Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day® is one of my favorite events for CIO’s to support in the workplace to demonstrate their leadership. The official Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day®, which is Thursday, April 26, 2012, is sponsored by the Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day Foundation, representing an important opportunity to demonstrate to adolescent girls and boys the career opportunities that exist in the world of work. The Day is also a powerful opportunity to demonstrate to young people that gender stereotypes for boys and girls are a thing of the past.
What began in 1993 by the Ms. Foundation for Women as a career day designed to help break down the gender stereotypes for young women on their career opportunities has now grown into a broader program for boys and girls. Under the guidance of the Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day Foundation, Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day® is now a comprehensive turnkey program for employers on the importance of education, gender stereotypes, and career opportunities.
There are really two reasons why Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day® is such a worthwhile event for CIO’s to support. First, CIO’s are uniquely positioned to offer a one-of-a-kind experience that introduces the kids to high tech careers and the importance of math and science education regardless of gender. Second, the Day offers CIO’s a great opportunity at relationship building and good old fashioned public relations.
To maximize these two benefits, I encourage CIO’s to actually take the lead on organizing Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day® within their organizations. By running the event CIO’s will be helping HR out in a big way and showing that CIO’s have more depth as leaders than just the techie stuff. By following the suggestions on the Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day® website a CIO really can’t go wrong.
CIO’s should also task their department with organizing a little technology fair for the Day so the kids can do some group activities while giving mom and dad a break while gaining some exposure to some cool technology they would not ordinarily get to see. It’s really very easy. Just lay out some spare gear in a conference room and open up some old servers, maybe let the kids create a simple web site or blog for the day to capture their experience. Get Marketing to set up a fan page for the day the kids can post to.
Take them through your data center or sit in on a help desk call. Ask your key vendors to help out however they can. Maybe with some loaner gizmos or some cool swag. But you should focus on more important ways for vendors to help like with providing a few volunteers to showcase career opportunities in IT and demonstrating gender stereotypes are a thing of the past.
Consider contacting your local school districts and area education leaders to see if you can do something for them out in the local school districts for those students that will not be able to go to a workplace on the Day. It may not take a lot of effort to take your show on the road. This is a great way to give back and build community goodwill for you organization. Besides, the dividends from an event like this will be more than you imagine.
The sky is the limit if you just let your team run with it. Be sure to emphasize IT careers are not just for boys. This doesn’t require an overt message just a broad representation of those helping out with the Day. You will find resources on the Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day® site to help you with all of this.
So, set aside 30 to 40 minutes next week to look over the suggestions on Getting Started and outline your plan to sponsor the event and organize a team to help with planning and carrying out the Day. Don’t worry, I have given you plenty of time to prepare just don’t put it off. When it is over you will find it was a lot of fun to share your passion with some young people and do something nice for your coworkers in the process.