Sponsored by Womxn@Domo Chair Shelley Morrison and Co-chair Erynn Fratto
March 8 is International Women’s Day. And March is Women’s History Month—an incredible opportunity to amplify women’s voices, celebrate their far-reaching impact, and remind us that although we’ve made progress, there’s a long way to go to ensure that women are supported and empowered—and treated equitably. By educating and building allies, creating communities like Womxn at Domo, and looking for every chance we can get to celebrate women, we will continue to make progress in our efforts to support women worldwide.
A conversation between a leader and her ally
We spoke with Shelley Morrison, Domo’s VP of Global Demand and Chair of Womxn@Domo, and Mark Maughan, Domo’s Chief Analytics Officer and SVP of Customer Success, for a Q&A on the power of Women’s History Month, advice for women as they navigate the litany of challenges they still face, and advice for allies on how to support them.
Why is Women’s History Month important to you?
Shelley: Women’s History Month is an opportunity to amplify women’s voices. It’s a chance to hear women’s stories. In 1981, Women’s History Month was just one week. It wasn’t extended to one month until 1987. And it wasn’t until 1995 that US Presidents began proclaiming it. Women’s History Month is a chance to celebrate the incredible impact women have had across the globe—social, economic, innovation, and beyond.
What progress have you seen on women’s equity? What can we do better?
Shelley: We have made progress. There’s more discussion and awareness of how important equity is than 10-15 years ago. Today, 25% of C-suite roles are filled by women—an increase of 17% from 2015. This is progress, for sure, but the flipside is (according to a 2020 study) that these women earn 75 cents to every dollar executive men earn—a drop in pay equity (it used to be 83 cents). That’s not the direction we want to go. Women are getting leadership roles, but the pay gap remains. So, there’s work to be done.
Why is it important to support women’s empowerment and equity?
Mark: We’re behind. A recent analysis claimed that if we operate at our current rate it’ll take 100 years to reach parity at the executive suite between women and men. That’s too long. I have a 16-year-old daughter and want her to have the opportunity to sit in whatever seat she wants to. We need to not only make things better, but also accelerate our efforts. We know that diverse experiences are a good thing for business and companies—and that comes from gender equity in the workplace.
What challenges have you overcome as a woman in leadership? Do you have any advice?
Shelley: Unfortunately, there are cultural expectations about how women should act, respond, and approach things. But it’s not one size fits all. I’m an outspoken person. I’m direct, transparent, and ambitious. In my career, I’ve heard things like, “you’re intimidating, aggressive, and you talk too much.” My male peers don’t usually get the same feedback. They’re rewarded for the same behavior. They’re called “confident” or “strategic” instead. But I’ve also had mentors throughout my career, both other women and allies, who have amplified my voice and who I am as a leader to help me grow, learn, and not let the naysayers hold me back.
So, my advice to women remains the same. Be authentic. Don’t force yourself to fit into anyone else’s mold. It’s not one-size-fits-all, so respect and be true to yourself. Seek out and surround yourself with a supportive community, mentor, and other resources that empower you to be yourself—and raise your hand when you’re not getting the resources you need.
Why are you an ally? How can other allies help?
Mark: To be called an ally is an honor. We all need allies in life, including women. Especially in tech where women are underrepresented. Somebody once said, “Women are the most underutilized resource we have.” I’m an ally because it’s the right thing to do—and the smart thing to do. Allies can help by educating themselves on the challenges women face. Asking women if they need help sometimes isn’t enough. Identify specific ways to help—and then speak up. For example, I ask if I can add my voice of support during meetings or if they have the resources they need to be successful.
Can you think of a time you were inspired by women’s empowerment?
Mark: Any time we empower women, I feel inspired. I was in an executive meeting once where someone was talking over a female executive. The CEO stopped the room and made sure her voice was heard. He called out that women are talked over more than men. Any time we empower women to be the best at what they want to be, it inspires me.
Can you tell us about a woman who positively influenced your life?
Mark: It would be a huge missed opportunity if I didn’t share that I’m positively influenced by women at Domo every day. I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with a lot of different groups here. In each group, I’ve seen powerful women, the value they’re adding, and what they’ve accomplished. Often while layering on additional responsibilities like parenthood. The mental and empathic load for women is extreme. And women do this on top of excelling at work.
Shelley: My mom is my hero. She had a career while raising three daughters on her own. I don’t know how she did it. When I was growing up, she empowered me to be who I wanted to be. She made me feel more comfortable speaking up and not being afraid to share my knowledge and opinions. I remember after I got my first piercing, I went into her office to meet her for lunch—something we did weekly. When I left, her coworkers said they couldn’t believe she let me do that. Her response? “It’s what she wants and it’s not hurting anyone. She can be who she wants to be.” She raised me to be authentic and true to myself, never forcing me into any societal expectations.
Beyond Women’s History Month—the movement to accelerate progress for women worldwide
We’ve made progress when it comes to supporting women. But the work has only begun. To get where we need to be, women need support. They need allies. They deserve equity and pay parity. We must make meaningful improvements—and faster.
At Domo, we’re committed to making progress for women with the launch of Womxn@Domo. Our Employee Resource Group (ERG) is on a global mission to empower women at Domo to advance their skills and leadership potential, equip allies to better support them, and build an inclusive community where we all do better and win together.