#ChooseToChallenge on International Women's Day


Today we celebrate International Women's Day. On March 8 every year, we celebrate the social, political, and economic achievements of women. Beyond celebrating achievements, the day helps raise awareness about women's equality, lobby to accelerate gender parity, and fundraise for women-focused charities.

This year's International Women's Day theme is Choose To Challenge. According to the IWD website, "a challenged world is an alert world. And from challenge comes change." At Anaplan, we strive to build an open, diverse, and inclusive community, provide opportunities to learn and grow professionally, and empower women in Anaplan with connections and resources. On this day, Anaplan CEO Frank Calderoni (@frank_calderoni) says, “May we stand with women on this day and every day to have the same opportunities, freedoms and rights to contribute their best selves.”

This year we wanted to hear from our very own model builders and Anaplan employees on how they 'Choose To Challenge' gender inequity and how they will help forge a gender-equal world.


"Gender equality is a question of power. But equal power will not happen by itself in a male-dominated world. We must act decisively to support women in leadership and do far more to appoint women to high-level positions Giving opportunity based on talent and not based on gender."

Sreeharika Sudagani, Anaplan Model Builder at TechMagic Inc.

Hyderabad, Telangana, India

"There needs to be particular intention and focus placed on the fairness put into the hiring and promotions that occurDaanish.jpeg in our workplaces and in our society. From my standpoint, I will help champion this vision in any way that I can. On the side, I have volunteered helping folks with their resumes, interview skills, and negotiation tactics. Based on my observation, women in my community often times have not been taught the skill and art of negotiation. I make sure to spend extra time with anyone that needs help making sure they are able to negotiate for every dollar they are worth."


Daanish Soomar (@DaanishSoomar), Anaplan Consultant at Slalom
Minneapolis, MN, USA


"Encouraging a gender-equal world through encouraging diversity of thought as perspectives but also by seeing where someone shows interest in something and being able to guide them down that path regardless of whether that's a path well trodden. Celebrating women's achievements: for me it all depends on what it is and where that would sit with someone. It would be to recognize success but not over emphasize to the point of belittling it."

Andrew Tye (@andrewtyeAnaplan Process Developer, Master Anaplanner at Aviva

London, United Kingdom

Ric.jpg"I will help forge a gender-equal world by celebrating my colleague's successes and highlight my female co-workers performances. How do I challenge inequity? I have zero tolerance for inappropriate conversations that highlight disparity between genders. I always make it clear that there is no place for that kind of narrative. I question stereotypes on all sides. Treating people as individuals with their own skills, strengths and areas to work on is really important to me. I wouldn't want anyone to generalise about me and so I don't generalise about other people. How do I celebrate women’s achievements? I celebrate my wife's achievements a medical professional, mother, partner and friend to so many. She is intelligent, compassionate and also hilarious. My sister and mother are both very strong, smart and accomplished women. I was brought up believing that women bring a positive and fundamentally important contribution to the conversation. I am always ready to listen."

Ric Clark, Data Modeller/Anaplan Analyst at Miller Homes Ltd

Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

Misbah2.jpeg"Sharing the daily chores at home: it all begins at home. Sharing the daily chores of your partner, wife, mother etc. helps us break the stereotype that these roles are only for women. Equal work culture: prevention of **** harassment at the workplace and removing gender wage gaps. Female leaders as mentors: we all look up to our mentors to follow their path and guidance but how many of us have those mentors as women? I want everyone to have at least one of our mentors as woman leaders. Give everyone the credit they deserve."

Misbah Ansari (@Misbah), Lead Consultant/Master Anaplanner at Wipro Limited
Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Jared.png"I choose to challenge. Anisa Nandaula, spoken word poet, quote “turn those stereotypes into your wings” aptly describes the sentiment of my pledge. Recognizing my own behavior, through action or inaction, and by cultivating presence of mind to manifest empathy, is something I feel must come first. And then secondarily to architect the conditions to advance gender equality by ensuring there are opportunities for women to journey to the skies. My Anaplan Master Anaplanner certification and my certification to train others in Anaplan have given me a venue to promote and enable this pledge. Gender equality is long overdue. Let’s all rise together and see what lies beyond."

Jared Dolich (@JaredDolich), Retail Analytics Consultant/Certified Master Anaplanner, working with Columbus Consulting
Ridgewood, New Jersey, USA


"I help forge a gender-equal world by just being in existence and encouraging the women around me. I think that being a smart, confident, capable woman in a challenging, technical job that has typically been “male” can do a lot to subtly influence the status quo. I have questioned stereotypes by simply insisting on staying engaged and refusing to conform. I celebrate women's achievements by sharing everyone’s achievements widely. I think that achievements are often filtered to emphasize those in power and de-emphasize or simply not mention those who are not in power. When I learn of current and historical figures that contributed great things but are/were not celebrated, I share with my peers to allow the knowledge spread. Little by little, history can be fleshed out from the basic outlines that have been taught. I was one of seven women on the applications support team and the only systems analyst, so bias and challenges as a female in tech is nothing new--I’ve generally been the lone female in the room. I suppose this has forced me to prove my worth every day for so long that I no longer even consciously think about it."

Stacey Gibbens, PMP (@Stacey_Gibbens), Senior Financial Systems Analyst at Simon Property Group

Greenwood, Indiana, USA

On this day, Anaplan employees answer the question: How will you forge a gender-equal world?


"I will help forge a gender equal world by continuing to mentor and coach women to harness their super powers within."

Victor Barnes (@VictorB)SVP, Connected Planning, Atlanta, GA


"I believe that a gender equal world starts with all women seeing themselves as equal. Therefore, I think that in order to get to real equality we need to empower young teenage girls, make them believe in themselves and understand that all the options are open for them if they will choose so see that this way. I’m doing so by participating in inspiring sessions, meeting teenage girls and showing a personal example of a woman who sees herself as equal and design her future the way she wants. In these sessions I present my story- how I got to be a data scientist, what I did when I was their age and what I recommend them to do if this is a path they would like to consider in the future. I do my best to answer their questions, show empathy when they share their concerns and tell how I personally coped with similar fears during my career. I’m also talking about the importance of financial independence for women these days and how critical it is to start planning for this in a young age."

Maya Bercovitch (@MayaB), Data Algorithm Leader, Planning AI, Israel


"Mentor women in the workplace, and offer equal access to roles."

Alvin Liew (@AlvinL)Vice President, Customer Success APAC, Singapore






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"I’m forging a gender equal world by making sure my children see good examples of ALL genders in power – not just men, seeking out and providing training to women to help them meet career goals, and voting women into office so they can represent the needs of their peers."

Eryn Pluim (@eryn.pluim)Anaplan Elevate, Senior Program Manager, Minneapolis, MN, USA




Danielle.jpg"We must remember to challenge what we’ve always known to forge ahead and improve gender equality. It’s not only in business planning, but in the way organizations behave, that needs to be reimagined. Recognizing and addressing words, actions and/or scenarios that discount women or hold them back is crucial. We need to be brave and be willing to have constructive conversation about how to make professional environments better for everybody. I also like the theme in that it inspires me to challenge my fellow female colleagues. I’ve had professional success, not because anybody paved the way for me or made it easy, but because I’ve had a number of incredibly smart and tenacious female mentors who pushed me and challenged me and demanded that I be better. These women made me grow and improve, and we owe it to one another to not only lift each other up when needed, but to challenge one another as well to inspire personal progress and future success."

Danielle Dahlstrom (@Danielle_D)Director of Product Marketing, Finance Solutions, Minneapolis, MN

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"My participation statement is to support, encourage and (hopefully) inspire others as we build a more gender inclusive world."

Sam Jones (@SamJ), Chief of Staff, Application Experience, London, United Kingdom






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"For me it is about listening to everyone’s story to learn more about them and 

embrace from the diverse backgrounds; because that is truly how we learn to make space." 

Ebonee Sawyer (@EboneeS), Training Consultant, Union City, New Jersey





"I will challenge the status quo so that everyone has an equal opportunity to rise and thrive."


Holly Rieke (@HollyRieke), Content Program Manager, Minneapolis, MN, USA

Check out last year's Community video on the 2020 International Women's Day theme: #Each for Equal.

We want to hear from you! How will you #ChooseToChallenge this year? Post your response in the comments.