SPLUNK LIFE

Reflections from Women’s History Month

I first noticed one of the biggest problems in technology when I was sitting in class at MIT back in the 1990s. More than 20 years later, the problem persists. Women – and especially women of color — continue to be underrepresented in tech and engineering, particularly in computer science. As an industry, we simply haven’t done enough to diversify our talent, or to create opportunities for women to not only join technology companies, but also to lead. 

The numbers don’t lie. In 2020, the Society of Women Engineers reported only 13% of engineers and 26% of computer scientists are women in the U.S. The numbers at Splunk reflect this reality: In 2019, women held only 20% of our technical jobs, and that drops to less than 1% when we only look at technical jobs held by Black, Latinx, and Native American women. 

But there is hope — and it starts with us. By challenging myself and others to find ways to improve diversity and inclusion, we can help create a better and more equitable industry. The industry needs to pave a way for women in tech, and we need to help women leaders rise and thrive across this sector. 

I’m now sitting in a chair where I can — and will — do my best to make that happen. But words can only do so much. From my perspective, taking action is what truly counts. That’s why we’re doing a few things here at Splunk to create the change we want to see. 

I’m pleased that half of the Engineering leadership team reporting to me are women. Across the team we have dedicated considerable energy to improving our hiring practices, in order to identify and attract some of the best women engineers in the industry. We will continue to learn from those efforts, from what others are doing, and strive to keep getting better.

Just last year, we launched a women in engineering development program. Our goal is to identify and navigate the challenges that women face in engineering, creating shared experiences and a sense of community. The six-month program covers a wide range of topics such as how to maximize impact and influence as a leader, build a personal brand, set boundaries, lead through change, and lead authentically, all in the context of career growth. I’m very proud to report that we recently graduated our first cohort in March and will be kicking off our second cohort this month. We will continue to invest and scale the program over time, as we’re already seeing positive gains.

Overall, we’re slowly but surely making progress. In 2019, we saw an uptick in the percentage of women and employees from underrepresented groups that were hired at Splunk. But that’s still not enough — we need to keep going if we want to see significant and sustained change. 

I’m also a co-executive sponsor for our Womxn+ Employee Resource Group. They delivered an incredible program in honor of Women's History Month that included virtual events, a Womxn’s Equality Walk showcase, spotlighted employees on our social channels, and organized several networking opportunities.

I recently attended their guest keynote, where I had the pleasure of hearing Kimberly Bryant — the founder and CEO of Black Girls CODE and an Aspen Institute Fellow — speak about her lifelong work to help women and girls of color in the technology industry, and the lack of female representation in Silicon Valley. I couldn’t agree with her more, and as Women’s History Month comes to a close, I challenge all of us to reflect on Kimberly’s words.

In the end, we must commit to do better. I tell people all the time that we have so many talented people at Splunk, who come from all walks of life and all types of backgrounds. They are all imminently capable, talented and qualified to work here, and they’re a big part of what makes Splunk such a great place to work.

We will continue to strive to do better. And we will continue to go out there in search of talent — whatever that looks like and wherever it comes from. Let’s start right here. If you’re a woman, from an underrepresented group, or if you want to work in tech, come join us at Splunk. Check out our careers page to learn more. 

Jeremy Rishel
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Jeremy Rishel

Jeremy is Splunk’s Senior Vice President of Engineering, responsible for all software development, testing, operations, infrastructure, and program management functions. Jeremy joined Splunk in 2018, after roles as Vice President, Engineering at DoorDash and Twitter. At Twitter he led a variety of product and engineering groups, including video products and engineering, machine learning and product data science, and engineering for all advertising products, data products, and developer tools. Prior to joining Twitter, he served in various engineering or product leadership roles for i2 Technologies, aPriori, and Bluefin Labs. Jeremy started his career as a Marine artillery officer, serving in the 2nd Marine Division, with assignments taking him to Europe, Japan, and Korea, as well as a number of duty stations within the U.S. Jeremy holds B.S. degrees in Computer Science and Philosophy from MIT, as well as an M.B.A from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

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