lot to be inspired by. What words of encouragement can you provide to anyone aspiring toward their entrepreneurial dreams?

Bring authenticity, integrity and hard work to the table and you will succeed.   The power is not in the end outcome of your current venture but in your over arching mission and journey. Free yourself of the fear of failure and realize you are already succeeding. Believe in yourself, take risks, encourage feedback and never be too proud to ask for help or support.

Thanks Yvonne for a meaningful chat and we can’t wait to hear you at Lady Pitch Night SF!

One thought on “Talking All Things Inspiration with Lady Pitch Night Keynote Speaker Yvonne Wassenaar

  • mp3juice says:

    Your style is very unique in comparison to other people I’ve read stuff from.
    I appreciate you for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess
    I will just book mark this blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *