Gender equality in tech: The power of the question “How can I help?” with Eva Helén – Part II

Men, are you unsure where to begin or if your involvement is needed (or wanted) to advance women and minorities in the workplace? Tech maverick Eva Helén joins us to talk about her book Women in Tech — A Book for Guys. After discovering that men often tune out during DEI sessions, Eva developed a series of vignettes to share what men are already doing to support women and minorities at work. Her approach allows men to see the range of actions available to them and self-assess their next steps. Tune in to learn the power of the question, “How can I help?” and why it matters when you support your co-workers and colleagues.

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

The Transcript - Interview with Eva Helen Part II

Jeffery Tobias Halter: Welcome to our show. Today we're continuing a conversation. We started earlier this year, focusing on women in tech and what men can do to facilitate equality and the advancement of women. I'm Jeffery Tobias Halter, and today I'm enjoying a nice dry French Rosé I've found you can drink it anytime of the day. And so it's really my go-to win(e)d down drink of choice. Amanda, what are you drinking today?

Amanda Hammett: So I am on water today. I have to rehydrate again. Um, it's been a rough week and it's only Wednesday. So there we are. Um, anyway, but let's, let's dive into our guests and not even dwell on that. So it is my honor to welcome and introduce. Eva Helén, uh, for part two of her Win(e)d Down Wednesday conversation with us, uh, Eva is an entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the tech field. Uh, she's also the founder of EQ inspiration, which offers programs for men and mixed groups in tech, wishing to help advance women and minorities in the workplace.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: Eva, welcome back to Win(e)d Down Wednesday we're excited to have you back until, uh, talk more about your book and that conversation. We started earlier this year, but first I've got to ask what's your beverage of choice today?

Eva Helén: Okay, so it's going to have to be a double espresso.

Amanda Hammett: You mentioned that in the last one, so I'm, I'm impressed that you're still with that.

Eva Helén: I mean, I'm serious. We're in this house here where I live with my family. We're very serious about our coffee. Um, and occasionally I'll go with an oatmeal cappuccino, but I tell you a double espresso beats, pretty much everything.

Amanda Hammett: I agreed, agreed, especially to give you that little afternoon lift so wonderful. So Eva, if you don't mind, um, sharing with us in the first episode, we talked about your book women in tech, a book for guys. So guys for you, um, and we discussed the seven male prototypes that emerged in your research. If you don't mind, let's, let's continue that conversation about the prototypes and how you see men using your book or the models that you presented to actually advance women.

Eva Helén: So the reason, um, that I thought it was a good idea, or it kind of just came to me after studying all the research that I had done with all these interviews with men, particularly in tech and tech related industries, Was that I started to understand also by talking to them that the message that was being delivered to them during trainings or workshops, didn't always suit them. Uh, very often they felt like they were tuning out the already, before the present there was getting into the real material. Um, something just didn't appeal to them. So as these seven character prototypes emerge, I thought, well, of course you can't very well. Um, if you have a new sales team, for example, or you have your, your manager of a sales team, you have some new employees, you have some that have been there for a long time. You can't coach them all the same way. If you are a parent and you have a couple of children or more, you know, that if you want to get them to the same kind of finish line, you have to coach them along differently because they're all different. And so I thought, well, that makes sense. I can't deliver the same message. To all of these men, what I think the commonality is that nobody likes to be told what to do, because I don't like to be told what to do. So what I did in the book is as I present these seven character prototypes of men is I introduce different ways for each one of them, um, to support women and minorities directly or indirectly. And I'm not proposing to them what to do, but I'm simply sharing what other men at the character prototype level above theirs are already doing. That's it.

Amanda Hammett: Would you mind sharing with the audience before we move on the actual seven and how they came up with their name?

Eva Helén: Yes, so at the top we have the three advocates, Mark, James, and Samir. Mark originally, I got the idea for the name from men advocating for real change, which is an organization out of New York. Um, James is a Um, he's a change agent. He changes the culture of the organization. He works with the entire team. So if you're an agent, you're a bond James Bond. So therefore his name is James. Um, Samir really got his name because I needed a good name. Uh, well, that also didn't feel like a white guy's name, uh, that started with an S so Samir was the first thing that came to mind. Memo, sounds like mentor. So now we're moving into the three under, so the first top three are the advocates. The next three are the allies, and the allies are Memo, Cree, Uh, sorry, Memo, Al, and Cree. Memo is a mentor who mentors, women one-on-one. And so I needed a name that started with an M and my husband's nickname is Memo. So I asked him, is it okay? Uh, to use your nickname and would you like it in the book? And he said, yes, I would like that very much. Now he's not a Memo. He's a Samir, but that's that's, it gets a little complicated. The next level is Al he's the happy go lucky ally, the typical ally, the one who desperately wants to support and help, but has absolutely no clue where to start. We love him. And he's very, um, receptive, shall we say to the message and, uh, his willingness to help is, is great. So if you give them just small things to do small ideas, it's really easy for him to implement them without taking any extra time out of his Workday. Um, so Al is ally. That's where that came from. Cree was an interesting one. He's the only person who actually, or a character prototype who actually changed name names a few times throughout the process of writing the book it came from. I wanted to call that category, the convincible resistant. So Cree is the person who, when you start to talk about these topics of diversity and inclusion tends to kind of withdraw, not because he's not interested, but he gets a little bit uncomfortable. Um, and so I wanted a name with a C and an R in it. And Chris was pretty common among my interviewees, so I couldn't use that. And then we had another name for a little while, but then we landed on a Cree because I thought it was such a special, a different name from where I come from. And then finally at the bottom, the seventh character prototype is Richard. Um, and I'm sorry if some people find it offensive, it's been, it's meant to be taken a little bit as a joke. Um, but his nickname is often used in the context of being somebody who is not aligned with the general efforts and somebody who is a little bit, um, uh, oppose to change shall we say.

Amanda Hammett: Uh, we use the name Richard around my office quite often. So no worries.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: That is too funny. That is too funny. I absolutely loved those. I've done this work for 20 plus years and Being able to put people into those places or quite frankly have them. Self-assess almost into those places I think is phenomenal. Um, as we, as we kind of want to, I can't go deep into each of the seven, but you made a statement in your book that all men can do better at supporting at supporting women. You know, if you had to cut across, maybe we'll go with the top six. What's one thing that those men could all do for our listeners. What would be that one thing that might cut across those top six?

Eva Helén: I think the easiest one is always to ask, how can I help? And it is a very, um, even for so As I was explaining in our last episode, um, was that the allies are still a little bit self-conscious and a little bit focused on themselves. What if I say, or do the wrong thing? What if I support somebody and it's going to affect my career? Anything like that. The advocates are very focused on other people, but even for the allies. When they're in a one-on-one conversation with a woman, maybe it's even somebody who they know really well, somebody on their team, but they don't know them very well. It is not that difficult, even for that person to say, Hey, how can I help? When you're an advocate and you're at the top of this matrix, the how can I help, might be because He's tuned into a situation that nobody else has noticed. So it might be a more delicate matter or a more difficult topic, or how can I help the answer to that might be, well you know, I'd love to work for you as a boss, but the culture of this company is very difficult for me. So then that advocate finds himself having to start addressing. The culture of the team or the organization, which is not something that we can ask an ally to do, but the, so how can I help you? Is common across all of those six categories.

Amanda Hammett: Excellent. Excellent. I love that. So what advice would you give to a middle manager who wants to help advance women. Maybe they have not read the book yet, so they can't self-select if they are a Mark or a Richard or where on the spectrum that they fall. But what advice would you give to them if they just don't know where to begin?

Eva Helén: I would suggest take the self assessment or read the book because the thing is that it doesn't. So, so, the different character prototypes are not at all in any way, tied to the level you're at on the heirarchy. Of your organization. So you can be an individual contributor and be a Mark just as well as unfortunately you can be the CEO of a company and be a Richard.Absolutely. So there's no, no, there's no connection. I've not been able to find any kind of pattern. I'll find the same amount of Richards at the entry level professionals. As I found at the find at the top. However, the majority of the people in my research ended up in the Cree and Al categories. So the bottom part of the allies. And so if we assume that this middle manager who you're talking about is an Al or a Cree. And they're thinking about how can I actually get more women in, onto my team or into my organization. They may not even be ready for that statement Al probably Is he saying, sure, I love to work with women. They're great. I want to bring more onto the team. The first thing he needs to do is go to the women who he already has on his team and ask them about their experiences. If there are things that are really good. That he can talk about when he interviews other women. If there are things that are not so good so that he can actually start to address those.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: You know, I love in closing that the names you picked and I'll bounce this off, uh, Amanda for a second. Kind of millennial sounding, right. Memo and Cree. You know, these, these are not old white guys. I liked the jazz, you know, that, that puts out. So with that, um, you know, we never have enough time. So we want to thank you for joining us today. Um, and if you were to hold your book up, please, uh, for people who are coming to our website to see the, uh, the video portion, um, you'll find out more information about Eva, her work in her book, women in tech. On her website, We're going to post that in our podcast and also on our website. But I just wanted to thank you so much for, for joining us. Again, the message is so relevant and we just need hundreds and hundreds of people talking about how to we create more male allies and advocates. So thank you so much for joining us today.

Eva Helén: Thank you.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.