eBay hosts its first women leader's conference - The Women's Initiative Network (WIN) 2011

Richard Brewer-Hay

This week, eBay Inc. is hosting its first global women leader’s conference – the Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) summit. Held in San Francisco, the event brings together for the first time the top women leaders from eBay Inc. – nearly 200 people worldwide. Starting yesterday, the group has been networking, hearing from outside speakers and participating in workshops and panel discussions. They are identifying actions that they and the company can begin taking to build greater career opportunities for women and enable eBay to build a more diverse global leadership team.

The following Q&A with Beth Axelrod, the company’s Senior Vice President of Human Resources, is an excerpt from our internal website, The Hub:

What is your hope for the WIN summit?
First of all, just having our top 200 women leaders worldwide together in the same room for three days is powerful. The chance to get to know each other better, share insights, deepen existing relationships and create new ones is incredibly important and exciting.

Beyond networking, learning and sharing, WIN marks the beginning of a company commitment to create more career opportunities for women and a more diverse leadership team. I know that the women who are attending WIN will leave with a stronger understanding of their own opportunities and how to take control of their own careers. But this also will be the start of a broader leadership conversation in our company. All of our North America-based Senior Vice Presidents are joining us for part of the summit. This is not just a topic for women. It’s a business priority for our company – and we are beginning to explore how the entire leadership of the company will play an important role.

What are you most looking forward to at WIN?
Being in the same room with 200 talented women, and beginning this conversation on how we create more opportunity for each other, for our company and for women outside eBay who will join us as eBay continues to grow.

What do you think it is about our company that makes it an exciting place for a woman to build a career?
That’s easy. Our purpose, our values, our opportunity, our people. This is a special place. eBay is filled with talented, passionate, committed people who care deeply about what we do and the opportunities we create every day for others. We have an incredible 15-year history and an incredible future. That’s exciting for everyone who works here. Diversity will make us stronger. We’ve always been about creating opportunity for everyone – we need to make sure that’s as true inside our company as it is around the world.

I’ve been fortunate enough to sit at the back of the room and watch the interactions throughout the summit so far. We have been testing an internal social network-like tool that allows attendees to share images, questions, points-of-view and blog posts within their WIN community and I’ve been helping make sure that the interaction and usage of this pilot program is as smooth as possible. It’s too early to share detailed feedback (we’re still in the first 48 hours) but it was great to see Beth pose a question to community members on the network and receive over 90 responses in less than an hour.

It’s early stages yet, but it’s exciting to be a part of two groundbreaking efforts here at our company that are launching simultaneously.