Women@eBay lead on diversity and inclusion

For our Women in IT Awards New York 2020, we spoke with inspirational women shortlisted in the Diversity Initiative of the Year category. Next in the series is Trina Williams Limpert, president of Women@eBay.

Trina Williams Limpert was named president of eBay’s Women@eBay in July 2019 taking the lead in continuing the incredible work lead by Ishita Majumdar. The community is a network for women working at eBay to promote diversity and inclusion at all levels of the organisation. While women make up 40% of eBay’s workforce, women represented 32% of leadership positions and 23% of tech positions as of 2018.

As Trina took the role as president in 2019, 12 of eBay’s 31 sites around the world had an active Women@eBay chapter. Today, there are 21 active Women@eBay chapters and growing. The membership ranks have also swelled, from 20% of female eBay employees at the end of 2018 vs 31% (1,500 members) today, highlighting the impact Trina’s position is having.

She has received a string of recognitions, including Women Tech Council’s 2015 Impact Award, 2017 finalist for Women Tech Awards, and 2019 recognised for “Diversity Program of the Year” by the National Women in Tech organisation.

In 2019, the Rise Up, Lift Up programme was initiated by Trina to narrow the gender gap in leadership and tech. Her consultation with renowned experts in women in leadership led to her book, How Women Rise, written by leadership expert Sally Helgesen and bestselling leadership coach Marshall Goldsmith.

International Women’s Day (IWD) in March 2020 will see Helgesen and Goldsmith speak at an eBay-wide event in addition to the training programmes launched by Trina. These will be live-streamed to all eBay sites – the first event of this magnitude to be hosted by Women@eBay.

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What is rise up, lift up?

The programme represents a complete re-engineering of the training programmes for both women and leadership teams, and after six months has already swelled the ranks of women active in the Women@eBay network and has nearly doubled the number of engaged sites worldwide.

Trina added three technology-specific tracks to the women’s training programme, focusing on design, product and engineering, to attract and enable more women in tech roles. Since the Rise Up programme is only six months old, impacts on promotions and women in tech have not yet fully materialised. However, women see the value in the programme, as evidenced by a dramatic rise in participation and engagement in Women@eBay worldwide.

The training programmes are available to women at all 31 eBay sites, regardless of whether there is an active local chapter. More than 1,000 women have already participated in the various programme offerings throughout 2019. eBay is committed to giving back, and Trina has ensured that her programme supports diversity and inclusion both inside and outside of eBay. The programme has included the following offerings:

GLAM (Girls Leadership Academy Meetup) programme

In July 2019, eBay hosted GLAM (Girls Leadership Academy Meetup) at its San Jose headquarters, where 60 girls aged 8-12 learned about computer coding, business development and leadership. A quarter of the girls came from underserved communities in the area. One of Women@eBay’s most successful and impactful programmes is their Girls in Tech Coding Camps held throughout the summer each year to educate employees’ daughters.

In 2019 Women@eBay held camps at four sites, educating over 150 girls, and will add additional locations in 2020. The coding camps have been so successful that eBay now helps other companies set up their own.

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MotherCoders programme

Trina is partnering with MotherCoders.org to help mothers transition or re-enter the workforce in technology roles. Trina is also partnering with local Mayors’ Diversity Offices to identify minority women and help transition their career into tech. Altogether, Women@eBay has run 11 community programmes within 2019 that impacted 1,128 participants around the world including Girls Inc, Coding Camps for Youth, and various other outreach programme’s focused on recruiting individuals into the technology industry.

How women rise

In addition to the technology training programmes, Helgesen and Goldsmith produced the ‘How Women Rise’ book, describes 12 specific habits that can get in women’s way of rising to leadership positions.

The 12 habits are prescribed after the authors confirmed that the limiting beliefs and behaviours that hold women back from going higher up the corporate ladder are very different from men.

This insight caused Trina to realise that there may be unconscious biases baked into the company’s leadership training and mentoring programmes, since they were the same for both men and women, even though women face different roadblocks than men. The leadership development programme focuses on enabling both male and female leaders in understanding how to engage with their female workforce.

Customised training programme — unconscious bias

Trina enlisted diversity expert Sara Jones from InclusionPro to create a tailored training programme for Women@eBay, based on the 12 habits in How Women Rise but customised for eBay (the Rise Up part of the programme). In parallel, she created a customised training programme for members of eBay’s leadership team to raise awareness of areas of potential unconscious bias (the Lift Up part).

Visit RizeNext.com for additional resources in developing Women in Leadership initiatives.

For more information about the Women in IT Summit and Awards, click here.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...