Women in Tech Share Their Experiences Working at WW (Formerly Weight Watchers)
Table of Contents
Back on March 14th, PowerToFly partnered with WW (formerly Weight Watchers) to present an evening of tech talks and discussions lead by their women tech leaders who are building the future of wellness.
Hosted by PowerToFly's CoFounder & CEO Milena Berry, the evening kicked off with a welcome address by WW's CTO Michael Lysaght, who then stuck around to answer questions during our networking session. Michel then passed the mic to Kayley Seder, Manager, Agile Project Management who dived a bit deeper into WW's platform and latest tools.
Next, Milena moderated a panel discussion featuring four of WW's women tech leaders who shared their own career journeys, spoke about the work that WW is doing in the Android and conversational AI fields and about the employee resource groups that WW offers to help their women engineers take their careers to the next level. Our panel included:
Veronica Brown, Scrum Master
Laure Price, Manager, Marketing Technology
Ifeoma Okereke, Software Engineer
Chao Dong, Software Engineer
After our panel discussion, audience members had a chance to ask their own questions before we moved back into networking, with more chances to enjoy the wonderful food and drinks that WW provided.
An effective job search takes time. Watch the video to the end to get some tips on how to succeed in your next job hunt!
Looking for effective job search strategies? Join Carolina Bontempo, senior recruiter at Moody's, as she shares valuable advice on tailoring your resume and acing the interview process.
When it comes to an effective job search, tailoring your resume is very important. Include keywords and phrases relevant to the desired positions. Many companies nowadays utilize applicant tracking systems, scanning for specific keywords in the job description. By strategically incorporating these keywords, you can increase your chances of getting noticed by potential employers.
To be effective in your job search, provide intelligent answers. During interviews, a common directive is "Tell me about yourself." Use this question to give a well-structured overview of your professional background. Share your current role and relevant work history, focusing on key roles, responsibilities, and accomplishments that directly relate to the position you're applying for. Highlight the skills and strengths that make you a strong candidate, reinforcing qualities aligned with the job requirements. Remember to keep your answers concise and professional while providing specific examples of how you have utilized those skills in previous positions.
A key aspect of an effective job search is research
By investing time to understand Moody's Corporation, you can demonstrate your interest and knowledge. Explore the official website to familiarize yourself with the company's core values, target market, products/services, and recent news or press releases. Navigate their social media accounts to gain insights into their online presence and current happenings. This research will enable you to showcase your enthusiasm, align your skills and experiences with the company's values, and ask good questions during the interview.
Are you interested in joining Moody's? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Carolina Bontempo
If you are interested in a career at Moody's, you can connect with Carolina on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Moody's
Moody’s is a globally integrated risk assessment firm that empowers organizations to make better decisions. Their data, analytical solutions, and insights help decision-makers identify opportunities and manage the risks of doing business with others. They believe that greater transparency, more informed decisions, and fair access to information open the door to shared progress. With over 14,000 employees in more than 40 countries, Moody’s combines international presence with local expertise and over a century of experience in financial markets.
Meet Srini Tallapragada, President and Chief Engineering Officer for Salesforce. In his role, Srini leads the global engineering team to drive innovation at Salesforce.
Read on to learn about Srini’s career journey, his approach to leadership, and how Salesforce is uniquely positioned in the market with its AI + Data + CRM advantage.
What motivated you to pursue a career in engineering, and how did you get started in the tech industry?
Growing up in India, it seemed to me like if you were good in math or science, you either got into engineering or medicine. I went into engineering and picked computer science. The college I studied at had an old Russian IBM mainframe, which was a copy of the IBM 370. I got into punch card programming and assembly. By the time I finished my formal education, there was a boom in the IT industry. I came to the Bay Area in February of ‘97 and joined Oracle as an Engineer in their Server technologies division, and the rest, as they say, is history.
How do you see the future of engineering evolving, and what excites you most about the possibilities of new technology like AI?
The great thing about my job, engineering, and the tech industry is that they are constantly changing. You have to be agile. My job and the job of the engineering org is to ensure Salesforce is leading in innovation — taking all the different technologies coming in and translating them into the customer experience as we bring them along.
As things keep changing, we’ll bring our customers along in the future, in the mobile way, the social way, the cloud way, or now in the data and AI way. The most interesting part is leveraging those technologies to help our customers connect to their customers in new ways and bring them along so that they don’t need to worry about them — we worry about them.
Reflecting on your experience as a leader in the tech industry, what was the biggest challenge you faced and how did you overcome it?
Many people think technology is the biggest challenge, but it’s about the people and aligning everyone on a common goal. I always have confidence that my engineering teams will solve the technical challenges. But making the mind shift and aligning everybody has been one of my toughest challenges. The trick is to have great engineers and provide a vision big enough for them to bring all their creativity. Sometimes this means saying “no” to 100 or 99 things, so you can protect the one thing you’re focused on creating. That’s the challenge.
There are also points where you’ve got to make a leap of faith. The hardest for me was Hyperforce: this was less about the technology and more about it being hard for people to see what was around the bend. My learning as a leader is that you’ve got to explain the why, and it’s not enough to do it once. Everyone needs to understand the why and you need to have the patience to keep explaining it. For example, we couldn’t have done our fastest-growing organic innovation in Salesforce history — Data Cloud — without Hyperforce.
Can you share a personal anecdote about a time you had to take a risk to achieve a goal or make an impact in your career?
The risk is in the execution and direction. Both are equally important. The risk of direction is that it may be the wrong hill to take. It requires a lot of knowledge, a lot of scanning the environment, and a lot of learning. And of course, we still have to execute on that, and we also have to manage the execution risk.
We are now doing generative AI, and we’ve been working on it for some time. We’ve been building large language models (LLMs) and have been using them internally. From the industry, it looks big, but we are ready to make the leap of faith as we are excited about the opportunities that are ahead of us. A key part of my job is to always understand what’s happening — I ask and learn from others: other countries, other places, and other companies. So I’m always trying to scan the environment.
What is it about the combination of AI, data, and CRM that can be so powerful for businesses that Salesforce made such an investment in that technology?
I’ve been in the CRM industry for over 25 years chasing this. I call it the holy grail. The holy grail was for our Customer 360 to have personalized one-to-one experiences because everybody wants to be treated as an individual, not like a pixel or a cookie.
At Salesforce, we have all of the layers. We have the bottom infrastructure layer, Hyperforce, and we provide a data layer with Data Cloud. Then, you need applications and we have the best with our Customer 360. Add AI — both predictive AI, which is what Einstein is, and Einstein GPT, which is the generative AI — and suddenly, we have all the pieces that we alone can solve. Only we have that combination, which is why with AI + Data + CRM, we are uniquely positioned as a company in terms of our ability to execute. I’m very excited and you see that energy in our customers.
What feedback have you received from customers regarding Data Cloud and the fusion of AI + Data + CRM?
Almost every customer I’m meeting with nowadays wants to know about generative AI. AI was always happening and the new language models were there, but ChatGPT has shown what’s possible and sparked the imagination and creativity of everybody. It’s a foundational moment. Everybody wants to know how it will impact their business and how Salesforce can help bring them into the future.
Every customer has data silos, and that’s why they’re wanting to understand all of this AI, but you need data for it, which is why they want to really understand Data Cloud. But, these two by themselves won’t be complete without our applications — Customer 360 and Slack. Customers assume we will give all the power of this technology with all the right guardrails — that’s the big problem that we have to solve in an ethical, proper way.
Interested in careers at Salesforce? Join our Talent Community to stay connected.
In recruitment and retention circles, belonging is a hot topic. We’ve talked about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) for years. Now, studies stress how top organizations like NASA that have added belonging to their DEI strategies are creating the most connectedness among employees – especially those who previously felt left out or ignored. In DEI consulting, terms like “belonging” and even “DEI” itself can suffer from definition creep or ambiguity. Let’s pin down a specific definition of belonging and define its critical place in your DEI — or DEIB — strategy.
What does belonging mean in DEI?
Belonging as a DEI definition is a purposeful, design-led workplace experience. It doesn’t just happen. It needs to be fostered. We define belonging as: A person’s perception of acceptance within a given group, including a work environment. Fostering belonging means that people of all backgrounds get a seat at the table and feel heard, seen, and recognized for their contributions.
Why is belonging important?
Psychologically, humans have a fundamental need to be accepted in social groups. This is explained by the "need to belong” theory. We simply must establish and maintain good relationships in order to feel like staying put in most environments, including a work one. If we don't belong, we move on.
DEI vs. DEIB: why was belonging added to DEI?
What does diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) mean? DEIB includes the belonging definition as part of an overall strategy to deepen inclusion and invite acknowledgement, acceptance, and authenticity for all in the workplace.
Belonging is emotionally vital for friend groups, family, and especially at work. The strength of need can vary from person to person, but there is a near-universal desire for individuals to feel genuinely welcome to participate, secure in their role, and connected to their colleagues.
Adding the “B” to DEIB recognizes that a sense of belonging improves employees’ personal feelings of positivity. Employees who aren’t engaged, don’t feel valued, or who are burnt out will not be as productive. Positive employee experiences are critical to long-term success in recruitment, retention, and performance outcomes.
The financial value of belonging in DEI strategies
Seventy-two percent of young workers say they’ve started a new job and regretted accepting it. That’s nearly three out of four unhappy new hires. Belonging, by definition, builds an environment where top talent wants to be.
Belonging correlates with meaningful contributions and future business success. Research shows that organizations with a high measure of belonging demonstrate a 56% increase in job performance, a 75% reduction in sick days, and a 50% drop in turnover risk.
Studies also show that diverse teams are 35% more likely to have financial returns above the industry mean. When belonging is added to existing DEI initiatives, you reduce hiring costs on top of increased financial returns.
To add belonging to DEI, we need to understand how it is unique. While diversity and inclusion (D&I) refers to an organization’s attempt at creating an environment for individuals to be their whole selves, belonging is the success of those efforts. More than a simple case of adding letters, DEIB is a continuum:
Diversity → Equity → Inclusion → Belonging
Diversity is having and encouraging differences in backgrounds, beliefs, and behavior.
Equity is giving each person the resources and opportunities they need based on their circumstances to reach an equal outcome.
Inclusion is the state of being valued, respected, and supported, with the right conditions in place to achieve your full potential.
Belonging is a person’s perception of acceptance and feeling heard and seen within a given group.
This is why so many organizations are changing from D&I or DEI policies to full DEIB. Inclusion can be measured in quantity, or numbers of activities or initiatives. For deeper impact, the aim is to drive belonging, especially for those who have historically been marginalized in society or by the organization.
Belonging is the outcome of your DEI activities. Did they work? Belonging cannot be measured in numbers, but in quality. It is a feeling that must be measured by feedback.
What are the elements of belonging?
Belonging in DEI is a critical factor because it describes real outcomes. How do we know if current DEIB efforts are successful? Your organization has a culture of belonging when these elements of employee satisfaction are reported.
People report feeling comfortable speaking up with new or different ideas. A diversity of approaches is encouraged. There are no clear trends among the people who are rewarded for contributions or shut down.
3. People are on the same page.
Terminology surrounding belonging and other DEI issues is well-understood at all levels of the company. Articles and resources from DEIB educators like PowerToFly are regularly shared in employee newsletters.
4. Diverse social bonds exist (and are encouraged).
You encourage interaction and teamwork between individuals who may not otherwise interact. People report trust and respect across departments, levels, and demographics. They report few feelings of isolation or exclusion.
5. Direct communication is preferred over back-channeling.
This points to a high level of trust and low fear of retaliation. Traditional systems and processes of exclusion are discussed openly, as are solutions for creating a more inclusive workplace.
The benefits of remote work for diverse talent are recognized. Flexibility in office hours has remained or improved after the pandemic. Fully remote and hybrid options are available to most.
7. Belonging is a genuine intention — not an “HR thing.”
Conscious efforts to improve belonging and DEI are visible in the workplace. From the hiring process to training programs, staff report seeing intentionality behind your efforts.
8. Employee resource groups (ERGs) and diversity mentorship programs are present.
People from underrepresented groups have dedicated resources and support communities where they can connect and share experiences. Most of the time they gain professional guidance. Sometimes they simply blow off steam.
9. You have trainings on diversity and unconscious bias.
You have well-attended DEIB trainings to help employees prevent harassment, discrimination, and microaggressions. Your employees continuously become more mindful with their words and actions. They see the organization as willing to learn and grow.
10. There is no pay gap.
Even the perception of a pay gap is a problem. You watch pay equity metrics closely within the organization. You fix any problems by building and implementing a compensation strategy that employees are aware of and that is transparent.
11. Employee benefits are inclusive.
Employee benefits are well-distributed. They don’t focus on one majority group or overlook the needs of the underrepresented. You have health care plans for LGBTQIA+ staffers that include partners and kids. You offer flexible schedules with days for mental wellness. Your floating holidays are sufficient for all religious and non-religious employees.
4 ways to understand belonging at work
The key to claiming any belonging (or DEIB) progress is the ability to measure it. That means soliciting and tracking employee feedback. A survey can tell us if the needle moves in a positive direction. Understand that when it comes to belonging in the workplace, progress is victory.
Here are a few diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) feedback examples for soliciting evaluation from your teams.
Listening sessions. In-person or virtual meetings allow employees to speak freely. They open up conversations in a safe manner so that every workplace conversation is perceived as honest and safe.
Anonymous surveys. Underrepresented individuals can share grievances without fear or repercussion or judgment. Use a scale (e.g. score of 1-10) to track and prove progress. Use both multiple-choice and open-ended questions.
New teamwork setups. Rotating hot desks, new office setups (without creating problems), and strategically structured teams can be a part of team building during meetings or everyday work. Give remote and hybrid workers a chance to come together.
Regular DEIB reports. Don’t forget to close the feedback loop. One of the most challenging parts of this work is convincing employees that belonging initiatives have authentic goals. Be transparent about the aims and progress, or lack thereof, with every aspect. Quarterly communication is an ideal starting point.
Putting the “B” in DEIB
When it comes to adding belonging to your DEI strategy, measurement goes hand-in-hand with a corresponding action plan. Feedback can only lead to belonging if you listen and act on what your employees say about how to focus and direct your policies. When done right, your company will see improved retention, more productivity, happier employees, and financial gains.