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30 NOV 2018

Driving Diversity in the Warsaw Tech Community

Joanna Obstoj, head of Fixed Income, Currencies and Commodities (FICC) Technology, Marquee Engineering and SPACE Engineering for Warsaw for Goldman Sachs, discusses regional firm strategy and what our engineers have been doing to help drive and champion diversity in Poland.

By Joanna Obstoj

Since the opening of our Warsaw office in 2013, we’ve made it a priority in Engineering to embed ourselves into the local technology community in order to positively contribute to the industry at large. I feel privileged to have been here since the office opened, because I have been able to see the progress we’ve made and how engaged and excited our engineers are with what we’ve achieved to date.

One of the key themes for us - in line with Goldman Sachs’ commitment to diversity and inclusion around the world and in every part of our business - is the topic of gender diversity, which we’ve discussed with the community and other leading technology firms.

Quite simply, Goldman Sachs believes gender equality is an economic imperative and is the foundation for sustainable growth for our firm, our clients, and our communities. We are focused on the topic through multiple lenses, including our philanthropic efforts, our commercial business, and our own culture.

One example, in a bid to address this from the bottom up, we put our heads together with industry leaders and launched IT for SHE in 2017. The programme focuses on demystifying the technology sector and creating opportunities for women studying STEM subjects. It’s an incredibly important initiative for Goldman Sachs as it enables our engineers in Warsaw to connect with local women engineers in meaningful ways and has a proven track record of contributing to a more diverse talent pool in the sector. In 2018, seven out of eight engineers joining us in graduate positions were women.

Seeing the positive impact we were having, both internally and externally, we didn’t want to stop there – we also wanted to prioritise those women already in the technology sector and provide the support that would encourage them to stay in,  to come back after maternity leave and to make up senior leadership.

In order to achieve engagement with all levels of women in the industry, we’ve been working very closely with Perspektywy over the past eight months to help deliver the Women in Tech Summit, which took place in Warsaw on 27 and 28 November. The event saw over 3,000 women in attendance, making it the largest event for women in technology in Central and Eastern Europe.

It’s an initiative that has been incredibly important to me, both personally and professionally - I believe it’s crucial that women are at the forefront of driving the industry. It was fantastic to feel the energy in the room of all these women, established engineers, coming together to have discussions around how we can all be the change we want to see in the industry. I feel energised and connected to my wider community of women engineers.

Jo Hannaford, our head of Technology for EMEA, came along to deliver a keynote and what she touched on really summarised the discussions being had over the course of the two days; educate, engage and elevate. How continuous education is key to staying in the industry, how engaging with the wider community will create a support network and how elevating and advocating for your fellow women engineers will continue to move the needle on the diversity and inclusion objectives.