During summer 2016, Sequoia set out to do more to address one of the most pressing issues in the technology industry: supporting women in technology-related roles. In order to build an effective solution that would help move the needle, Sequoia partnered with us to understand their portfolio companies’ professional development needs.
Our quantitative research of over 500 men and women across Sequoia’s portfolio underscored the opportunity and need to support early career women in technology focused roles. Following this research, we went straight to the source and spoke with women in Sequoia portfolio companies to learn about their experiences. We partnered with Sequoia and these women to build a program that could have a meaningful impact on their careers.
Together with Sequoia, in fall 2016 we launched the Ascent program, which supports these emerging women leaders in tech. We designed the program to connect early career women with opportunities for skill development, cross-company relationship-building, and access to leaders in their space — all of which emerged as key needs in our quantitative and qualitative research.
A few of the programs key elements include:
- One-on-one mentorship – Each participant is matched with a mentor whose strengths and experience align with goals set at the beginning of the program.
- In-person events – Participants have the opportunity to attend events throughout the year, focused on developing professionals skills and building meaningful relationships with mentors, peers, and role models.
- Structured peer groups – Women will participate in small, moderated, and confidential peer groups. Peers provide feedback, support and guidance on challenging real-world situations.
- Customized learning content – The platform offers curated content that supports participants’ individual goals, guides the cohort on a learning journey to master the art of influence and career pathing, and shares on-the-job learning exercises to build your experience with new skills.
We are thrilled to announce that our founding class’s Capstone took place last week and, due to their positive feedback, a second Ascent class will launch today, with 200 women. Thank you to Fortune and Michal Lev-Ram in particular for helping us share the news more broadly.