Frequently Asked Questions
Interested in learning more about Progress: A Spark Labs’ Community? Here are some common questions we get. Can’t find an answer? Email us. We open for business in early Fall 2019.
What is Progress, A Spark Labs’ Community?
At Spark Labs, we care deeply about diversity, inclusion, and fixing the ratio of women in leadership globally. We believe that the more diverse teams and leaders are, the better the output and results will be for the majority of businesses globally. To support this, we created Progress: A Spark Labs’ Community. Progress is an innovative and authentic community for women (+those that ID as women or wish to) to reach and exceed their goals faster with strong mentorship, sponsorship, education, and community support. With a focus on the ability to bring your “whole and authentic self” to both work and life in this community, Progress: A Spark Labs’ Community, brings a diverse set of individuals to the table in a curated and safe community for learning, building trust, networks and accelerating paths to the C-Suite.
Who is the community built for?
Progress: A Spark Labs’ Community, is built by women and for women (and those that identify or wish to identify as women). It is a curated community, which means there is a short form to apply for it. We mainly want to ensure that you are who you say you are and that our resources will be of benefit to you. This community is being built with Fortune 1000 employees, director and below, in mind. We have looked at the research and this is where we find many women (and those that identify as women) leaving not only technology, but business overall, for many reasons that we are aiming to solve for. We want to make sure that we’re providing the resources, educational materials, online event and network that you need to get that manager job and then further accelerate up the ladder your career to the C-Suite.
What benefits do I get?
Progress, a Spark Labs’ Community offers many benefits, including educational material, resources, a great network of mentors, advisors and sponsors and much more. We offer an amazing networking platform where you follow and belong to the areas you are interested in. There is a Q&A forum, topic areas that range from communication to promotions to difficult discussions with your boss, and include educational materials and information on being a new manager, negotiating a cross-organizational move - and the tougher topics around harassment in the workplace and how to figure out the best way to resolve it. We also offer interest areas, such as technology, open source, law, finance and more, so you can pick your area of business you want to focus down on - or, you can pick them all. There are limitless opportunities to learn and network.
How much does the community cost to join and can anyone join?
It costs $249 per year to join the community. If you work at a Fortune 1000 company, you can likely either expense this cost with your boss’ approval or you can use a small component of an educational learning fund that you likely have to pay for it, so it should not come out of your own pocket. We will be working with corporations longer term to offset these costs, and if your boss or someone at your company expresses interest in how this may be valuable to others in your division or business unit, let us know and we’d be happy to chat with them.
This is a curated community and there is an application to join. When we open our doors we will be doing rolling enrollment as we are committed to growing the community in a safe and smart way, versus just launching a community that anyone can join where there are no mechanisms for privacy, safety or an individual’s security. There is a membership committee currently being established, and more information will be available on this soon.
Are other communities like Progress?
Not many that we could find. There are communities for women who are in start-ups, for executives, for moms, for technical people and many other areas, but we see ourselves as the first safe community platform and actual community that is based on authenticity, diversity and accelerating one’s career to the executive ranks in business in Fortune 1000 companies.
We are actively working to partner with other communities that make sense to partner with, and are always open to ideas and suggestions. Please let us know if you have a certain community in mind, or if there is a new community that may want to engage with us inside our community on our platform (ie, we can host sub-communities as well, or Special Interest Groups [SIGs], if there is interest). We want this to be the best community out there for helping women and those that identify as women (or wish to) accelerate their careers in the most effective ways possible, while building out an amazing network to support you throughout your career.
Who are the mentors and sponsors?
We have taken a lot of time to recruit mentors and sponsors to Progress: A Spark Labs’ Community. These are women (or those that identify as women) who have made it to and/or through the executive ranks of a publicly run company or have been in very senior leadership positions at large companies. We look for several things in these individuals: authenticity, honesty, frank and open perspectives and the common goal to help other women get to where they have been or where they are today. We also look at their career track records of experience to ensure that you are getting the best mentors and sponsors we can offer you. Bottom line, these are women that want to support and uplift other women and actively encourage diversity, inclusion, and your continued career success - and see it as a part of their bigger role in life to help you get there.
Can I be aN Advisor, Mentor or sponsor?
Absolutely. We actually think that if you are being actively mentored, you are also mentoring your mentor. We are working on a checklist for mentorship in particular, and open to new advisors, mentors and sponsors joining this community. At this point we are looking for female (or those that ID as female or wish to) leaders with expertise in the Fortune 1000 or large corporations who have mentored people before, and have time to commit to mentoring people as a member of this community. If interested they can email us directly and we’ll connect with them from there.
Is this community really safe?
No community can be 100% safe, but we are working to make this as safe as possible. We will have a very strict code of conduct, which everyone, including our founder, employees and all community members, will be expected to adhere to. All individuals joining the community will be signing an agreement to adhere to this code. Additionally the community is accepting applications as we grow, and by growing smarter and safely we can ensure that everyone uses their real names and signs up properly utilizing our community software systems, hosted by Mighty Networks. One-on-one discussions remain private, group discussions remain private, and community forums and discussions should not be discussed with non-members if the information is privileged or personal. Phone numbers and email addresses are not given out either; it is at your discretion whether you share these one-one-one or at the group level.
Will I get marketed to?
Absolutely not. We will be sending you communications in a newsletter format that include highlights of the and upcoming trainings or event series. We also will email you if anything urgent occurs in the community. We do not sell or share our email lists. You can control any and all notifications you receive in the community from the website or application on your phone as well and you can change these at any time.