Story by Markeia Brox-Chester, ERC Generalist Associate
Adobe recently had the honor of participating in GenHERation’s Discovery Days for the third year in a row. More than 40 young, aspiring, women leaders stopped by Adobe’s San Francisco office on July 17th to see what #AdobeLife is all about.
Discovery Days are immersive summer day trips that provide high school and college women the opportunity to visit the most innovative companies in America. The young women visit top companies in the nation, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, and Adobe. They are immersed in the company culture for the day, hearing from women that hold roles in all parts of the business, as well as participate in skill building activities.
The CEO and founder of GenHERation, Katlyn Grasso, kicked off the event with a facilitated discussion around the topic of “Lessons in Leadership”. Our five Adobe panelists, Divya Prabhakar, Ileana Funez, Marisa Lenhardt, Natasha Walton, and Chris Hall, answered questions regarding their journey to Adobe and advice they would give to their younger selves on their first day at the company.
On the topic of first day jitters, Chris Hall, VP/GM of Customer Experience, advised the group to always be authentic and true to who they really are. “Just be yourself,” she shared. “It will make you feel more confident. Don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know something because there is no one who knows everything”. Ileana Funez, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, encouraged everyone not to doubt their abilities because they are starting with the company for a reason, they belong there. “Look at yourself and know that you got this.”
Natasha Walton, Group Product Manager, stressed the importance of getting involved with the different groups, clubs, and other opportunities that are offered at any company they join. “Coming from working at various start-ups, what made me so excited about joining Adobe was the numerous opportunities to get involved and meet new people. It’s the best way to build connections and relationships with others outside of your immediate team.”
The panelist concluded with a question from the audience about working for a tech company in a non-tech role. They all agreed that Adobe is made up of a diverse community of analytical and creative thinkers. Chris Hall informed the young women to find their passion first and everything else will fall in to place. “Think about what it is you want to do, what makes you happy, what you’re really good at, and then find where in the business those skills can be applied.”
Following the panel discussions, Katlyn Grasso announced that every year, GenHERation presents an individual with an Icon Award. The winner exemplifies the mission of GenHERation and is dedicated to inspiring and developing our future leaders. Kate Morris, Adobe’s People and Inclusion Lead, was presented this award for all the work she has done, not only with GenHERation, but for her commitment to our community.
The event concluded with the young women using Adobe Spark Video to create a commercial showcasing what GenHERation is, why their friends should become members, why it is important to empower women, and a creative way to highlight the mantra “I am GenHERation”. The videos called out the importance of inspiring young women from an early age and giving them the confidence to know they can be successful.
It was inspiring to see a group of young women, some still in high school, taking advantage of opportunities that organizations like GenHERation provide, shaping their future. Sponsoring events like GenHERation’s Discovery Days shows a lot about Adobe, who we are as a company, and our desire to give back to the community.