November 2, 2016 @ 1:49 PM
Let’s do this
In 2011, Viacom Chief Information Officer David Kline attended an event for the National Association of Broadcasters, and noticed something disturbing: the awards were mostly going to men. “There wasn’t a single female in the room,” said Kline, “Unless she was somebody’s daughter or significant other.” It was a pivotal moment for Kline. While other areas of Viacom were already gender-diverse, his technology department was not. He returned from the convention inspired to change this.
Our vice president of product management Kimberly Hicks would soon have an idea that could begin to gradually change this. Hicks attended AT&T’s Girls Who Code summer immersion program graduation in 2014 and was beyond impressed.
“I was blown away,” said Hicks. “Not only by their projects, but with their presence and how empowered they were. I didn’t know any of these girls, but I could tell they were transformed.”
It was no coincidence – Girls Who Code (GWC) is a national nonprofit dedicated to closing the gender gap in tech by teaching young girls how to code, principally through partnerships with large corporations, such as AT&T. At the end of the ceremony, Hicks spoke with GWC founder and CEO, Reshma Saujani. “I told her I would make this happen at Viacom.”