Lyft Is Driving Women To Parity And Partnering On Take The Lead Day
Lyft, the transportation platform that recently was valued at $11 billion, is literally putting women in the driver’s seats. Partnering with Take The Lead Day, Lyft reflects an alignment on a mission for gender parity in leadership.
As a partner for Take The Lead Day November 14, a national day of action to move women towards parity in leadership across all sectors by 2025, Lyft is offering a national day of recruitment for female Lyft drivers, making donations to Take The Lead and providing discount codes nationally for new and existing users to attend Take The Lead events and watch parties across the country. Lyft is also providing Phoenix area Lyft drivers with content and leadership resources.
“Lyft has always been at the forefront of advancing women and fighting for gender equality in the workplace,” says Drena Kusari, Lyft General Manager, Southwest Region. “This is an amazing opportunity for Lyft to continue to support other organizations who care for and fight for the same cause.”
Lyft just made an enormous stride toward gender leadership parity by announcing it will donate $10 for every new user who downloads the app and uses the code TAKETHELEAD as a passenger. That means, for example, that 10,000 new Lyft passengers means a donation of $100,000, moving us closer to having the resources needed to achieve our goal of leadership parity for women by 2025.
New users can sign up with Lyft, get the app and use the code TAKETHELEAD to get $5 off up to four rides, and a $10 donation for Take The Lead. Existing Lyft users can use the code TAKETHELEAD17 for 25 percent off up to 4 rides.
“My deep gratitude goes to Lyft and its co-founders and staff — I’m proud to welcome them as a partner on Take The Lead Day, “says Glorai Feldt, president and co-founder of Take The Lead. “I expect and invite other companies to follow Lyft’s lead as we commit to closing the gender leadership gap and achieving parity by 2025. It’s good business and the right thing to do.”
Now valued at $11 billion, Lyft recently had a “capital injection of $1 billion into Lyft by a consortium led by Alphabet Inc.,” according to Seeking Alpha.
Lyft was created in 2007 by John Zimmer and cofounder, Logan Green as Zimride, Zimmer tells Business Insider, and the idea was always about more than getting someone to and fro a destination.
“But the bigger vision, which we’ve always had, was providing a full alternative to car ownership. Our actual mission is to improve people’s lives with the world’s best transportation and, in doing so, to change our cities so that they are designed around people instead of cars. And we were just scratching the surface. We really didn’t feel like we were doing enough,” Zimmer tells Business Insider.
The mission of Lyft aligns with Take The Lead Day of gender parity in leadership and fairness in representation in the workforce.
“Take The Lead Day is an opportunity for every champion of women’s equality across the world to join together in a global day of action to ensure women have the practical skills, knowledge and confidence to take their far and equal share of leadership positions by 2025,” says Gloria Feldt, president and co-founder of Take The Lead.
Lyft is a champion of women’s equality in tech leadership.
A new study by Reveal News shows “Lyft jumps up to No. 1 with women from underrepresented minority groups in tech making up five percent of its professional workforce,” according to Tech Crunch. That group includes lawyers, HR professionals, software engineers and more.
In October, Domestic Violence Awareness month, Lyft offered free rides to victims of domestic violence in Arizona, in partnership with the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence and Maricopa County Centralized Screening 24/7 hotline.
“We understood that transportation was going to be a really big factor for these women,” Kusari recently told KTAR News. “We wanted to jump in at the opportunity to help.”
“Kusari Berisha recently earned the Athena Young Professional Award. Kusari lived through the war in Kosovo as a teenager, and after the war she spent time working with refugees to help reunite families,” according to Business Journals.
Kusari has been instrumental in the team partnership with Lyft and Take The Lead Day.
“I’m especially delighted to welcome Lyft as a sponsor of Take The Lead Day because they truly do care about ‘lifting women to parity,’” says Feldt.
“My first Lyft driver was a woman, a rarity among drivers, so I asked her why she chose to drive. She said she could set her hours and as a single mom that was helpful. Recently another female Lyft driver told me she was saving for her dream to open her own call center,” Feldt says.
“In both instances, they spontaneously mentioned that the company treated them well. I want Take The Lead to align with companies like this and I am grateful that Lyft feels the same about supporting Take The Lead’s mission,” Feldt says.
Following Take The Lead Day, Take The Lead is offering three 30-minute virtual workshops for Lyft drivers led by Take The Lead Leadership ambassadors. The first on power concepts offers practical tips on how to change thinking and actions in the everyday world with Jenn Manuel.
The second virtual workshop, Intention vs. Ambition, is an introduction to the shift from ambition to intention and what big intentions looks like, how to identify them and where to start in making them a reality with Felicia Davis, Take The Lead Leadership Ambassador.
The third virtual workshop with Kristie Holmes, Engaging Your Community, offers ways to leverage community interactions to seed parity while diminishing sexism and misogyny while honoring the views of their passengers.
Lyft is one Silicon Valley tech giant working to make the pipeline open and leadership fair for everyone.
The new Women in the Workplace 2017 study from LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company recently surveyed 222 companies employing more than 12 million people on their gender pipeline data and more than 70,000 employees completed the survey.
“Some companies are trying to improve women’s odds, not just as they launch their careers but well before and after. At Lyft Inc.—where 36 percent of the firm’s leadership and 18 percent of its tech staff are women—hiring bosses are required to include at least one woman and one ethnic minority in the final round of interviews for director-level positions and higher,” writes Vanessa Fuhrmans in the Wall Street Journal.
Concerning the partnership on Take The Lead Day, Kusari says, “Both organizations stand for advancement of women and gender equality in leadership. Lyft walks the talk and everyone at Lyft works to achieve gender parity in leadership and the workplace. There is synergy among the work that both organizations and doing it together means hopefully getting there faster, more convincingly.”
“Through collaborations with other organizations and companies, we are doing more than just spreading the word and raising awareness,” Feldt says. “We are building foundational leadership structures for organizations and for women to emerge and become the leaders they want to be.”
Along with many other corporate leaders, Lyft is on the record to achieve gender parity.
“Companies like Lyft, Ralph Lauren Company, Cisco, and Accompany are making moves toward gender equality by taking the ParityPledge. The pledge is a promise to interview at least one qualified woman for every open position vice president level and higher,” according to Inc.
“Lyft sets examples on having some of the highest rates of women in technical positions in the Silicon Valley,” Kusari says. “There are many initiatives that will contribute to gender parity in technical roles especially: Inclusion and diversity are key initiatives and priorities for us as an organization. Lyft’s core values are ‘be yourself’ and ‘uplift others’ — that’s exactly what our leaders embody when leading and mentoring,” she says.
“The Paradigm for Parity movement is a coalition of business leaders dedicated to addressing the corporate leadership gender gap,” writes Heather R. Huhman, president of Come Recommended, in Inc. “It consists of CEOs, senior executives, founders, board members, and business academics committed to creating a corporate world where women and men have equal power, status, and opportunity.”
As signers of the Pledge for Parity, Lyft management has agreed to these five steps:
Minimize or eliminate unconscious bias.
Significantly increase the number of women in senior operating roles.
Measure targets at every level and communicate progress and results regularly.
Base career progress on business results and performance, not on presence.
Identify women of potential and give them sponsors, as well as mentors.
All these moves are steps toward gender parity in leadership by 2025 across all sectors, the mission behind Take The Lead and the global day of action.
“Take The Lead Day represents an opportunity to keep raising out voices, to band together, to stratagize and to be solution focused and resolute in our intention to change the landscape,” Feldt says.
Learn more about how you can work toward gender parity and fairness in leadership at Take The Lead Day November 14, a global day of action for leadership parity. Register for an event or host your own. Sign up and register here.
About the Author
Michele Weldon is editorial director of Take The Lead, an award-winning author, journalist, emerita faculty in journalism at Northwestern University and a senior leader with The OpEd Project. @micheleweldon www.micheleweldon.com