Aug 17, 2022
When I attended Harvard Business School back in the mid-80s, there were only 20% women in my class. I often heard my male classmates proclaim not only their desire, but their expectation to become a VP or a CEO within two years of graduating from the program. At that time, I often thought to myself – I would just be happy with a job offer. Little did I know that I would go on to serve in multiple influential leadership roles, and eventually run a multi-billion dollar company. I wish I could go back to my younger self and help instill more confidence and optimism for the future for myself and women in the workplace as a whole.
As many of you may know, March is Women’s History Month—a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture, and society. It has been observed in the U.S. annually since 1987, and as part of this month-long celebration, March 8th is recognized globally as International Women’s Day (IWD).
This year’s International Women’s Day theme is “break the bias” which is something that really resonates with me since the majority of my professional career has been navigating male-dominated industries. I try to always remember what it has felt like to be different and to fight through adversity because it’s made me who I am today, and it also embodies how many people currently feel striving for success in their jobs or within their communities.
Shutterfly has a unique perspective on gender parity. This is not only because I’m a female CEO and the culture I’ve cultivated with my leaders, but also because most of our customers and employees throughout our family of brands are predominantly female. As a company we continue to invest in all aspects of diversity, equity, and inclusion by taking steps to ensure that women are well represented as leaders, managers, designers and throughout our supply chain.
Soon after joining Shutterfly, I adjusted the board of directors to be more diverse. The Shutterfly board is now 36% female (5 of 14), and three of the five women are non-white. And last year, we changed our HR benefits to be more inclusive by expanding maternity leave to include parental leave, adoption assistance, and surrogacy.
In addition, we have an active and long-standing employee Women in Leadership ShuttERGroup established to help create an inclusive and safe community through connection, mentorship, allyship, collaboration, and discussion that empowers women to learn, network, increase their visibility, and build leadership skills.
I sincerely believe everyone has a role to play in forging a more gender-balanced world. I’m excited to acknowledge and celebrate all of the amazing accomplishments of women at our company and in our customers’ lives. Join me here and on LinkedIn as we share those stories this month, and throughout the year. Happy International Women’s Day!