“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” –Maya Angelou

Equality and diversity strengthen us beyond what we can imagine. It might not be obvious, and you may not notice it every day, but with that strength has come a great deal of struggle throughout history. Being a woman in the tech industry is not easy, but ActiveCampaign has made great strides to change that. In appreciation of the women at ActiveCampaign, we spent the month of March celebrating Women’s History Month.

This was our first year celebrating this international holiday. We worked closely with our internal group, Women of AC. This group provides a casual environment for powerful and talented women to get to know other women they don’t normally get a chance to interact with at work. This was a huge opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come while identifying how much further we have to go.

Women’s month tumblers

In addition to the events we had planned throughout the month, we wanted to make our own efforts to change the future landscape of tech. Instead of giving out free swag to employees, we set up a donation-based exchange for a reusable tumbler. This gave everyone at ActiveCampaign, regardless of gender, a chance to easily make an impact outside of work while making a statement in the office.

These aren’t your average tumblers. We decided to turn the tables on words traditionally used to silence and disempower women by putting them directly on the cup. Now front-and-center, on something you drink out of every day, we were able to collectively rewrite this historical narrative by feeling empowered by these words and encouraging some much-needed conversation within our own organization.

We successfully raised over $1600 for Girls Who Code, whose mission is to close the gender gap in technology and change the image of what a programmer looks likes and does. Choosing this organization was incredibly important as we continue to make strides towards gender equality at our own company. We want to hire these future programmers someday!

Women’s History Month was a great time to host a number of internal and external events. Here are a few to note:

Women in Product breakfast

We kicked off the month with our first public event, a “Women in Product Breakfast” hosted by our very own VP of Product, Jen Busenbark. Women in Product is a highly-engaged community of women builders and leaders, dedicated to providing women with equal access and representation in product management careers at all levels. The cafe in the Chicago office was filled to the brim with women (and men) from a variety of backgrounds.

“It was such an honor to host WIP at ActiveCampaign. It was both moving and empowering to see so many Product Women in one room.” –Jen Busenbark, VP of Product

Miss Representation screening

Miss Representation (2011) is a documentary dealing with issues around media representation and its implications on positive women role models. Although this film is 8 years old, a group of us took some time after the screening to discuss and reflect on what has changed over time and how changes in technology have perpetuated these changes.

International Women’s Day toast

Celebrated all over the world — with some countries, like Russia, observing it as a national holiday — this year’s International Women’s Day theme was #BalanceForBetter: “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change.”

Here at ActiveCampaign, we invited all our female employees to a champagne toast and group picture. The space was full of energy, laughter (in part thanks to the bubbly), and an inspiring look in the mirror at our diverse group of women.

Not often enough do we get the women in our office together to acknowledge our achievements, be grateful for each other, and thank the brave and fearless women who have paved the way and broken down barriers for us to be where we are today.

Women’s tea

Our Sydney office also celebrated by giving thanks to all the women they look up to. As they enjoyed an afternoon tea, they wrote cards to specific women who have made an impact in their lives.

Ariana Tsepetzis, who organized the event, shared:

“I’m so grateful to work alongside such a remarkable group of women in the Sydney office, and it was great to celebrate International Women’s Day with them in March.”

Sarah’s Circle donation assembly

ActiveCampaign is dedicated to caring for the greater community. The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee and Women of AC assembled 200 toiletry bags filled with soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and more for Sarah’s Circle, a Chicago nonprofit organization with a mission of empowering women affected by homelessness.

Women’s history trivia night

Think you know about women? Well, guess again. No, really, guess again! We had a fun-filled evening taking our best guesses at some pretty tough women’s history trivia questions. A group of us walked away winners, but we all walked away a little more educated.

Women’s network speed dating

Unlike your stereotypical speed dating event, this one focussed on networking and left the awkward moments at the door. This was a great opportunity for women at AC to meet and get to know some new friends through quick question prompts like “What women inspire you most?” We strongly believe meeting other women in the workplace can help make the extra tough days a little bit easier. Knowing other women allows their successes to become our successes. We are not alone.

In addition to these powerful and inspiring events, we provided our employees with some educational media throughout the month as well as a hip-shaking playlist.

Looking ahead

Supporting women shouldn’t be a one-month-only event. We should be recognizing achievements, empowering women to find their voice, listening to them, and asking what else we can do to advance gender equality every day. We happened to have the amazing opportunity to take a month to connect and engage with our fellow female coworkers while educating other employees.

By shining a light on issues women in tech face now, we hope it has a positive ripple effect throughout the year. Change doesn’t happen overnight, yet it’s empowering to see so much change unfolding on a greater scale than it has before.

Raising the bar for supporting women at work doesn’t mean we did a good job. It means we did slightly better than the norm. ActiveCampaign plans to continue raising the bar until we achieve equity for all women in the workforce.

We are not alone, we are not crazy, and wherever you are in your career (or your day), there will always be someone to support you no matter what month it is.

If you feel unsupported in your career, or want to be part of an organization trying to make a difference in gender equality, come chat with us! We’re hiring!