Women’s Equality Day: Interviews with WIN Members
Women’s Equality Day commemorates August 26th, 1920, when voting for women officially became part of the U.S. constitution. It is a day that marks a turning point in the history of the struggle for equal treatment of women. Ahead of this year’s centennial celebration, we spoke with Kimberly Kasprow, COO of NS2 Mission, and Lynda Hartman, Sr. Administrative Specialist. Both women are members of the Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) at NS2, an employee resource group established to help advance the careers of female employees. Kimberly and Lynda shared with us what equality means to them, the positive impact WIN has had on NS2, and their individual role models, as well as their hopes for women rising up through the ranks of the tech world.
What does women’s equality mean to you?
Kimberly: “Having equal opportunities available to women. It’s unacceptable that there are still instances of women not being given opportunities or passed up promotions because they have families and care for children. In order for us to achieve equality, we need equal opportunities.”
Lynda: “Equality is the ability to pursue what we want to pursue without boundaries. When you look at roles of men and women over previous generations, women really had one role. For the past few decades, we’ve had to fight to say, ‘I think I’d be a good doctor’ or ‘I think I’d be a good leader.’ I think that equality is women being able to say: We’re good at all of these things, we have the skill set to accomplish them, and we’re going to pursue what we truly want to do.”
Why did you join WIN?
Lynda: “I’ve worked for a lot of companies over the years, where there were a lot of women in leadership and C-level roles and that was great because they were visible. But in tech, you don’t always see that. At NS2, it’s the first company that I’ve come across that has invested in the growth of women with a formalized group that really pushes and promotes women in leadership.”
How have you benefitted from being part of WIN?
Kimberly: “I came to NS2 through an acquisition, so I didn’t know a ton of people here. So, as WIN was formed, it helped me to create a network with these women that I find so inspirational, these women who have accomplished so much in their careers. Getting to know them and building those relationships has been extremely important to me.”
What was one of your favorite WIN events?
Lynda: “Right after COVID hit, WIN invited Myra Bridgeforth LPC, a trauma therapist, to come talk to the group in a session called “How to Get Unstuck: COVID & Compounded Trauma.” Knowing that this pandemic has especially impacted women with our multiple roles, it was very timely and helpful.”
How has WIN changed NS2?
Kimberly: “I’ve noticed since the start of WIN, there have been a lot more conversations around who’s in the room. And, because people are noticing who’s in the room more, this is leading to questions of how we can grow our diversity.”
Who are your biggest inspirations?
Kimberly: “There are so many inspirational women out there right now. Early on in my career, I worked at Boeing and had a chance to hear Leanne Caret speak. She shared stories about how failure provided us with an opportunity to learn and grow. Leanne, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Mia Hamm—all of these women are forging a path for the rest of us.”
Lynda: “Because of the environment here at NS2, women are allowed to be themselves and lead—they don’t need to adopt typical ‘masculine traits’ to be successful. Women have a place at the table no matter how they present themselves. And, that’s truly inspirational. Also, I love C.J. Cregg, the character from West Wing. She’s an inspiration!”
What is your advice for women working in tech?
Kimberly: “Don’t be afraid to take chances. A lot of women I’ve talked to, myself included, we tend to want to check all the boxes before we decide we’re qualified to go after an opportunity or promotion. Go after that opportunity! And, don’t be afraid to fail.”
Lynda: “Build your social capital and do everything with excellence. And, make it a point to connect with people outside of the tech industry.”
Finally, how do you think we can make equality a reality for women?
Kimberly: “We can’t be willing to settle. This means asking for what we deserve. Understanding our worth is what’s going to get us there. I’m lucky to work for an organization that does care and does want to see equality for women, with a CEO that is supportive and involved. I look forward to the point where we see a woman break that ultimate glass ceiling in our country.”
Lynda: “We need to leverage our allies. There will always be people who aren’t on board with women achieving equality. It’s up to us to move past them and instead engage with our supporters. With a little time, we’ll get there.”
Thank you to Kimberly and Lynda for taking the time to share their thoughts and all our other WIN members who are constantly advancing NS2 women to advance equity and equality at NS2.
To learn more about NS2’s culture and careers visit https://sapns2.com/company/careers.