Women talking, addressing toughest issues they face at Triangle Tech X conference – WRAL Tech Wire

Posted: October 30, 2020 at 10:56 pm

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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK Thought leaders from across the Triangle and beyond are gathering virtually to discuss issues confronting women in these days of COVID-19 and beyond at the second Triangle Tech X conference.

Maureen McQueen, senior vice president, Global Services & Operations of MetLife, which is helping put on the event, talked with WRAL TechWire about the event and the issues being discussed. More than 50 speakers are participating.

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Its clear that while progress has been made in some areas like people, culture and content production, women still face challenges with advancing in technical areas like cloud computing, data and artificial intelligence. Theres a combination of challenges to work through, ranging from higher education in STEM fields, management practices that may not be as inclusive, and recruitment strategies that need to be evaluated. MetLife employs more than 2,500 employees in North Carolina itself, and weve seen first-hand the impact women in STEM roles have.

The challenges are where the opportunities lie, to bridge the gap in tomorrows workforce. Todays leaders have the chance to develop a more focused agenda, that will not only increase the current talent pool but also the pipeline, from what women can access and pursue in terms of their education, to holding more C-suite and Board positions around the world.

Maureen McQueen

Earlier this year, MetLife became the first US-based insurer to sign the United Nations Womens Empowerment Principles, a series of commitments created by U.N. Women and the U.N. Global Compact to promote gender equity in the workplace and society. While progress has been made, we know that theres still more work to do. Im exciting to be a part of MetLife and its journey to create change that will truly have an impact on society and the economy at large.

MetLifes second annual Triangle Tech X event is important because its an opportunity to bring together top executives and thought leaders to focus on commitment to bring equity to all and diversify the workforce. It is a call to action to bridge a critical gap in the workforce and our economy. Its exciting to be a part of this event and I look forward to the ideas and actions being shared over the three days.

We want to come away from this event with solutions and concrete actions to break down the barriers and obstacles women face in their careers, particularly those in STEM roles. Creating and strengthening the support systems and tools for women to advance their participation and leadership in tomorrows jobs is imperative. Acting on this with purpose, transparency and measurable objectives is a key objective of the event.

In the insurance sector, technology is critical enabler of the business, presenting us with an opportunity to break down barriers for current and future female talent. As Michel Khalaf, CEO & president of MetLife, has stated, empowering women is a key element of our business strategy.

As we want Triangle Tech X to be a premier technology conference, we were thoughtful in inviting speakers and companies from areas that have a voice in this important journey. Our speakers are from the technology sector, academia, charitable organizations & community service, with the majority based in the Triangle Park region.

As the host of the event, MetLifes leaders made a huge commitment to join Triangle Tech X to not only share our companys commitments to gender equity but collaborate with other leaders to hold each other and ourselves accountable to this commitment and progress. We are thrilled to have MetLifes female executive group and Board of Directors sharing their experiences and insights during the sessions.

Our event speakers are living this cause daily, be it through creating jobs, building awareness or providing the necessary support to women already in or entering the workforce.

It is a bitter-sweet moment. Having the event take place in-person would have increased the chance for those personal connections, which are important. However, that approach would have limited us to hosting 200-300 people. Through the virtual format, we were able to expand our outreach to many more participants and attendees, with virtual chats, online Q&A, and social media discussions.

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Women talking, addressing toughest issues they face at Triangle Tech X conference - WRAL Tech Wire

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October 30th, 2020 at 10:56 pm