SmarterCX.com is proud to highlight women in technology who are driving innovation, creating the next generation of customer experience, and inspiring future leaders. We met with Rachana Bhide, Organizational Psychologist and Talent Partner for Engineering at Bloomberg and Founder of the Corner of the Court Project, to learn about her work in tech and her efforts to further a diverse workforce by partnering with male allies.
Rachana also shared her leadership advice in “4 Psychology Lessons That’ll Help You Get Ahead in Technology“.
View Rachana’s story and read the interview transcript below.
What is the Corner of the Court?
My name is Rachana Bhide. I run a website where women talk about great male allies in an effort to encourage more men to see that their efforts make an impact.
The website is called Corner of the Court. It is a metaphor pulled from design thinking around a woman who is playing a tennis match and her coach, or her mentor, or her ally is in the corner of the court.
My interest in the topic of Male Allies really started out of my Master’s research at Columbia, here in New York City. I was really interested in the conversation that’s been happening around women in tech and also women in general, which is, what is the role that men can play in creating a diverse workforce? So I went out and I interviewed a lot of “great allies” as had been recommended to me by women who had personal stories.
As I was going through my research, and speaking about my research, I found that there are a lot of women who are interested in the topic.
Fostering male allies
The other thing that I would like to share about the importance of this topic, in women in tech in particular, is there is a known gender gap in technology. Women in tech is getting a lot of focus these days. And more men are proactively asking what they can do.
I see my job as curating information for them, going out and looking at great examples, giving them guide sheets and tips on clear behaviors they can take and do as an ally so that they can feel like they’re moving the needle.
Promoting female leadership
It is about the woman. She’s the one out there. She’s grinding. She’s strategically thinking about winning every point. She’s sweating. She knows that her coach is present and it also gives a really great metaphor for the men to feel, to articulate, or to think about, ‘What is it like to just be in the corner? I’m there and I’m present and I’m being acknowledged as the coach and yet I’m not out there able to control everything. And I’m not out there able to play the points on behalf of the woman.’ It also gives a really great opportunity for the men to be part of the dialogue in a non-threatening way.
Sports certainly is a metaphor that is very accessible to both men and women. And I find that metaphors, when talking about diversity or other things that might have multiple ways of looking at a problem or an issue — metaphors are a great way to do that.
The story is also inspired by me as a 12-year-old girl playing tennis. My first coach in the corner of my court was my older brother. So that’s what inspired the topic.
This interview is part of SmarterCX.com’s Women in Tech series. See more at smartercx.com/womenintech.
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This transcript may be edited for readability.