Don’t use the word “just” in an email. Don’t wear flashy clothes to the office. Don’t be too soft at work (but don’t be too abrasive either).

It seems there are a lot of rules for women in the workplace but not a lot of support. 

McKinsey’s 2022 “Women in the Workplace” study noted that just over one-third of women feel they don’t have strong allies on their team, and this figure rises to 41% for Asian and Black women. Meanwhile, a 2021 internal study by Deloitte found that women at the director level “trust their employers 30% less than men at the same level.”

Moreover, the 2023 edition of the McKinsey report adds that the “broken rung” (rather than the notorious glass ceiling) is holding women back in senior leadership, as they are hampered at the very first step to a managerial position. It stated that last year, “for every 100 men promoted from entry level to manager, 87 women were promoted.” 

Add to that the sexist remarks, microaggressions, and pregnancy-related discrimination, and the workplace can seem like a very isolating place for women. While many companies will have policies in place to address these specific struggles, it’s not enough. Rather than simply outlawing the bad, they must actively encourage the good. In an era where women are leaving leadership positions in their droves, organizations should make it a priority to establish initiatives that actively encourage female inclusion and ambition. 

At Wrike, one of these initiatives is our Women of Wrike group.

women of wrike

The launch of WoW

Women of Wrike (WoW) is an employee resource group that was founded in November 2017. It started life as a small initiative for managers and leaders and later grew into a wider group for female Wrikers across the globe.

Ekaterina Grin, People Strategy Program Manager at Wrike, explains the rationale behind the foundation of WoW: “We wanted to create an organization that would support women in their endeavors, inspire them to strive for their goals, and embrace them for who they are and what they contribute.”

She adds: “We believed that as a group we are stronger; we can leverage from each others’ experience … everyone, from time to time, needs support and encouragement.” 

WoW holds regular events centered around uplifting women in the workplace and addressing topics such as career pathing and imposter syndrome. Recent examples include:

  • Panel discussions on professional development
  • A workshop series on self-promotion called #IAmRemarkable
  • A mentorship program (more on that later!)

The group has a dedicated Slack channel, where members have an open forum to discuss these topics. And it’s not all work! Participants also share book recommendations, podcasts, articles, and even inspiring quotes to create a sense of camaraderie with their colleagues.

dearica mathis quote for international women's day

The WoW mentorship program

The mentorship program branched out of WoW in March 2020, when the world was entering a period of lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  “It was a perfect opportunity to connect people,” recalls Ekaterina.

The program invites Wrike female employees to apply to be a mentor, mentee, or both. “Every year we give women of Wrike the opportunity to grow, develop, and learn from experienced Wrikers,” says Veronika Repkova, Senior Talent Sourcer at Wrike. “By participating in a program, they get an opportunity to teach or gain knowledge from each other.”

Each round lasts for six months and participants are advised to meet twice a month for an hourly session. Mentees will add their SMART goals to a designated project in Wrike, add discussion points to the agenda, and share feedback after each session. Veronika explains: “We’ve created a framework in which they can break down their goals and make sure they will be attainable during the time of the mentorship.”

Meanwhile, mentors are on hand to answer questions and offer guidance to their mentee to ensure they are on the right path.

The program has been a hugely successful endeavor, with high participation numbers. In particular, there is a lot of interest in the areas of product management, coding and programming, and the art of negotiation. Some mentees even take on an extra project so they can diversify their development areas. 

Here’s what some of them had to say about the experience:

“I’m incredibly thankful for this opportunity and my mentor … Katya gave me some insight I couldn’t see myself and highlighted the next possible career steps.”
Ekaterina Korneeva, mentee

“Mentoring gave me an opportunity to explore UX design overall and UX research in particular, which was my aim and my goal. I’m super happy for this opportunity because now I’m more familiar with their work, and I learned new skills I can apply even in my position.”
Marlene Lasova, mentee

Though the mentorship program is tailored to mentee development, it has benefits for the mentors too.

“From my perspective, the mentoring initiative is a two-way street that ‘serves’ not only to a mentee but mentor, too. You are able to share your thoughts and, together with that, get a different perspective. I really enjoyed it, and I hope my mentee can say the same thing. Hope to be part of this in the future again!”
Tereza Zoglauerova, mentor

“The opportunity to exchange experiences is incredibly invigorating, and witnessing the invaluable positive influence it has on others is truly priceless.” 
Anna Gurina, mentor

“I think the mentorship program became sort of a staple for the WoW organization,” concludes Veronika. Indeed, it epitomizes exactly what WoW is all about: creating a strong support network that shines a light on both the shared and unique experiences of the different women of Wrike.

katya grin quote for international women's day

Want to learn more about Wrike’s women-led initiatives or our company culture as a whole? Head over to our company page. If you’re interested in joining the WoW family, check out our available roles here.