“If a tree falls in a forest, but no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
The same style of question could be posed within the tech industry’s quest to advance DEI: If a DEI program or initiative exists, but no one seems to know about or invest in it, does it make an impact?
“My previous roles were predominantly customer-facing, focusing on enhancing the customer experience rather than my professional growth — while some of those companies may have had initiatives and programs designed for women, they were not communicated,” said Racheal Bennett, who now works as a software engineer I at Centerfield.
Bennett said the narrative is different at Centerfield, where conversations about support are visible and frequent, and women are actively assisted as they advance to leadership roles.
“This commitment has been a refreshing change, highlighting Centerfield’s dedication to fostering a workplace where women can thrive and rise to their fullest potential,” said Bennett.
While the tech industry has made notable strides in bringing women into workplaces that men have historically dominated, the results have been uneven.
According to data analysis on the recent waves of layoffs in the industry, job cuts disproportionately impacted women. Meanwhile, women are 14 percent less likely to be promoted than men.
At Centerfield, leaders and professionals make an effort to prioritize women’s career advancement. But the company’s commitment to women’s professional development is not limited to any single team or area.
In her five-year tenure at Centerfield, Lead Designer of UX and UI Brianna Ryder has experienced significant upward mobility.
“I’ve had so much exposure to growth and different types of design through being here at Centerfield,” said Ryder, who started as a mid-level designer before advancing to senior level and is now team lead. “I love having the opportunity to manage my own team; it’s super rewarding and such an honor to help others grow their skills.”
“I’ve had so much exposure to growth and different types of design through being here at Centerfield.”
Centerfield’s investments in continuous education and upskilling are as evident as its paths for career advancement.
For Senior Data Analyst Iris Li, a well-established track record of being a self-starter — Li self-learned programming — has been matched with Centerfield’s enthusiasm for educational opportunities.
“My manager encourages me to take whatever courses, webinars or events I’m interested in and to explore the possibilities that could boost my career,” said Li, “The company will always cover the cost.”
At Centerfield, opportunities for women to grow professionally are ample. These professionals delved into how the company has enriched their careers and opened up new possibilities for the future.
Capitalizing on Opportunities
As a self-taught engineer, entering the tech industry isn’t an easy feat. When Centerfield extended an offer to Bennett, it was momentous — but this initial step was only the beginning of her career.
“I needed someone to take a chance on me, and Centerfield was that someone,” said Bennett.
“Securing that opportunity was like unlocking a door to a world of possibilities,” she added.
“I needed someone to take a chance on me, and Centerfield was that someone.”
Armed with her self-acquired skills and a palpable passion for engineering, Bennett was determined to succeed. Still, her desire to acquire a degree in computer science hasn’t wavered.
Until Bennett began at Centerfield, returning to college wasn’t an option, but the company’s tuition reimbursement program has made this possible.
“Unfortunately, support to return to college wasn’t available in my life, making this program at Centerfield a game-changer,” said Bennett.
Women in Leadership
When asked what advice she has for HR professionals looking to better support women in the workplace, Ryder’s answer is simple: Hire more women, especially in leadership roles.
“This not only creates a more even field of voices but also provides women in that company with role models and support, which is ultimately very inspiring,” explained Ryder.
Recently, Ryder completed Centerfield’s women in leadership program, which allows leaders and mentors to connect and learn about the paths that led them to where they are now. For Ryder, the experience was a welcome first.
“I’ve never worked at a company that deliberately created a program specifically to foster the growth of women and help them be successful in this career field,” she said. “Centerfield has done a spectacular job of reaching out to women on the team and helping them grow.”
At Centerfield, initiatives like this spring from employee feedback — something the company actively seeks out and harnesses to bolster diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
“Centerfield does an awesome job of listening to their employees, asking for feedback when different initiatives are launched and checking in with their employees,” said Ryder.
Like Bennett, much of Li’s technical know-how results from her efforts.
“As a woman in the tech industry who self-taught many technical skills from scratch, I gradually realized that I could connect people from both technical and non-technical backgrounds,” said Li.
Functioning as a “technical translator,” Li has become a liaison and facilitator between teams dominated by men and those dominated by women.
In Li’s career growth at Centerfield, her leaders and compatriots have empowered her to voice and fulfill her ambitions.
“I feel empowered to present my ideas. My managers listen to me and support me,” she said. “When I told them that I wanted to develop more in data analysis, they helped me search for new opportunities in the company and introduced me to the data team.”
“I feel empowered to present my ideas. My managers listen to and support me.”
When a colleague from the HR department came across more ways for Li to be involved, she would bring them to Li’s attention.
“Zelna reached out to me when she heard of the projects that I could help with, which made me feel valued and like I belonged,” said Li.
Li’s journey at Centerfield is not by mistake; it’s by conscious design and evolution.
As the company continues to create a more inclusive, equitable and diverse workplace, its careful attention to the needs of team members of all backgrounds and identities will be informed through individual feedback and reciprocal support.