Women face many challenges in the workplace, many of which stem from ingrained cultural norms about how women should behave. These norms ultimately hold women back, keeping them from landing that job or getting that raise. Summit is a platform aimed at helping professionally ambitious women reach their goals by offering them an opportunity to work on skills they may be lacking in the departments of networking, communicating, and negotiating, teaching them how to best present themselves. However, our goal is not to change anyone, but rather to foreground her strengths and address her weaknesses. We want to focus on the positive, and through that empower our users. The “core action” of our platform is both signing on to the email list, which will help users get involved in webinars, workshops, and meet-ups, as well as downloading our app, which will give them access to lessons and fun, learning activities.
Our platform is designed as a timeline based on skills. A woman will enter this timeline through an initial assessment of her skill level and a conversation about her goals for using the platform, may it be negotiating a raise or becoming more assertive. These initial assessments will help us position the user on the timeline where it best fits her and create a personalized lesson plan. However, if she is very advanced in some departments and less in others, our games and activities will pick up on those and offer her a chance to refresh those skills. Sustainable learning is achieved through this timeline aspect as well. As time passes since skills were practiced, Summit will inform our users that they’re in need of brushing up, helping keep their skills sharp and relevant. Sustained learning is also achieved through the many opportunities we offer for human contact, commiseration, and assistance, making experts in the field present and available to answer any questions.
Purpose — Through lessons, available as webinars or locally held workshops, women will be able to learn from professionals and practice their skills. Games, offered on the app and the website help cement these lessons and teach new ones. In addition to the lessons and activities, our platform has two extra functions: (1) a “calorie counter” – a chance to input moments of success in behaviors you are trying to change. If, for instance, you want to become better at speaking with confidence, you will write about your conversation with your barista at your favorite coffee store, or how you addressed your concerns for your leaking roof and earned their respect. The purpose of this function is to make our users constantly aware of the ways in which they interact with others, helping them become more mindful and purposeful in their actions. This aspect is a moment of reflection for our users, where they can look back at their day and assess their performance. Reflection is central to our platform, included in activities which target vocal presentation such as “upspeak,” where users will have to listen to themselves speak and reflect on their voice. (2) Routine Building- by sending users push notifications, we want to keep them mindful and constantly practicing their skills of self-presentation and negotiation. Through our extra two functions, our platform extends beyond teaching new skills into changing one’s day to day life. Ultimately, we want to help women become more empowered in everything they do.
Accessibility — It is very important to us that this resource is available to everyone who is interested in making that positive change in their lives, despite the lessons and activities being challenging and perhaps even outside of their comfort zones. For this reason, our platform is free, funded through sponsorships from tech companies and consulting firms who are also looking to raise the diversity and equality of the workplace. Through sponsorship, we make our platform available to women of lower socioeconomic standing and disadvantaged minorities.
Adhesive — While learning and improving skills is the main goal of the platform, what keeps us together and pushing forward is our community. Through collaborative motivation, Summit develops a tight knit community of women interested in their own success as much as their peers’ success. The community aspect also helps build accountability as well as a network of connections. Users will be able to consult with one another using a Q&A forum, and ask for advice (or just socialize) at our locally held meetups.