Yesterday at Okta we celebrated International Women’s Day, honoring the women who have brought us to where we are now and the women who continue to pave the way.
Led by our [email protected] team, we committed to #PressforProgress in our own unique ways, and we raised $5265 for Okta for Good’s fund for women, benefitting Global Fund for Women (an Okta customer!), She Should Run, Malala Fund, Girls Who Code, and Catalyst.
But the best part of yesterday took place across conversations IRL, and Slack. Our CEO, Todd McKinnon, kicked off #IWD18 and invited everyone to share stories of colleagues, mentors, or people in our personal lives who have had an impact on our careers and personal development. As the inspiring stories poured in, we quickly realized these shout outs were too good not to share.
While we know we still have a long way to go, it’s these sentiments that motivate us, and hopefully you, to keep going:
Todd McKinnon, CEO + Co-founder: “Today is International Women's Day (IWD) and I want to take a moment to acknowledge the women of Okta for all that you do – for Okta, for our industry, for your families and our communities. And while not an official “woman of Okta” my wife Roxanne was particularly impactful by letting me convince her that starting Okta wasn’t “crazy” and supporting me and our family through the years!”
Lauren Havertz, Technical Program Manager: “Today I’m celebrating International Women’s Day by honoring my first manager Cindy Wu and my current manager Becky Oliver! Both have made a huge impact on how I view strong women at Okta. I’d also like to celebrate my fellow ladies and gentlemen on the WOkta committee! They are the movers and shakers committed to empowering others and making Okta a more inclusive place!”
Maureen Foulds, Staff Technical Writer: “Today I'm thinking of my mom, who always told me I could achieve anything I wanted. Younger me, an avid reader, wanted to be a writer and I vividly remember her posting a quote she'd found somewhere that said "He who reads must eventually write." That encouraged me to no end. Closer to Okta, Helena Jerney is the kind of manager and leader I've always appreciated and striven to be like. I've really enjoyed working with Pamela Armstead on my team because she's smart, witty, and always cheerful. Never underestimate the power of a cheerful coworker to make the workplace a more pleasant place to be every day.”
Jenna Kozel King, Director, Corporate Communications: “Celebrating the strong women on the comms team who represent Okta every day to the public. Proud to have these women representing our voices —> Lindsay Life, Kelsey Nelson, Audrey Hoffman-Lekmine.”
Lindsay Life, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications: “Right back at our fearless leader, Jenna Kozel King! Proud (and honored) to work on such an empowering, supportive and boundary-pushing team.”
Bob Tiernay, Principal Software Engineer: “Most definitely I would like to recognize and celebrate Stacy Hong. She’s really helped me grow at Okta and is a tremendous leader. Thanks Stacy!”
Courtney Skay, Sr. Director, WWFO Enablement: “Thank you to the amazing women on Worldwide Field Operations Enablement. I learn from you all every day! (S/o’s to Gail Unverferth, Jackie Charboneau, Victoria Sanchez, Moni Hanneman, Jenna Jerkovich, Stacy Nicoll, JJ Tong and Sofia Arroyo.)”
Maria Thompson-Saeb, Senior Analyst, Security and Compliance: “I celebrate International Women's Day by honoring my mom and all of the women that I've ever worked with, networked with, or admired. And former first lady Michelle Obama is one that is truly admired.”
Erin Tiedeman, Sr. Director, Professional Services: “It’s an honor to be at a company that appreciates my contributions as a person and respects me as a woman. I honor my mom who was a teacher and psychologist and she finds the good in everyone. She is a stage 4 breast cancer survivor, my hero and a woman of strength and grace.”
Anna Luo, Software Engineer: “Feel so blessed and proud to work at Okta, where women’s voices are heard and honored by both man and woman! I would like to celebrate today by honoring Swasti Mishra, who was my mentor and now my direct manager. She is a great example of being a leader, a mom and a woman who people like.”
Ryan Carlson, Chief Marketing Officer: “Celebrating the amazing women on the Marketing team - they make us the team that we are. I am proud to work alongside all of them!”
Helen Chen, Software Engineer: “I'd like to honor my college CS professor Sophie Engle who was truly an inspiration to me. As one of the <20% female student in all of my CS classes, it was wonderful having a female CS professor who EVERY STUDENT, male or female, looked up to and admired, who pushed us to do our best and learn, and who truly exemplified what a good college professor should be. Without the rigor that she demanded from us in our Software Development class, I wouldn't be here at Okta.”
Garrett Stanton, Regional VP, Corporate Sales: “I celebrate/honor my mom, Lynn, who beat Stage 4 cancer at 22, was told she would never have children, then had four and raised us to ‘fight battles she knew we wouldn't always win’; to not fear failure and appreciate every waking moment on earth as time will always be the greatest currency we have to spend. She always reminded me that what we give of ourselves to others is much more important than what we get. I'd like to also honor Simi Hundal who was the first SDR ever at Okta and one of the few female sales leaders from startup through IPO paving the way for many to follow.”
Varrun Ramani, Staff Software Engineer: “There have always been strong women involved in getting me to where I am today. It started with high school teacher, Rukmini, who taught me my first programming language and rubbed off the passion on me. Allowing me to play Quake 3 in the labs if I completed an assignment before time helped as well. At Okta, my teammates Caroline Pierce and Cindy Wu have helped me grow in my career both personally and technically. I honestly don't think I'd be as productive or work would be as fun without them. Thank you!”
Michelle Marovich, Sr. Recruiting Manager: “Need to give a shoutout to Michelle Delcambre for being the reason I joined almost two months ago. She's an inspiring leader for my team.”
Tom Britton, Staff Technical Program Manager: “Thinking of my awesome first tech manager/mentor Karen who (very patiently) brought me into this field back in Florida in ’96. Cheers to the awesome women in Okta Engineering - very proud to work with you all!”
John Gronberg, Director of Product Management: “I see a few folks have called her out already, but I want to add to the honors for Cindy Wu, who has been totally instrumental in my growth as a PM here at Okta. She is an amazing leader, technical superstar, mentor and foil. And thank you to [email protected] for all of the great things you do for the organization!”
Anisha Shetty, Sr. Software Engineer: “Happy women’s day! I’ve enjoyed working with Lily Hsiao, my first manager, when I came back to Okta as a full-time employee. Thank you for helping me grow at Okta and giving me a great start at the beginning of my career!”
Alvin Lin, Email Marketing Associate: “Shoutout to Kelley Sandoval, my first manager at Okta. She jump-started my career when I joined her team as an intern. Happy Women's Day!”
Frank Murphy, Sr. Manager, Quality Engineer: “I am very grateful to my first tech manager, Loretta. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I really have internalized a number of her strategies as a manager, and I use them regularly today.”
Kerry Gluchowski, People Operations Specialist: “Holler at Christie Beeman - my sister, best friend, colleague + rock. She constantly inspires me, challenges me (and at times, my patience), knows how to have a good time + works hard. You go, girl!!”
Sarah Schiff, Recruiter: Big shout out to my Mom, who is now 6 years FREE of Breast Cancer and continues to inspire me everyday to be the best version of myself and live the most healthful & love-filled life possible.
Alyssa Smrekar, Director of Customer + Content Marketing: “Happy Happy International Women's Day! I've loved seeing the notes throughout this feed today... thanks everyone for sharing! I'd like to recognize a few groups.... 1) The awesome customer and content marketing team for their contributions and energy they bring to their roles every day (cc Rebecca Gagnon, Lauren Sheppard, Morgan Asher, Katie Batten, Lindsay Brunner, Ally Kozel.) 2) My mother, grandmother and aunt for teaching me ‘I am woman, hear me roar’ and encouraging me to punch through the glass ceiling. 3) All the women (and men) at Okta and in technology, doing their part to #pressforprogress.”
So to all the badass women here at Okta-- thank you for creating an environment where we lift each other up so that we can all succeed. You inspire me, challenge me, and support me in overwhelming ways. You are leading the way for many even when you don’t know it.
Want to share your own shout out? Let us know on Twitter!