Sramana Mitra: How are your clients responding to this point? This is a very interesting point.
Janine Yancey: Up until this year, it’s been a difficult conversation to have. That’s why the employers that do partner with us are the ones that are more progressive. They can see the bigger picture. This year, people are starting to see that we can’t clamp down on this.
In the past, everyone was in isolation. No one had power through numbers. All of a sudden, you’ve got a tipping point. You’ve got the web to collectivize and mobilize everyone. What do you know? Every employee, no matter where they sit in the organization, can get power by connecting with hundreds, if not thousands, of other people.
The employees are looking at this and saying, “Our way of dealing with this no longer works because we can’t just isolate and conquer.” There has to be a rebalance of the power. That’s what we’re trying to effectuate. When you do that, it is in the benefit of everyone. It’s not a winner-take-all strategy. The employees win and the employers win.
Sramana Mitra: This year, you’re getting more response? People are willing to teach their employees about this?
Janine Yancey: Yes, we’re getting much more acceptance.
Sramana Mitra: Let me ask you a few points about the specifics. You may have seen this post on Facebook on Sheryl Sandberg. There’s a backlash against the me-too hashtag. Men are getting nervous and scared about being in a room with a woman. They’re nervous and uncertain of what they can get accused of. Those can be career killers.
What is your perspective on that? I’ll tell you my experience. I come from a generation of women in Silicon Valley being surrounded by men. I was mentored heavily by men and I’ve learned a lot from very strong male mentors. Technology is still a male-dominated field. The point is a very important point. You don’t want to scare the men away from having professional relationships with their female colleagues.
Janine Yancey: I couldn’t agree with you and Sheryl Sandberg more. I absolutely believe that we need to be strategic. We must have a well thought out plan on how to move the needle. I’m certainly hearing and seeing, through our courseware, the angry white men unabashedly sending us in their comments that they don’t want to work with a woman.
The me-too movement is not understanding this significant segment of our population who are getting nervous and upset. They might not be as loud as the me-too movement right now, but they are getting nervous and upset. We need to be not appeasing them but crafting a dialog so that it’s not a zero-sum game. Similar to you, our growth at Emtrain has been due, in part, to my advisors like Steve Roop who helped build Glassdoor. I’m very grateful. We just can’t disconnect from 50% of our population. We need to empower them.