The First 3 Women at Vectara – Generating and Advancing a Culture of Success at an AI Startup
Learn what it means to be one of the first three women at an AI tech startup
June 13 , 2023 by Felicia Jeffley
When I, along with two other talented women, first joined Vectara, we brought a wealth of experience and unbridled enthusiasm with us. We’d been trailblazers in our respective fields within tech and business startups, and were thrilled to merge our histories with a company destined to make waves globally.
Being women of color, we recognized that our responsibility extended beyond nurturing our personal success to also ensuring the prosperity of other women who would later become part of the Vectara family. We decided to take a deep dive into the 2021 study by McKinsey & Company, “Women in the Workspace 2021”, and had some thought-provoking discussions on the key points:
- Leadership roles for women were increasing, but so was the risk of burnout
- Women were stepping up as powerful leaders, but their efforts often went unnoticed
- Women were still underrepresented in leadership positions
- Women of color were falling behind at every stage
- The ‘allyship gap’ remained a persistent issue
From the beginning, we understood that we were already leaders, and we didn’t need an external nod of approval to reaffirm that. We felt inspired and got straight to work!
Our collective efforts led to the creation of an Anti-Burnout Program (ABP), offering resources and benefits promoting a healthy work/life balance. We also put together a Monthly Recognition Post (MRP), aimed at raising visibility and encouraging positive feedback from the executive team. Additionally, we scheduled monthly Allyship meetings with the CEO.
As Vectara continues to grow, we aim to introduce formal mentoring/allyship opportunities to ensure no woman has to navigate this journey alone. Our monthly women@vectara meetings serve as a space for mutual support and camaraderie.
Our vision, as the pioneering trio at Vectara, was to set a positive precedent for all women joining the company then, now, and in the future. Engineers, business professionals, and executive leads alike stand to gain from the initiatives we put into motion from the get-go. Vectara, I firmly believe, has always been, and will always be, a fantastic workspace for everyone, and an environment where women can truly flourish!