Inspiring tomorrow’s women in tech
“C.H. Robinson is committed to being more representative of our communities, honoring the diverse experiences of our employees, and advancing an inclusive culture.”
C.H. Robinson employees create a culture where everyone can thrive—both within the company and the community. Building on our long history of supporting communities, the C.H. Robinson Foundation has donated $29 million to non-profits through the years. In 2019, the company, employees, and the C.H. Robinson Foundation donated $2.5 million and 10,415 volunteer hours.
One group within the organization focused on inclusivity and community-building, is C.H. Robinson’s Women in Technology (WIT) group. Founded in 2015, WIT strives to address systemic gender inequality in tech roles. In under five years, the group has grown to over 250 members, but their goal remains the same: To welcome, empower, and support women of all backgrounds in pursuing careers in technology.
The WIT group supports a variety of organizations that have a focus on women in tech, most of which are in Minnesota. Locally, these efforts include supporting the Apple Valley Robotics Club, teaching coding at the Pacer Center’s EX.I.T.E. Camp for girls with disabilities, and sponsoring a bi-annual hackathon for women and non-binary individuals. Additionally, WIT spearheaded efforts that led C.H. Robinson to donate $100,000 to Girls Who Code, a non-profit organization that aims to increase the number of women in computer science.
Another WIT-supported organization is Wallin Education Partners, which provides support systems for high-potential students with financial need. Through this group, members mentor female college students who plan to pursue a career in tech. One such mentor relationship is between Kim Mai, software developer at C.H. Robinson, and Amina Ibrahim, sophomore at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.
“If I had someone who encouraged me to explore my interests in STEM, I might not have had such a late stage career change.”
As a former school counselor turned software developer, Kim understands more than most the impact support and encouragement can have on a person’s life. Leading a team responsible for integrating technology into the district’s counseling curriculum, Kim began noticing areas where the technology options were lacking.
This led her to attend a coding bootcamp, followed by participating in a career event hosted by C.H. Robinson’s WIT group, and ultimately switching careers to software development. Now, Kim is a software engineer building innovative analytics solutions for C.H. Robinson customers.
As a WIT member and mentor, Kim met Amina through WIT’s participation with Wallin Education Partners. Kim and Amina connect regularly, and she encourages Amina’s passion for STEM and creative problem solving. Using her own life experiences, Kim strives to guide and inspire Amina’s future in tech. And while doing so, she is inspired by Amina in return.
“People in my community don’t always seek out higher education, and if they do, they don’t seek out a STEM field.”
Entering her second year of college at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, Amina is part of the Black Student Union, Latinx student association, and knitting club. But last fall, she started the year like many first-year students—unsure about starting college in a new place. Thanks to her WIT mentor, Kim, Amina had someone to offer advice.
The first in her family to attend college, Amina values Kim’s college experience and guidance. Amina wants a career in a tech field that challenges her to think creatively and lets her work with individuals she can relate to, those determined to seek answers and continuously learn. Through conversations with Kim, Amina has begun preparing for a role in management information systems. A career on this path fits Amina’s passion for tech while utilizing her strengths as a problem solver.
“Supporting and inspiring young women leaders is critical to a promising future that equalizes the tech industry’s existing gender imbalance.”
Supporting education and encouraging young women leaders to pursue their interests is just one of the ways WIT contributes to a promising future—one that breaks down the existing gender imbalance in STEM fields. The group is committed to connecting women and helping establish a sense of community for today’s leaders and tomorrow’s future.