Chic Geek, Women in tech redefine the concept of soft skills through new program

Soft skills are the new requirement, and we’re here to help you hone in on yours.

Becoming a leader is about more than climbing the corporate ladder. So, how do we support women and diverse teams in senior tech leadership positions to ensure they’re developing their skills while simultaneously addressing the leaky funnel of mid and senior women leaving the sector?

Guided training and support.

Chic Geek and TD’s Women in Enterprise team up to create the next cohort of leaders through a BESPOKE training and learning experience still available to those who sign up before September 7, 2022.

“At the rate the tech industry is moving, skills such as leadership, teamwork, and emotional intelligence will be essential in the workforce. As roles become automated and outsourced, these are becoming the vital skills that will add to our toolbox of essentials for women who lead in the technology sector. We need to rebrand soft skills; communications, management, and ability to inspire and motivate a team are essential. It’s not about being nice or so-called feminine attributes. It’s about leadership qualities. Through Chic Geek, The Practice of Coaching Peer Circles, we can help bring more of these essential skills to our teams and the individuals advancing our sector,” says Kylie Woods, Chic Geek Executive Director and Founder.

Chic Geek is a startup-style organization of women in tech with a new program designed to redefine “soft skills” through training made available via a $$ boost from TD Bank’s Women in Enterprise. The Practice of Coaching for Chic Geek’s Peer Circles, is facilitated by renowned Roy Group Training. Spots are valued at upwards of $1750 per person and available through sponsorship.

Chic Geek’s The Practice of Coaching Peer Circles, a six-week coaching training program (VIRTUAL and available internationally).

When we have more role models, it creates a positive ripple effect that inspires other women to continue growing their careers in technology. It impacts attrition in our organizations, leads to better corporate culture and ultimately attracts and retains more women to our tech sector.

Who’s signed up so far?

For Shiori Saito, Product Design Lead at Helcim, signing up for the programming fits right in with her mission to “make technology more human” for everyone. Helcim, as a sponsor of Chic Geek, supports their team members such as Shiori with opportunities to build their careers in tech through programming and learning opportunities available through Chic Geek.

Saito says she’s ready to gain actionable frameworks and more clarity to lead and empower teams through the 6-week training program that kicks off in September.

“The biggest hurdle I feel women face in tech leadership development is underrepresentation,” Saito says (Helcim team since 2021). “There are many factors to it but the main hurdle I noticed was the entry point to the technology itself for women and girls. I didn’t have opportunities to learn coding and electronics until my college time. Being the only female student in the class or having little exposure to role models made my learning experience intimidating and more difficult to define my career.”

Saito has a background in Media Arts as well as UX Design.

“I’ve been fascinated by how digital technology impacts our perceptions (in fact technology is almost part of us!). I want to help other women get excited about different and unique aspects of technology and through this training, perhaps I’ll gain some more skills to do so. Meeting mentors in tech and their diverse career journeys have been inspiring and encouraging. Recently my focus has been more on leadership,” Saito adds.

Women paving the way for women

When Melanie Campbell became the Western Canada Regional Manager for TD Women in Enterprise in Nov 2021, she immediately started searching for women entrepreneurs across the prairies who TD might be able to support. Campbell came across Chic Geek founder Kylie Woods in a news article on the technology sector and reached out.

“We connected organically on LinkedIn and began thinking together about how TD could help support diversity and women in technology through Chic Geek programming,” says Campbell, adding some of the most effective ways of growing the female leadership community is learning how to impactfully network.

It wasn’t long until the two leaders began planning around Chic Geek Career Pathing.

“When I started researching Chic Geek, I knew it was a fit to support because one of the most important aspects of our strategy at TD is to support women in community-based programs that provide networking and mentorship, such as Chic Geek’s The Practice of Coaching, Peer Circles. These types of programs can be a valuable tool in helping to support growth, knowledge, allyship and networking, all of which are so important when it comes to building career skills,” Campbell says.

The Practice of Coaching Peer Circles focuses on leadership development and skill sets. Skills integral to business and operations but often not fostered and trained for in school or in companies as a habit. We are not born knowing how to be a role model and it’s not taught in school. Fellow mentors create the next cohorts of role models that make an impact.

The programming begins with 2-days of virtual training from Roy Group on forging deep relationships with peers and learning to lead through compassionate question asking. Those sessions are followed by a month of intentional practice sessions facilitated by Chic Geek (1-hr every week with a cohort of 6 -10 individuals) to connect and have lively discussion on how to further improve your coaching skills.

The start date is in September and more women in technology are encouraged to apply. The value for the training is $1750 per person and available for those who are registered as Chic Geek Career Guides as a pay what you can donation. Proceeds go back to Chic Geek to support the community of women in tech and STEM. Companies are also encouraged to sponsor their staff.

Chic Geek

855 2 St SW
Bankers Hall East Calgary

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Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No PITCH SCOOP journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.