William Blair Celebrates Womens Equality Day

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Collage of photos from the Women's Alliance Equality Day Celebration

 

The Women's Alliance business resource group at William Blair hosted a virtual discussion with colleagues about empowering women on August 26 to mark Women's Equality Day and the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women's U.S. constitutional right to vote.

While speakers at the event celebrated the achievements of women's rights activists, they also called them a reminder of the daily struggles that women now face at work and at home.

Kristina Blaschek, a co-leader of the Women's Alliance, led the conversation encouraging fellow staffers to share their experiences during the lunchtime gathering. Honesty, transparency, sharing and empowering were all underscored as key values and behaviors to be held as standards.

Jill Krivacek, a member of William Blair's IT team, called on the group to be active and open about discussing work-life balance. Self-reliant women may embrace a "superwoman" role, she said, but no one should shy away from talking about demands of work and family with those who can be supportive.

"I'm not a mom but everything I hear about trying to get the kids on Zoom calls or Google classroom, taking care of the household—balancing all of that is really challenging," Krivacek said.

"A lot of the time, unless we are talking to our friends, I don't think we talk about those struggles in the workplace. But I think these are important issues to talk about."

Others shared how mentors and workplace friends have been great advocates for career development.

"I've had the privilege over the years to have great mentors but I have also relied on peers, people who are facing the same challenges and using each other for support but also for that push or nudge, keeping ourselves accountable for the things we want to achieve in life," said Nathalie Markovits of Investment Management.

Attendees spoke in support of strong maternity and paternity leave policies as a vital benefit. They praised William Blair's expanded policy which allows new parents to take up to 12 weeks off with pay in addition to maternity disability leave benefits.

Katelyn Young of Investment Management encouraged colleagues to take advantage of the expanded benefits and push for more companies to help equalize the load of responsibilities of work, home and family.

Eve Ellis in William Blair's New York office shared a view of Central Park's first monument of women to honor women's rights as human rights. Unveiled August 26, the statue of Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth and Elizabeth Cady Stanton took its place among the 23 statues honoring men in the park.

William Blair's Women's Alliance, a group for all employees at the firm, aims to empower women in the workplace, promote professional development and collaboration, and raise awareness of the importance of gender diversity across the firm and the community.

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