Intel’s Patty Murray was a featured speaker at ABI’s Technical Executive Forum during the Grace Hopper Celebration. She shared the company’s diversity journey, highlighting key programs Intel developed to bring more women technologists to every level within the organization.
At the Technical Executive Forum, Patty Murray, Senior Vice President and Director of Leadership Strategy, described a company on an unfinished mission to create a place where women thrive and reach the highest levels of the company.
Over a seven-year period, Intel developed a portfolio of programs and best practices that resulted in improving numbers for women, including the appointment of Intel’s first three women fellows. Intel started by setting the foundation with data including industry benchmarking, external research and perhaps the largest study of women in technical roles ever. Intel used this information to educate everyone from individual contributors to managers and executives.
In response, the company created signature programs for women technologists at every level along the career path: a Rotational Engineer Program to broaden early career experiences, the Command Presence Workshop to help mid-career women navigate challenging technical meetings, and the Women Principal Engineer and Fellows Forum to coach senior women and build their networks. Finally, the company drove accountability by putting tools and processes in place for leaders and managers and tying their performance to results.
Patty shared several lessons from that journey:
- It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
- Let the data guide you but not bury you.
- Ambition – and how it’s expressed – often looks very different in women.
- Isolation affects women’s advancement more than we think.
- Intentional, tailored development and flexibility is critical.
- Women don’t want to be singled out as technical females.
She spoke passionately about the need to view women technologists as an asset that is precious to companies and deserving of protection saying, “Technical women just want to make stuff and get stuff done, but it is a mistake to believe this is a level playing field given the numbers. We protect our unique rights in the Bill of Rights and are proud of that. I believe the same should hold true for technical women – they are rare, extraordinary and immensely valuable to our organization.”
Justin Rattner, former CTO of Intel, agreed saying, “This isn’t a discussion about numbers, it is about how we create an environment in our organizations that is welcoming, encouraging and stimulating to women. We have to stop worrying about strategies that get us a couple percentage points next year and try new sets of ideas that move the needle for women more powerfully.”
Until we reach a tipping point, inclusion must be fought for with constant attention and proactive efforts across companies to leverage the diverse perspectives women bring to technical innovation.