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Our Time IS Now: Reflections on our Fourth Year – and the Year to Come

11/16/2016 5:39 PM | Anonymous

Kristiane KoontzLast night nearly 100 CLUB members and supporters gathered to celebrate the CLUB’s 4th Anniversary at the Fremont Hills Country Club in Los Altos.

It was a wonderful evening filled with laughter, networking, great food and wine, and an inspiring keynote speech by CEO and Author Lee Caraher.

At the event I also shared my reflections on the CLUB’s progress, the environment around us, and what that means for the coming years, and I’d like to share these thoughts with those of you who weren’t able to attend our celebration last night as well.

I also want to echo again a giant thank you to our sponsors for the event, PwC, Procopio and Hausfeld, three wonderful organizations that really care about diversity and have sponsored multiple events for The CLUB in the past.

Thank you also to all who brought donations of toiletries to the event, these will benefit the Women's Gathering Place in San Jose, a non- profit that assists homeless women.

4th Anniversary Party
As the CLUB concludes its fourth year of existence and looks ahead to what is next, we’ve continued to grow and broaden our impact in ways that amaze and inspire me. Just a few of these accomplishments from across the CLUB community over the past year:

  • We’ve accepted over 170 new members into the CLUB year-to-date .

  • Our community engagement has increased across the board, with over 87 events and small group gatherings held, including regular meetings at our CLUBhouse in Palo Alto, and regular walk and talks in Palo Alto, San Francisco, and the East Bay in addition to our regular quarterly programming.

  • Our Incubator program, designed to help mid-career executives reach the next level, is going strong in its 2nd year with 10 phenomenal women. Incubator Alumni from 2015 have moved into leadership positions including with the CLUB and onto our board of directors.

  • Our Big Read group which reads and reviews women’s leadership books, has launched a San Francisco chapter, reviewed and discussed eight books so far this year and is now publishing reviews of women's leadership books.

  • Our mentoring program, now called CLUBconnect was redesigned to make it easier for CLUB members to tap into the collective expertise and wisdom of The CLUB.

  • We launched our Thriving Workplaces initiative designed to identify and promote workplace cultures that foster inclusive environments and increased levels of women in leadership positions. 

  • We extended our lease on our CLUBhouse in Palo Alto through March of next year while also expanding the number of events held in San Francisco.

4th Anniversary Party

All of this work translates into impact against our ultimate goal of growing the pipeline and ranks of women leaders across the Bay Area. One way we measure this impact is through an annual survey we do called the CLUB Effect. In this year’s survey we found that, because of The CLUB, 

  • 82% of our members do more networking,
  • 82% are more likely to make an ask of someone who can help advance their career,
  • 86% are inspired to grow their career.

And the word about this is getting out – I’ve had many encounters this year where people have already heard about us and the work we are doing before I can even give them my pitch!

In addition, I continue to hear other stories from our members of the ways they leveraged the CLUB to grow their careers and those of other women, including speaking opportunities, leadership roles, mentoring relationships and job placements.

new club websiteAt the event we also unveiled the CLUB’s new branding and member portal. One of our goals this year was to update our visual identity to represent the CLUB in its growth over the coming years as well as to make it as frictionless as possible for our members to leverage The CLUB. Check out our revamped website at www.theclubsv.org.

In parallel, we are launching our new member portal which will make it much easier for members to manage their membership, participate in virtual discussions and learn about CLUB events, all integrated with our main CLUB website. This new member portal officially launches TODAY, so for all of you CLUB members please be on the lookout for an email invitation to the new portal. I think you are a really going to love it.

Another important ‘Thank You’ goes to Karen Catlin, who has been a longtime member and huge supporter of The CLUB, including serving on our board for the past three years. Karan has spoken on numerous panel discussions and events and served as our Vice President this past year.  This is going to be Karen’s last year on the Board, and while she’ll still continue to be very involved in this community I want to thank her, on behalf of the whole CLUB, for all of her contributions over the years. 

And now I’d like to look at the year (and years) ahead. In the coming year, we have a lot to do. I’m elated to see, across all levels of dialog in our media, the business community and social networks that there’s been a great improvement in awareness and sensitivity about the challenges women face with advancement in the workplace - even just in the past year.

And yet, there are pervasive, systemic and sometimes unconscious biases against women’s advancement that still exist, across the country and right here in the Bay Area. I was hoping that today we’d be here celebrating that a woman broke the ultimate glass ceiling in the US, to become our president.  But that didn’t happen, and we’ll have to wait a little longer for that moment.

Despite that, and despite these challenges, I feel really strongly that the awareness and the momentum is here, and that we are at a tipping point. Our time is now.  We need to continue to look for, and to help each other, find ways to translate this awareness and the zeitgeist around recent events into actionable gains for women.

There are three things I’m asking each of you to do in the coming year to help grow the CLUB and our impact:

  1. Help us grow our membership – reach out to and invite women who are ready to go places in their career to join this community of women helping women. If you have a budget for your team, consider sponsoring a package of membership in The CLUB for promising women.

  2. Take on a leadership position within the CLUB – these come in many shapes and sizes, from organizing an event to spearheading our fundraising efforts – and it’s a great way to give back to the CLUB community while making valuable connections and gaining additional leadership expertise for yourself. Our 2017 leadership drive is currently in progress, with applications due by the end of the month.

  3. For the women – Do at least one more thing to make yourself visible outside the CLUB community this coming year – let’s demonstrate how undeniably capable women leaders are, in mass, all of us.  Whether this means speaking on a panel, publishing an article, or a stretch assignment at work. For those of you 12 or more years into your career, consider the Incubator program as a way to do this.  We are part of a movement and our time is now.

Lastly – for the men in the room - we need your help too.

  1. Spread the word about the CLUB to grow our membership and funding.

  2. Ask yourself what more you can be doing to help a woman in her career, whether it be stepping in and speaking up when you see unconscious bias at play, providing career mentoring or sponsorship, or giving that next stretch assignment to the woman on your team.

Together, let’s make the next year and The CLUB’s 5th anniversary a year where women’s advancement is an undeniable fact.  Our time is now.

Thank You,
Kristiane Koontz
CLUB President and Founding Board Member

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