#BreakTheBias this International Women's Day


Today, International Women's Day (IWD), is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The campaign theme this year is #BreakTheBias. The IWD website explains, “Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. Knowing that bias exists isn't enough. Action is needed to level the playing field.”

What actions can we each take to raise awareness against bias? We asked our employees to share specific ways (big or small) they fight for gender equality in their day-to-day life. Their answers are below, and we would love to hear your answer too in the comments!

Stay tuned this week as we feature two Master Anaplanners and how they are also working to #BreakTheBias.

Sam Jones
Chief of Staff, Application Experience


As Chief of Staff for Applications Experience Engineering, I’m faced with the very real challenge of improving the gender balance in Engineering which is traditionally a male-dominated area.

When we are looking for new talent I take it upon myself to constantly challenge hiring managers and recruiters - have they done all they can to ensure a diverse hiring pool? Have they taken risks on candidates that show potential but may need development? Does the interview process work for different diverse groups? Do we have a diverse hiring panel? Can candidates see themselves in their interviewers? I have to be ok with sounding like a broken record (which I’m sure the people around me will tell you I do)!

Retention is arguably even more important than Talent Acquisition – when we look at gender diversity specifically - we must ask ourselves the hard questions: Are we listening to our female employees? Are we connecting with them? Are our female engineers able to see inspiring women in senior engineering and leadership roles? Are they happy at Anaplan? What can we do better? We also have to be comfortable to having the tough conversations when we are unfortunate enough to lose talent - to ensure we learn and improve.   

Finally - we need to be data-driven. Constantly scrutinize the metrics - use them to highlight issues to the right people to effect change. We have to surface the numbers regularly and monitor progress to drive much-needed awareness. 

I challenge myself to continually champion this every day - now I’m challenging everyone else!!

Fiona Gill
VP, Customer Success Americas


Here are a couple of ways, both professionally and personally that I work to break the bias.

  • Coach mentor women – lift as you rise – is a phrase we used at my previous organization. Mentoring is important to me.
  • Making sure we have diversity in our leadership. We have recently promoted several leaders in our Customer Success organization and I’m proud that we have made some movement on women in our leadership ranks.
  • On a personal front, I try to use gender-neutral terms. For example, when I talked in our GTM AKO, I used a basketball reference typically referred to as “man-to-man” defense and recoined it “person-to-person” and gave context to why I do this as a female former basketball player. I do this every day with my sons and when I was coaching them when younger.
  • My sons play hockey and every time we have a female referee, some comment comes out from the stands on her being female. I often have conversations to reframe the situation to friends/fans as to the respect she deserves as a ref – agnostic of her gender. 

Beauram Hur
Principal Program Manager, Ecosystem Maturity



There are a few things I’ve started to put into action to raise awareness against biases. First, call out the inequality. I’ve started using my voice to question the current state and evaluate if there are unconscious biases that come into play when making decisions. Second, celebrate each other. Always find opportunities to showcase and recognize other women who are doing incredible work, both big and small. And third, be the change I want in the world. It requires lots of diligent work, time, and hard lessons to drive change. Let’s not give up and continue to make the necessary and fulfilling progress in this journey.

Julie Lucas
Customer Success Senior Business Partner


A particular way I have fought for gender equality has been as a single mom. Being a single parent does not mean you are not focused on your career and/or your family. It means that you are focused just as much or more, to show your children strength and bring them security. We love it when our kids are proud of us!

Diana Sekhon
Manager, People Operations


As a person in my 40s, the meaning and implementation of gender equality has changed quite a bit. In my HS/college years, having a seat at the table was considered a huge improvement. It’s not enough anymore (and never was, really), and now we continue to fight for true equal access and parity. 

I fight for gender equality by my nature – my single mother always impressed on me that no man will ever go through what you do and I never learned at home that male-identified people were considered superior to women. I fight by trying to get back to that place of unique experience, showing that I am just as capable and worthy as any other human being, and educating about the female experience when the opportunity arises. 

But the most important thing I do to fight for gender equality is to show my son how important it is that he consider women as equal in every way, to model speaking up when we see anyone being treated as lesser-than, or calling out derogatory language. I’m proud to say that he didn’t learn sexism at home, and that when he learned of it he was appalled that people would behave that way to others. We’ve also talked about how women fight every single day for everything we have, how things are so much better than when I was a young woman, and that it’s part of his job as a good citizen to keep fighting for everyone’s rights. He’ll be 13 this summer, and is already calling out behavior he sees in his friends and asking them to use kinder language. Being the product of his feminist, tender-hearted father and his mother who takes no **** from anyone, he’ll keep the fight up long after my journey is done.

Ruth Laird
Software Engineer


I’m passionate about females in IT and so I regularly go into local schools.  As well as one-off talks and workshops, I run an after-school coding club at an all-girls school twice a week and at a mixed school once a week where I’m proud to have more girls participating than boys! I’m passionate about it because when I was growing up I was encouraged to follow a more traditional path for a female (not encouraged to go to university, and to do subjects like cooking and sewing). I fought against that and proved that females are just as capable and so I want girls nowadays to grow up without those prejudices and know that they can achieve whatever they want in whatever interests them.

Ro Smith
Technical Content Designer


One way bias presents is in the judgments people make based on appearance, and these often affect women more than men. I'm sure I'm not the only one here who's been encouraged by a manager (in a previous company) to wear make-up so as to look 'professional' when there was no such expectation for my male colleagues.

These expectations require extra work from women that men don't have to put in - before the work day starts - and can affect our self-esteem and confidence. Yet women are also criticized for the time they put into their appearance, or for choosing to wear make-up and style their hair. You can't win. And women of color experience extra bias as what's considered professional is often biased towards white cultural expectations.

Part of breaking the bias is challenging our colleagues and ourselves not to make assumptions and to break the ties between gendered expectations and what constitutes professionalism. I was as professional with long blonde hair as I am with blue hair or an undercut. What matters is the work we do and how we interact with our colleagues and customers, not how we measure against biased expectations.

Jamieson Copeland
Community Video and Content Producer


As a male presenting person, it is my obligation to both my colleagues and all women to challenge the other male presenting people around me when I see and hear gender bias taking place. That obligation exists not because I have women I care about in my life, but rather because I want women to not only be equal but to feel that they belong in spaces that are historically male-dominated.

Rather than attempting to speak on behalf of women, it's my role to challenge the norms and biases that exist within male communities to inform and educate from within, in hopes to dissolve the biases that exist.

This comes in many forms from, challenging the language, that is used within male circles, challenging the behaviors of men in those circles, and sharing with them why I challenge them in a way that gives them a perspective that they might have seen.

It's also my obligation to society to challenge my own biases and thinking and assess if there are opportunities for me to learn and change the language I use, or behaviors I have to ensure that the spaces I exist in are welcome and inclusive of everyone.

Ginger Anderson
Senior Program Manager, Community Content

GingerAnderson-Headshot square.jpg

As a mom of two teen boys, one of my most important jobs is to teach my boys about gender equality and discrimination. Thankfully, they are surrounded by women of all ages that help guide them and point out opportunities for learning and awareness. We regularly talk about equality, how to recognize opportunities to be an ally, and how to best support the women in their lives. 

I also work to model gender equality in my day-to-day actions. I try my best to use inclusive language and not associate character traits with gender, make sure my boys and their friends see that there are no gender-specific chores, and point out stereotypes (and positive messaging!) in the media.

It's hard to stand up against microaggressions and biased behavior, but I'm committed to speaking out and raising the next generation who feels empowered to create change.

Holly Rieke
Senior Manager, Community Content


I am passionate about changing the bias toward strong, vocal women in the workplace being labeled as aggressive, challenging, or difficult to work with — rather than confident, assertive, and moving the conversation forward. Being authentic should be championed and celebrated, and I'm working on this both personally and professionally to lead by example. I find that it's gotten easier to be authentic during my current mid-life/mid-career stage, and I hope that my example will encourage others to embrace their authenticity even sooner in their personal journey. 

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