Women Empowered at Workday: Embracing Equity in Tech

Workday Life
7 min readApr 7, 2023

At Workday, we value inclusion, belonging, and equity. We call it VIBE™. Our goal is to continuously foster a workplace where everyone is empowered to be their best selves, where we work together toward making work days brighter for all. And that means collectively, we all must embrace equity.

We sat down with some of the women of Workday, who are part of our Women@Workday employee belonging council, to share their career journeys in tech, how they’ve seen equity embraced at work, and how they as individuals practice embracing equity to create a brighter future for those beginning their careers in technology.

Career progression at Workday

Martina is a senior principal application engineer, fast approaching her 11-year anniversary with us this September. Martina’s journey with us began as an intern, and hasn’t stopped since!

“As an application engineer at the start of my career, I worked on many cross-functional and cross-technology features. Then, I worked on a special project with the Analytics Engineering team to ship their first product, which is when I decided I wanted to join this team full-time,” Martina shared.

Elena, on the other hand, joined Workday over 9 years ago as part of the UK Payroll product team. When an opportunity came up to contribute to the Australian Payroll product, Elena felt confident that her payroll knowledge and product management skills would fit in well. In fact, it seemed like the natural next step.

“The best way I could contribute to Workday,” Elena shared, “was to be part of the leadership team of the new product and I’m really proud of the team we’ve built.”

Caroline, who joined Workday as an engineering manager 10 years ago, progressed to director and then later, vp of engineering. Last year, Caroline took on the role of general manager of the analytics organization.

Also within engineering is Subha. She joined in 2019 as a senior manager on Threat Intelligence team and focused on building a platform to detect and remediate threats to Workday and our customers. After a successful year of building the platform, Subha became a director and was given additional responsibilities to lead the Platform Security team where she and her team successfully built and delivered new key management capabilities to our customers. She was then promoted to senior director, leading the Security Products team managing identity access management and privacy along with platform security. Currently, Subha leads the entire Security Products organization including engineering, product, and architecture teams to provide a unified security platform to Workday and our customers. Subha shared,

“I am happy with the way that my career has progressed at Workday and I strongly believe that with change comes opportunities.”

At Workday, we’re committed to celebrating all of our Workmates’ unique skills and what makes them shine. We encourage our employees to up-skill and support in growing professionally.

Embracing equity at the organizational level

Workday’s commitments to equity in the workplace show up in a number of different ways, but especially when it comes to the way we look at hiring. We have programs like Opportunity Onramps, Returnship, and Career Accelerator that support the many unique career paths people can take in their professional journey.

Martina believes that culture is important in allowing all of this to happen.

“Our emphasis on belonging and equity is present through our employee belonging councils, equity-based compensation, unconscious bias training, as well as the development of products such as VIBE Index™. These things do go a long way.”

Elena agrees with these sentiments.

As a hiring manager, I embrace equity from day one when we start looking for candidates for a new role. We want the role to be fulfilling for the applicant, so we are intentional in trying to identify a good fit, while also celebrating what makes each applicant unique. We also take into account the individual’s skills and experiences by providing opportunities for growth and development. Finally, we also provide resources to support the individual’s career path and to provide them with the tools and resources that they need to succeed,” Elena explains.

These initiatives have long been in the making. As far back as 10 years ago when Caroline first joined us, she noticed something different.

As she put it,

“I saw amazing women in senior technical roles. I’ve never really had to look far for inspiring female role models.”

And that’s so true when you consider the number of amazing women in senior leadership positions here today.

Subha was happy to point to many examples she’s personally seen that showcase Workday’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

“From regular pay equity analyses to ensuring a variety of backgrounds and perspectives are present in our people, these are brought into the fold,” Subha shares.

These are complemented by a number of employee belonging councils, the inclusion of flexible work arrangements (such as hybrid work and flexible schedules) and regular training and education opportunities for Workmates.

“Commendable,” Subha said proudly, “Workday’s efforts to promote equity within the workplace are truly commendable and serve as a model for others.”

Embracing inclusion and equity at an individual level

We believe that all people deserve to be treated with fairness, respect and inclusivity. But what does it mean for an individual to embrace equity?

For Elena, it’s about seeing each person as an individual.

“I try to look further into individual circumstances and how each individual may be feeling. I try to empathise — I look back into my past experiences and think about how I felt at that time. Doing this, I am better able to consider what the individual may need and how I can guide them,” Elena shared.

Caroline, on the other hand, has been working through the years to elevate the voices and careers of women in tech. She talks regularly with younger generations about careers in tech and shares her personal experiences with them, which she finds incredibly rewarding.

And from a leadership perspective, Martina believes in the power of mentoring. She says,

“I want to empower junior engineers, I see that as a big part of my job. Embracing inclusion, for me, also means continuous learning and reflection. I try to keep an open mind and remain aware of my biases.”

Subha opened up to share a few ways in which she embraces equity in her role. She hires and promotes based on merit. She also looks at setting the tone for our workplace culture by leading with respect, kindness, and empathy. Subha shared,

“I actively seek out opportunities to mentor and sponsor women in our organization. I believe in paying all of our employees fairly and equitably. I encourage flexible work arrangements, and ensure that our family leave policies are inclusive of all genders.“

Advice to women starting their tech careers

Caroline, Martina, Elena, and Subha are all unique representations of the various opportunities available for women in technology. As they reflect on their careers, they’re sharing advice to those who are wanting to start a career in technology.

Caroline O.

I love the Future Females in Tech event that we run in Dublin for female college students. I’d recommend attending some of the tech meetups like HER+Data or Women Who Code — a great way to network!

Martina M.

Don’t be afraid of going out of your comfort zone and being yourself. Curiosity goes a long way too: ask questions, read a book, dig into problems no one else wants to take on. Recognize that you’re surrounded by mentors and sponsors, even if not formally recognized by those words.

Elena C.
Never be put off because you are the only female sitting in a classroom, never feel less because you are the only woman in your team at work. And always take the opportunity when it surfaces. If it doesn’t come to you, just go find it. What has been tried and true for me is that I’ve never given up and have never stopped believing in what I can achieve.

Subha G.

Build a solid foundation. There are many skills required in the tech industry, such as coding, data analysis, project management, and more. Identify the specific skills you want to develop and work on improving them. Seek mentorship in those who can guide and support your growing career in tech. One who can provide advice, feedback, and share connections. Networking is critical in any field! Attend conferences, participate in industry events, and connect with other professionals. And, last but not least, don’t be afraid to take risks! Sometimes the best opportunities come from trying something new.

“Don’t let imposter syndrome get to you. Imposter syndrome is a common feeling among women in tech. It’s important to remember that you are capable and that you belong in this industry.”

These are the women of Workday, who work every day to foster an environment that is united and progressive, but also uplifting.

These are empowered women, making a difference. As you’ll see every career in tech does look different. But it’s also stimulating and full of potential. If you’re interested in what could be, if you think this might be the place for you, then you owe it to yourself to give it a go.

A brighter work day is just around the corner☀️. Explore career opportunities here. For more #WDAYLife content, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.



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