How ACG Silicon Valley Connects Women in Tech
By convening senior-level women working in the technology sector, ACG’s Silicon Valley chapter is fostering a powerful community of female executives and hosting can’t-miss events
Like other corners of the business world, the tech sector has been slow to diversify its leadership teams. Boardrooms and corner offices continue to be made up primarily of men, although more women are rising through the ranks.
The Association for Corporate Growth’s Silicon Valley chapter is doing its part to support progress toward gender diversity and equity in the tech and business worlds by convening a network of senior-level women.
ACG Silicon Valley’s Yvonne Schwab initiated the network, known as the Female Executive Leadership Circle, in April 2020 when she joined the chapter as its CEO. The group’s goal is to create a community of and for women in leadership positions. Its events typically bring together between 15 to 20 women who hold director-level roles or above in their organizations. Participation is by invitation only.
Featured speakers at the events cover topical issues for women in the workplace. Christine Nowaczyk, senior vice president at U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management and chair of the ACG board, spoke at the group’s most recent gathering. Past speakers have included Rene Siegel, a partner at consultancy Armanino who previously spent a decade working within tech firms. Her May 30 talk focused on “empowering women to embrace their authentic personal brand.” In March, Hayley Tabor, vice president of global industries sales and solutions for Dell Technologies, spoke to the group during a session for International Women’s Day.
The off-the-record events allow for candid conversations about women’s career trajectories, life experiences and challenges.
During her talk on Sept. 7, Nowaczyk reflected on her career in the financial services industry, candidly sharing early missteps and lessons learned. She spoke openly about the many hats that female leaders must wear, both in work and in their personal lives, and how she carves out time for each of them.
Her session also addressed negotiation skills and how she came to understand what a successful negotiation looks like. “I shared that growing up as an athlete, I am wired as a strong competitor, yet I had to mature and learn that negotiating didn’t always mean winning everything and at all costs,” Nowaczyk says. “It meant an outcome that was beneficial to all stakeholders.”
The Female Executive Leadership Circle events are designed to be interactive and foster conversations among participants. Nowaczyk recalls that the group size allowed for intimate personal discussions. Her session included a broad mix of career professionals, ranging from global C-suite executives to published authors, young professionals and leaders from academia.
Among the academics who participate regularly in the Female Executive Leadership Circle is Mary Coady, the director of corporate and external relations for Santa Clara University’s School of Engineering.
Coady estimates that she’s attended nearly all of the group’s events. She says the women’s network has been “extremely valuable” professionally and has helped her build many new relationships.
Through ACG Silicon Valley, Coady’s institution has been able to highlight its expertise. “It’s been a great opportunity for us as a university to showcase some of the faculty, including women, who are leaders in their field,” Coady says. Santa Clara’s Engineering School trains engineers who ACG members may one day want to hire.
Ultimately, the high-quality programming and caliber of attendees have made the Female Executive Leadership Circle events an effective place to connect with influential leaders in the Valley.
“All of us develop different relationships with different individuals based on who we are and what our story is, and how we connect with others,” Coady says. “And there’s been that on both a professional and personal basis with this group.”
Katie Maloney is ACG’s content director.
Interested in attending an upcoming women’s event? ACG chapters across North America host gatherings year-round. Check out the events below, or see a full listing at https://www.acg.org/events.
Oct. 17 | ACG Los Angeles | 2023 Women of ACG LA Fall Mixer
Oct. 17 | ACG San Francisco | Get on Board Week: Women’s Networking Event
Oct. 18 | ACG Raleigh Durham | Women’s Forum Presents: The Art of Floral Arranging
Oct. 20 | ACG Cleveland | Women in Transactions Presents: Well-Prepared Women Series
Oct. 24 | ACG Pittsburgh | October Women’s Program
Oct. 25 | ACG Cincinnati | ACG Women + Wine @ Weller Haus
Oct. 26 | ACG Orange County | Women in Leadership: Driving Growth in the Digital Era
Nov. 1 | ACG Boston | Women of Leadership Fall Networking
Nov. 2 | ACG Arizona | Women in Business and Leadership Lunch and Learn
Nov. 7 | ACG Houston | Women’s Forum 10th Anniversary Celebration
Nov. 9 | ACG Utah | Women’s Professional Network Kickoff
Nov. 9 | ACG Orange County | Women’s Luncheon