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International Women's Day

Today is March 8 – International Women’s Day. While we shouldn’t need a day to celebrate women, we are at an inflection point in our history for women to be heard and recognized.

There are many examples of how this inclusion is being institutionalized. In 2018, for example, California passed a law requiring all publicly held companies to have at least one woman on their board of directors by end of 2019. Several European countries have had similar requirements for years.

While it’s good to follow the law, it’s also good business. Many studies have found that companies with the most diversity – including gender diversity – tend to outperform the market, and those with less diversity tend to lag behind.

So, when thinking about this day and what it represents, I reflected on the crucial roles so many women play at ACT, including on the largest test date in ACT’s history: February 20, 2019.

Just more than two weeks ago students in 10 states and more than 1,000 school districts took the ACT test through our State & District program. As has been the case across much of the country this winter, the weather in Iowa was terrible – to the extent that the night before the test date we offered to put up front-line team members in local hotels overnight so they could safely make it to work the next morning. About 30 took us up on the offer.

Despite the record volume and wretched weather we came together to serve our customers – ALL of us. That obviously includes all of our team members, but on this International Women’s Day I particularly want to recognize the efforts of women who were leading their teams.

  • Janet for leading the entire COO group, making sure every resource was brought to bear on the blizzard of students (and snow!).
  • Tami for leading the overall State & District testing program, while Amy organized test day planning for our State & District customers.
  • Natasha for leading the Test Administration team that supported coordinators at thousands of high schools across the country.
  • Katie for leading the accommodations team, which evaluated more than 68,000 accommodations requests
  • Kara, Becky, and Colbi for leading the Customer Care team that answered more than 1,750 phone calls
  • Julie W for her mentoring of phone agents, and Julie VZ for her support of online testing
  • And Julie N, Michelle, Juanita and Jeneane for arranging the hotel stays.
Away from the front lines, but no less critical to the test date’s success, were:

  • Donna – whose team wrote the test items and constructed the test forms
  • Angie – whose area provided the evidence that our tests are valid, reliable, and efficacious
  • Suzana, Mary Michael, and Sarah – whose CCO teams manage the ACT product line
  • Jen – whose area helps guide our leaders and team members to support the organization’s talent growth, and
  • Alina – whose group is developing trail-blazing ideas that are already changing the future of our profession
It’s impossible to recognize every leader, formal or informal, without leaving deserving people off the list, and there are hundreds more women across ACT whose work is essential to our success.

On this International Women’s Day I want to thank everyone – especially our women – for what they accomplished on February 20, what they are doing today, and for their many contributions into the future.

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ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Grounded in 60 years of research, ACT is a trusted leader in college and career readiness solutions. Each year, ACT serves millions of students, job seekers, schools, government agencies and employers in the US and around the world with learning resources, assessments, research and credentials designed to help them succeed from elementary school through career.