07 February 2018 Culture

Announcing the Women's Breakfast at Elastic{ON} 2018

By Kristina Frost

Join us at this year’s Elastic{ON} women in technology breakfast happening Wednesday, February 28 from 7:30 a.m.  9:00 a.m. at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis Hotel. RSVP now to save your seat.

“The only constant is change.”

This is a phrase my team here at Elastic likes to use to reference the ever-evolving nature of our company and to reinforce a collective identity centered on values of curiosity, adaptability, and agility. Back again to write yet another Elastic blog on themes of diversity and inclusion, and to invite all of you to our third (!) Women’s Breakfast at Elastic{ON} 2018, I’ve been asking myself that question: what’s changed?

Every year we’ve worked hard to adapt the event, and this year will be no different. I’m delighted to announce that we have three fantastic speakers sharing lightning talks around their experiences in the technology space: Madhura Dudhgaonkar, head of search, data science, and machine learning at Workday; Rashmi Kulkarni, who’s been on the Elastic engineering team for the last three years; and Tracy Osborn, an active member of the developer community who delivered a wonderful keynote earlier this year at DjangoCon. This year’s breakfast will be on site at the Marriott Marquis on Wednesday, February 28 from 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. We’re equally delighted to see you, to come together again to consider how else we might press onwards both collectively and personally.

This our third year in a row hosting this event. Third in a row has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? A kind of momentum. And I think momentum is what I’d like to write about now. I’m approaching three years working at this crazy, wonderful place, and we have grown in ways that are mind-boggling to me, in part because it still feels like it was just yesterday that I was suggesting we set aside time for this sort of thing at all.

We now have Elasticians in 34 different countries. We’ve proudly welcomed Betsey Nelson to our board. Our focus on inclusion and belonging is paying dividends: over the past six months, over 30% of our hires have been women. This focus on increasing gender diversity has resulted in a 6% rise in female Elasticians over the last two years, thanks in no small part to conscious and continuous efforts made all across the organization to make Elastic a place where people of all backgrounds can experience a sense of autonomy and belonging.

I’d be remiss, writing about what’s changed since last year, not to acknowledge the power of the #metoo movement as it burst across the collective consciousness. I think women from all walks of life have been saying #metoo about all kinds of our struggles (and our hopes) in quiet and safe spaces long before the phrase was accidentally made viral by women of privilege and means here in the United States. There’s more than that, though. 2017 was the Year of Women at times, I admit, almost in spite of itself. Let’s talk about momentum some more:

NASA put an African-American woman on the crew of the international space station. The Doctor is a woman, now, and the biggest three movies of 2017 all feature women in leading roles. Women broke into the upper echelons of Parisian fashion houses long led by men, taking the reins at Givenchy and Christian Dior. There were major legislative moments in Lebanon, in Chile, in Tunisia; there continue to be promising women’s funds and women peacemakers leading the way all over the world, and, most recently, there was Iceland: telling the watching world that for their nation, equal pay is now a matter of absolute law.

It’s important to stop and take notice of these events. They give me hope that now is a moment we can capitalize on, an opportunity we can seize as we look to create a workplace where everyone can be their best, most authentic selves. This has always been my hope for the women’s breakfast: that we come together and explore what it means to make space in the workplace for the benefit of us all. That we enable a kind of collective rising into a place that is inclusive and honest and which realizes that there can’t really be the possibility of success for me until that same possibility exists for you, too.

Momentum feels a little bit like this little get-together I started at Elastic{ON} three years ago, and how last year there were three times as many of you joining me for breakfast as there were the year before.

Momentum is change, isn’t it? The only constant.

So please come. Come with change. Come in hope. Come to inspire, and to be inspired in turn.

We can’t wait to see you.