It is a pleasure to introduce you to SIM Women - a network inside the Society for Information Management to promote communication, mentorship, leadership and career development amongst the female members of SIM. My name is Kristen Lamoreaux and I am the group’s Founder.
SIM Women evolved as a result of my attendance at the 2006 Tri-State CIO Event, where I made a point to speak with as many female attendees as possible. In dialoging with those ladies, I discovered that some of the differences between female CIOs and the women who were direct reports to CIOs consisted of soft skills, mentoring and confidence. Post-conference, I continued to reach out to women in technology and found similar trends:
- Women who were direct reports to CIOs clearly stated they would go outside their company and/or SIM Chapter to ask a woman for help versus asking a male counterpart.
- Female members of SIM indicated they did not attend regular chapter meetings often because they believed they’d be one of only a few women there.
- Several member companies inside SIM have mentoring programs for IT leadership, yet many do not have the budget or culture to foster this type of development.
In addition to addressing the items mentioned above, it’s always been a personal goal of mine to increase the diversity inside of SIM. I also believe that each individual needs to actively support the next generation of technology leaders. If we don’t take action, we have no one to blame but ourselves for the diminishing IT talent pool.
In January 2007 we began a phased roll out of SIM Women starting with the New Jersey, NY Metro and Fairfield-Westchester chapters. We added chapters one by one over the course of the next two years. As of today, there are over 1100 SIM members active in SIM Women across the US and Canada. We hold monthly webinars and multiple face-to-face networking events. We bring in executive coaches, successful female CIOs, and networking gurus to facilitate the calls and meetings. An Executive Editor from Computerworld mentioned that this was the first technology conference where she heard, "I love your shoes!” Topics covered in webinars have included: Internal/External Visibility, Personal Accountability, Defining Your Personal Success, Internal Networking/Peer Communication, "Motivate Like a CEO”, Boardroom Bound, and Mentoring Defined.
We have also several programs active inside SIM Women: "Ladies who Lunch” is a networking program for those ladies who are more comfortable in smaller networking groups. "Call a Coach” for those ladies who would like situational Executive Coaching advice, but whose companies may not provide this benefit. "1:1 Mentoring” program connects CIOs and IT Leaders with women who are coming up the IT ranks. Mentoring is a critical success factor in career advancement because it fosters open communication, increases self-awareness, and inspires individuals to new levels of achievement. Not every company has strong leadership development or mentoring programs; SIM Women looks to fill in those gaps.
SIM Women is a women-based vertical inside the SIM organization, but it is meant to be inclusive, not divisive. All SIM members can share knowledge, request help or brainstorm on issues important to them via our events and discussion boards. Success stories can be shared by all involved. We are not looking to form a separate organization, but to bring together the men and women of SIM to leverage our common interests as well as our differences.
We welcome the opportunity to discuss SIM Women with you. If you, or women in your IT organization, would benefit from SIM Women membership, simply contact me for details. "Women Helping Women” is a long-standing concept. We hope you will participate in and benefit from SIM Women. We can’t do it without you!
Founder, SIM Women