Thank you to Salesforce for hosting the May 15th Harvard Women in Tech fireside chat with Lisa Edwards (MBA 1994), Executive Vice President of Strategic Engagement and Business Operations of Salesforce, and Amy Weaver (JD 1995), President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, General Counsel and Secretary of Salesforce.
The spectacular views were an amazing backdrop for this unique event that brought together Harvard women working in business, legal, and policy roles to learn from each other and share insights on working in the tech industry.
A huge thanks to Premier sponsors Paul Hastings and Simpson Thacher and to sponsor Keker Van Nest & Peters. This event was a collaborative effort by volunteers from HBS Association of Northern California and alumni from Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Law School and steering committee members: Holly Hogan, Mairin Macaluso, Virginia Maloney, Sudha Varadarajan, and Judy Yuan. Attendees enjoyed an engaging candid discussion followed by Q&A.
Lisa, Amy, and the audience discussed topics including:
- Work-life prioritization & time management
- Challenges for career women
- Improving diversity in tech companies and on corporate boards of directors
- How to be persuasive as a woman in business
- Importance of building networks and allies in your organization and over your career
- Mentorship v. sponsorship
Lisa on the diversity of corporate boards:
“There is data that shows boards with more women have better shareholder returns and there is some magic of having at least three women on the board. And this is difficult because the criteria to be on a board has been you need to be a CEO or CFO, which pulls from a pipeline that traditionally doesn't have a lot of women. The good news is more and more companies are looking beyond those traditional roles to join their board. So it not only the right thing to do, but it's also good for the company's returns.”
Amy on evolving the concept of successful leadership:
“We have to look at the fundamental structures of organizations and the definition of leadership. Early in my career, I would attend conferences where they would say you have to lead by banging the table, being the loudest and most aggressive. That is a limited view of leadership. We need to change that model from who can be the loudest to who can be the most effective and get things done.”