Last Monday we held a fireside chat with Tabitha Hayes, VP of Global Brand Management at Electronic Arts. In an informal setting, with pizzas and beers, Tabitha told us about her career in the super male-dominated field of video gaming, where <1% of senior positions are held by women. Undiscouraged by loneliness at the top, Tabitha made it her passion to develop talent in general, and female talent specifically. She explained to us what male and female leaders can do to advocate for women (e.g. in performance reviews) and to develop their talent (e.g. provide them with opportunities, tell other leaders about a woman’s talent and achievements).
Moreover, she talked about the importance of non-violent communication, implying that whenever someone is interrupted, or someone repeats someone else’s idea in their own words, a senior leader should point this out this behavior and call attention to it. She does the same thing for mansplaining, or when she notices that people show an unconscious bias towards women in the hiring or performance processes.
Finally, Tabitha emphasized the power of the network. Working in a male-dominated industry, she has always been supported and benefited by female colleagues from other offices or companies, who face the same struggles and want to help each other. Her advice to women: be nice to each other, there are plenty of seats at the table! She also emphasized the importance of men being aware of these issues and supporting women, and she was very happy to see that our event’s attendants were 50-50% male/female!
A very inspiring leader from which we can learn a lot, thank you Tabitha!