Why Our New Employee Group WINs

Kristen Sanchez |  November 2019

Increasingly, corporations worldwide are finding ways to promote gender equality in the workplace. At NS2, we’re working to find ways to decrease the gender gap.

It all started with an email

On March 8, International Women’s Day, NS2 CEO Mark Testoni, sent out a company-wide email. He acknowledged that when it comes to gender equality in the workplace, there’s still more work to do.

Early in his Air Force career, a female officer’s mentorship profoundly affected Testoni. After sharing his story, he asked: How can NS2 do more to support its female employees?

The first step was to listen

In a series of committee meetings, women shared the challenges they’ve faced in their careers, and discussed the lack of networking and career development opportunities available. Telling these stories is an important part of learning ways to grow and learn within any organization. As a result of these meetings, NS2 is developing the first professional skills series focused on strengthening presentation, communication, and storytelling skills.

The next step was to organize

The response was incredible from the entire staff. As a result, several brainstorming sessions took place, and the Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) concept, along with the Leadership Committee, were formed. With WIN, NS2 hopes to give women the tools and support they need to succeed. This is critical if the organization is to deliver on their mission statement – “Advance NS2 Women to Advance NS2.

NS2 WIN is co-chaired by Joan Held, Vice President of IC Sales, and Kristina Goumas, VP, Support Sales at NS2, with Mark Testoni serving as the executive sponsor. It’s inspiring to see how engaged and supportive the leadership team has been throughout the process.

Establishing goals

By providing a platform, forging equity, and fueling innovation, WIN will help create stronger leaders. Initially, the focus is on professional skills, mentorship, and a quarterly speaker series. It’s important to provide the opportunity to listen to and interact with some of today’s top female leaders.

The first speaker, Fran Townsend, was an absolute hit. Townsend is a Chair on the NS2 Board of Directors. She also serves as the EVP at MacAndrews & Forbes and served as homeland security & counterterrorism advisor to President George W. Bush from 2004-2008. During her talk, Townsend shared personal stories from early in her career, opening up about past difficult experiences. She also stressed the importance of creating a supportive female network – something NS2 WIN hopes to establish for our employees.

In addition, all NS2 female employees will soon have access to a mentorship program. It’s important it to have someone in your corner, so WIN will work to pair employees with mentors who share similar goals and interests. As WIN evolves, they also hope to host additional events and increase outreach efforts in the community.

Since the official kickoff in August, support and engagement have been tremendous. Employees are joining together to discover various ways to support women in the workforce. WIN has brought the entire company together.

“It just shows the character of our company, and our heart and soul. It’s great to see it taking off,” says Carolyn Sughrue, a WIN Initiative Committee Lead. “I feel it will be an integral part of our future.”


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