Blue Signal’s own female empowerment initiative, BSS Women of the Workplace, has just concluded its best year yet! Founded in 2019, BSS WOW has not only impacted those within the organization, but also the greater community as a whole. With the mission of “promoting the education, connection, and empowerment of women (and those who support women) and their contributions to the broader goals of Blue Signal and beyond,” we’ve supported our goals through several purposeful actions. Despite being geographically dispersed, BSS WOW was able to meet virtually to discuss important topics, bond as a team, and participate in philanthropy.
BSS WOW Learning Opportunities
This year, we did an activity on gendered language in the workforce where we examined the unintentional yet inherent biases that many work-related terms hold. By examining these terms and their biases, we as a team were able to better understand equity and how we can combat gendered bias in our communication with clients, candidates, internally with colleagues, and externally as a whole. As a group, BSS WOW completed a LinkedIn Learning Course and certified 100% of our members on Women Helping Women Succeed in the Workplace.
Additionally, we reviewed several articles surrounding similar topics. In one meeting, the group read “She Wants to Kill the Girl Boss.” The article sparked thoughtful conversations surrounding confirmation bias, intersectionality, discrimination, and privilege and how that all plays into labels. In another meeting, we reviewed a summary of the popular Sheryl Sandberg book, Lean In. We discussed gender inequality, factors that can help or hinder women’s careers, and how we can all help women to achieve their goals. Another hot topic surrounded the child-care crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. This Washington Post article predicted that COVID-19 would dramatically set women back, given that many mothers had to choose between motherly duties and their careers.
Finally, at our end-of-the-year holiday party, we discussed women who we admire. Many notable professionals were named, including Brittney Packnett Cunningham, Abby Wambach, Sara Blakely, and Rachel Hollis. Each of these articles and discussions facilitated actionable insights into bettering ourselves as people and as professionals.
BSS WOW Team Building
In creating a safe space to discuss such topics, it’s important to make it fun — it’s simply good strategy! We found so much joy in conducting alternate activities that they’ve become a staple in every meeting. We bonded over things like Secret Santa; the Rose, Bud, and Thorn activity; and more. Our members shared feedback on Blue Signal’s Women of the Workplace, stating that they “truly enjoy the bonding exercises. It can feel extremely isolated when working remote - so it's helpful to have the connection with others on a deeper level.” Others said they “always leave the conversations feeling refreshed with a new perspective and feeling closer to the team!” By becoming exactly what our company needed, either through connection or just as a good mental reset, this group has become its own community.
Blue Signal Gives Back – BSS WOW Edition
Giving back has been a cornerstone to Blue Signal’s company culture since our inception. It’s no wonder that BSS WOW would want to participate, but with their own unique spin. Since 2020, BSS WOW has been supporting Live and Learn AZ. Live and Learn is a local non-profit that seeks to empower women in the Phoenix area to break the cycle of generational poverty. This year we continued our resume writing support and interview coaching collaboration, effectively helping 18 women with their resumes. Of those 18, six were hired into new roles.
One Live and Learn client was very discouraged about applying for jobs and wasn’t sure when she would be able to find employment to support her family. She was referred to the BSS WOW resume writing service, where she learned to tailor her resume to the job she would be applying for. After speaking with BSS WOW, she found renewed energy and confidence in the job search, and she was able to nail a job in healthcare. Stories like these are what inspire us to work to support those in our community. This year, with our newly developed career service, we were able to also refer these Live and Learn clients to Resume and Career Services, powered by Blue Signal. With this, we hope to get even more women educated, empowered, and employed.
But we didn’t stop there. BSS Women of the Workplace also donated four laptops to the cause. We donated three full Thanksgiving meals for Live and Learn’s Give Thanks food drive. We went live with Live and Learn on Instagram to help them generate donations for Giving Tuesday. Their movement to #EmpowerWomen and #BreakTheCycle resulted in $5,160 in overall donations! For Christmas, BSS WOW also sponsored three families from Live and Learn. The entire Blue Signal organization stepped up to help create an incredible holiday for these women and their families.
Reflecting on 2021 and The Year Ahead
2021 brought with it so many new opportunities for growth. Blue Signal’s Women of the Workplace has been humbled by this experience, and we are all excited for what’s next. We plan on continuing our virtual meetings, planning more exciting activities, and finding new ways to give back to our communities. For 2022, we want to focus on topics such as mental health, financial literacy, and equity. We will continue to learn more about women in leadership, and hope to make our own mark on that space.
If this purpose and these projects speak to you, contact us to see how you can get involved. Whether that means joining in on the fun yourself by applying to work with us, or by educating us on your own current organization and how we can partner, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Here are several resources BSS WOW discussed and collected throughout the year. Please leverage these to explore on your own the topics we covered.
- Abby Wambach – her Barnard Commencement 2018, and her book Wolfpack
- Ashley Sumner - “She Wants to Kill the Girl Boss”
- Brittney Packnett Cunningham – the UNDISTRACTED podcast, and her TED Talk on Confidence
- Glennon Doyle – “Untamed,” and the “We Can Do Hard Things” podcast
- Rachel Hollis – and her books Girl, Wash Your Face, and Girl, Stop Apologizing
- Sara Blakely – Seven Lessons from a Self-Made Billionaire
- Sheryl Sandberg – “Lean In,” and the Take the Lead Challenge
- Vishen Lakhiani – “The Code of the Extraordinary Mind”