A collaborative community initiative, Inspired by Women, Powered by Women
Today is International Women’s Day! In the spirit of this year’s theme, #ChooseToChallenge, I would like to highlight an initiative between two women who came together with the common goal of elevating women in their respective communities and learning from each other in the process. I find this inspiring, two women from different organizations are lifting each other up, learning from each other and growing together.
Those of us close to the global “agile community” recognize the gender gap and overall underrepresentation of women in our industry. In this blog post, I'll share the story of how Scrum.org and Scrum Alliance united to discover and find ongoing ways to support women and create greater balance in our shared communities. Daphne Harris, Director of the Professional Scrum Trainer Program, Scrum.org and Anu Smalley, Certified Scrum Trainer, Scrum Alliance came together to form an initiative called Agile Bridges, designed to bring women in Scrum together, build bridges between the Scrum.org and Scrum Alliance communities, and create pathways for greater gender parity in the agile trainer community. The goal of this initiative is to create opportunities for the women in these communities to grow their skills, learn from each other, and have a platform to elevate their voices in the greater agile community.
Daphne met Anu at an Agile New England event where Anu gave a talk about Gender parity. “Anu’s talk really inspired me and I quickly realized we can learn from each other in ways that we can support trainer candidates and trainers in our respective communities regardless of the program they are in,” said Daphne. “Both of our communities have a lot of room for growth when it comes to gender diversity, as does the agile community as a whole.”
Daphne reached out to Anu to look at ways they could work together to better support Gender Diversity in both of their respective communities. Anu was in full agreement they should be working on bringing the communities of women together. “Daphne reached out to me and we decided that we could do something together,” said Anu. “Even if we do represent two different certifying organizations, we are completely united in wanting to address gender parity. And our organizations are 100% behind our efforts.”
When beginning to form the group, Anu and Daphne asked for women from diverse backgrounds to volunteer to join them. They specifically sought different women at different points in their agile journeys from diverse geographies, ethnicities and varied Scrum backgrounds. They wanted to create a space for these women to share stories and work together to elevate their voices by providing opportunities to co-train, co-speak at events together and participate in webinars and other programs to create awareness together.
“The Agile Bridges community is a way for us to bring together a small group of talented women and support their growth,” said Daphne. “Then, from there, each of them can grow the next group of women. And it will spread organically.”
When deciding on a logo for the group, Anu reached out to a trainer colleague of hers, Alaila Lundy, to design something supporting the vision of a bridge made up of women’s hands, each supporting and bringing the person next to them along. This vision is all about bridging, seeding and sharing.
“My ask of all the women in the group is to pay it forward,” said Anu. “We need to stop worrying about the glass ceiling and focus on the broken rung: the first step that women need to take to grow into leaders.”
Coming together like this greatly exemplifies the Scrum Values of Commitment, Focus, Openness, Respect and Courage. “We are committed to creating a platform for women to come together--and for finding ways to increase their exposure in the agile community. We ask for their commitment to help each other grow,” said Daphne. “And we are asking our larger community for their commitment to encourage and support these women on their agile journey.”
Respect is apparent between Scrum.org and Scrum Alliance, as we respect each other as organizations and are able to come together for important initiatives. We are also open to learn from each other as we work together on this. “We want to involve women. We don’t care which path they choose, we care about supporting women,” said Daphne.
“I have tremendous respect for each of our programs and the people in it. I know it took courage for Daphne to reach out to me. I so admire her gumption,” said Anu. “We are both focused on our overall mission to include more women trainers—and more trainers who are women of color as well—worldwide.”
It’s inspiring that these two women came together to create a space for female agilists and aspiring Scrum trainers to be given opportunities to elevate their voices within the greater Scrum community. The women of Agile Bridges are Anca Tanase from Romania, Kemmy Raji from Canada, and in the US there are, Nabila Sattar Safdar, Shika Carter, Sheena Gladden, Daphne Harris and Anu Smalley. Yesterday they hosted an event titled, Agile Bridges, Celebrating Our Courage. This virtual event brought women together from North America, South America, Europe, Africa, India and the Philippines, across communities for Open Space sessions to solve problems together and several panel discussions.
“I joined the group to learn with peers including fellow women aspiring to continuously master the craft of training,” said Nabila Sattar Safdar. “It is also a great opportunity to connect with a global network with diverse backgrounds finding their path to achieve similar goals. I am committed to help others achieve their goal of becoming a strong trainer and would love to share my journey and its moments of grit with others.”
“I joined Agile Bridges because I want to encourage and support other women towards their goals of becoming a Scrum trainer,” said Sheena Gladden.
"Progress toward gender parity was always slow, however this pandemic intensified the challenges faced by women. When I heard about Agile Bridges, a community fighting for gender parity in the Scrum trainer world I joined without hesitation,” said Anca Tanase. “I see being part of this group as an amazing opportunity to get support and inspiration from a group of brilliant and ambitious women sharing some of my own dreams, struggles and fears. I intend to use what I gain in helping Scrum Masters, especially women attain skills and recognition as Scrum trainers."
Kudos to Daphne and Anu, and all the women of Agile Bridges for coming together to #ChooseToChallenge our respective communities!
“I am incredibly proud of the Scrum.org support of this initiative as it brings focus to an important aspect of our commitment to diversity and inclusion,” said Daphne. “We look forward to the day where the PST community is flourishing with greater representation from women with a diverse variety of backgrounds from across the globe.”
At Scrum.org, our largest impact on the world occurs through our Professional Scrum Trainer (PST) community. As a result, we must continually invest in creating diversity and enabling inclusion within this group. Doing so is a key component in providing the best training experience for our learners. Without diversity in the PST community, we cannot be successful in achieving our mission of helping people and teams solve complex problems. To amplify diversity & inclusion of the PST community as well as respond to feedback from several PST candidates, we would like to learn from those of you who identify as a woman to learn more about your preferences for participating in PST candidate programs for women, led by women. Please fill out this form to share your thoughts. We appreciate any and all feedback on this matter as it will allow us to take action to meet our community needs!