Paula Bratcher Ratliff is the President of Women Impact Tech, where she leads the strategic direction and daily operations of an amazing organization. Their mission is to create equity in the workforce for women in tech by building a network of women who support one another and by propelling companies to promote equality, equity and inclusion in their organizations.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, Paula.
I’ve spent the past 20 years architecting and leading teams that provide workforce solutions for staffing, RPO, MSP and consulting services for Fortune 500 companies in North America and Globally. I’ve also been fortunate enough to have led corporate supplier diversity, sustainability, and diversity and inclusion initiatives throughout my career. Women Impact Tech has allowed me to bridge my industry expertise and passion for diversity and inclusion into one leadership role.
I’m also a wife and mother of two amazing kids, Slone and Liam, ages 4 and 5! They sure keep me on my toes! We also have two sweet mini goldendoodles named Scout and Scarlett! I love to live life to the fullest, embracing every moment with my family. We love to travel and try to visit one new National Park each year. We are all obsessed with Disney World and most things Disney, for Christmas this year will be going on our first Disney Cruise and couldn’t be more excited!
What is your business name and how do you help your clients?
Our business name is Women Impact Tech and we have two distinct clients in the marketplace. First are the many women across the US that we support through networking, elevating them with thought leadership and facilitating career development and placement opportunities. Second is the organizations that we work with to offer knowledge and insights and provide them access to communities of women in tech with 2 –7 years’ experience. We also offer workforce consulting and support with DE&I initiatives specific to elevating women within their tech divisions. We have several ways in which our audiences can engage with us including in-person or virtual events, our membership platform, job board, or specifically for job placement.
What kind of audience do you target your business towards?
We target both organizations who want to evolve their diversity, equity, and inclusion programs as well as women tech professionals who want to thrive in their careers.
What are your current goals for your business?
For most companies, “on paper,” they have a solid DEI strategy. Unfortunately, the strategy doesn’t include the instructions, training, or tools to allow for management to execute that strategy. So many times, we see companies fall flat with the execution of their diversity programs. On the flip side, professionals are feeling the impact of organizations not equipped to allow for underrepresented groups to thrive in their careers. Our goal is to continue to reach more organizations that are strategically trying to improve their ratio of women in their tech teams, as well as create a culture where women can not only succeed, but also thrive in their organization.
We are also very focused on growing the number of markets we service across the US with our live, in-person events. For 2023, we have scheduled 7 Accelerate Conferences in: San Francisco (March 21st and 22nd), Chicago (April 27th), Seattle (May 24th), Denver (July 11th), Boston (August 21st and 22nd), Atlanta (October 3rd), and NYC (November 2nd and 3rd).
Lastly, one of our goals this year is to increase our memberships so that our individuals and companies don’t simply rely on our support at a onetime event through the year, but they can count on us to be there year-round with insights, virtual events and support through individual or corporate memberships. Think of the largest Business Resource Group for Women in Tech across a multitude of industries and brand, supporting one another! One woman can make a difference, but together we can rock the world.
What would you like to achieve for yourself and your business in the future?
I’ve spent most of my career working with large, global organizations on their workforce strategies. This gave me a front-row seat to understanding where the gaps arise in retaining professionals, and particularly those professionals from traditionally underrepresented groups. As for Women Impact Tech, we are continuing to evolve our tools and offerings to further support organizations and professionals. We’re currently building our brand, evolving our membership offerings, and expanding our national reach so that we can be a valuable partner to even more organizations and professionals. As for me personally, gender equity, seeing women excel, and seeing women uplifting other women is what gives me the most joy in my job, and it creates an opportunity to build something that I can hang my hat on as a career with a legacy of giving back and supporting others.
Who inspires you to be the best that you can be?
My children. I don’t want my daughter to fight the same gender stereotypes and same pay equity issues that my mother and I both faced in our careers. It's time to break that glass ceiling once and for all and create an expectation that women can be as good at any role in the workforce and that they should be paid as well – or better – than their male counterparts if they are more productive and successful at their job! My son will be the very best female advocate and ally! He is being raised by two strong women and has an independent, strong-willed sister! I hope that we are raising boys in our society to highly respect and value the women in their lives. What is your work inspired by?
I’m inspired by the small tribe of women who supported me along my career journey. I was fortunate to work with strong women in my industry that had the mentality that when women support each other, incredible things happen. So, having the opportunity to lift women up every day through the leadership in my organization, as well as the purposeful work we do to lift and support women in tech across the US– to exceed their own expectations and set the goals higher– is truly a joy for me. I am also incredibly inspired by the messages we receive about how we changed people's lives by giving them a new opportunity in a new company that truly embraced them, or how a chance meeting at one of our conferences gave them the mentor that they had always dreamed of having to support their career. Those messages are extremely inspirational.