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The role of women in the workplace evolved yet again during the pandemic. New and returning challenges are shaping what happens next, but the overarching message is to cultivate new opportunities and intentional inclusion. Joining Breaking the Glass and host Nancy Novack, LaShonda Anderson-Williams, SVP, Healthcare & LifeSciences at Salesforce.
Anderson-Williams began her career at IBM, then spent 15 years at Microsoft, and recently joined Salesforce. While she is playing a key role in healthcare, it’s not the one she considered early on. “Initially, I wanted to be a nurse, but my fear of needles didn’t fit that curriculum, and I ended up in business school. I always had a passion for helping people, and now I’m able to focus on purpose driven solutions to improve the quality of care.”
Tech has an even bigger role in healthcare and every other industry since the pandemic. It accelerated digital transformation, but it also created some inequities. “Many women have left the workforce because of substantial challenges,” Anderson-Williams noted.
Juggling family commitments and a career left many women at breaking points. Still, it is possible to foster more opportunities and inclusion. Diversity, after all, is good for business in so many ways. Anderson-Williams remarked that the necessity of working from home empowered women. “The reality now is that connecting and engaging on-screen, where you see the kids, pets, and family, we get to see who people really are, and they get to bring their whole selves.”
Anderson-Williams advocated for intentional engagement by leaders in bringing women back to the workforce or making them feel comfortable while they balance areas of their life. “We all have biases. Acknowledging them and asking questions creates a comfort in transparency and the ability to have open conversations.”