Oakland, CA, USA

©2019 by Gender Lenz. Created by Chase Zwissler

About Us

At Gender Lenz, we believe that advancing the participation and leadership of women and girls in tech is a global equity issue and a business imperative.

 

  • Technology and engineering companies need more women in their workforce, whether to close gaps in their talent pipelines or to achieve better results - including improved innovation, financial performance, and brand resonance with the consumers of today and tomorrow.
     

  • Women need a fair shot at the incredible economic and professional opportunities available in the technology sector.

 

  • Global consumers need women of all races contributing to the creation of the technical products and companies that pervade every aspect of our lives.

 

We believe in visionary leaders who are ready to transform technology.

 
The Gender Lenz Team

Kara Sammet, PhD

Principal & Founder

With over a decade of experience in SaaS product design and management and nearly two decades of experience consulting on intersectional gender equity, Dr. Kara Sammet brings deep expertise to her work with technology leaders. Known for her genuine warmth, courage, and love of putting evidence-based insights into action, Kara has contributed to diversity, inclusion, and leadership initiatives with industry leaders such as Google, Cisco, Chevron, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley Corporate Education, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, STEM Next Opportunity Fund, UN Women/EQUALS, and SkyDeck.

 

Kara received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, in Social & Cultural Studies and Measurement, with an Emphasis on Gender, Women, and Sexuality, and her BA in Women’s Studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Prior to founding Gender Lenz, Dr. Sammet specialized in culturally-responsive evaluation and human-centered program design for non-profits such as Girls Leadership and Techbridge Girls. She began her journey into women’s leadership and inclusion as a wilderness expedition guide for Outward Bound.

The Gender Lenz Team

Kara Sammet, PhD

Principal & Founder

With over a decade of experience in SaaS product design and management and nearly two decades of experience consulting on intersectional gender equity, Dr. Kara Sammet brings deep expertise to her work with technology leaders. Known for her genuine warmth, courage, and love of putting evidence-based insights into action, Kara has contributed to diversity, inclusion, and leadership initiatives with industry leaders such as Google, Cisco, Chevron, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley Corporate Education, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, STEM Next Opportunity Fund, UN Women/EQUALS, and SkyDeck.

 

Kara received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, in Social & Cultural Studies and Measurement, with an Emphasis on Gender, Women, and Sexuality, and her BA in Women’s Studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Prior to founding Gender Lenz, Dr. Sammet specialized in culturally-responsive evaluation and human-centered program design for non-profits such as Girls Leadership and Techbridge Girls. She began her journey into women’s leadership and inclusion as a wilderness expedition guide for Outward Bound.

The Gender Lenz Team

Kara Sammet, PhD

Principal & Founder

With over a decade of experience in SaaS design and management, and nearly two decades of experience consulting on intersectional gender equity, Dr. Kara Sammet brings deep expertise to her work in the technology sector. Known for her genuine warmth, courage, and love of putting evidence-based insights into action, Kara has contributed to diversity, inclusion, and leadership initiatives with industry leaders such as Google, Cisco, Chevron, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley Corporate Education, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, STEM Next Opportunity Fund, UN Women/EQUALS.

 

Kara received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, in Social & Cultural Studies and Measurement, with an Emphasis on Gender, Women, and Sexuality, and her BA in Women’s Studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Prior to founding Gender Lenz, Dr. Sammet specialized in culturally-responsive evaluation and human-centered program design for non-profits such as Girls Leadership and Techbridge Girls.

 

Kara currently serves as a Visiting Scholar for the University of California - Women in Tech Initiative, where she is leading efforts to develop a UC Executive Education program for Women on Boards. She’s also an advisor on Inclusive Entrepreneurship for UC Berkeley’s SkyDeck, one of the country’s leading university-based accelerators. Kara began her own leadership journey as a backcountry expedition instructor for women at Outward Bound after completing solo wilderness treks in the USA and New Zealand. On weekends you’ll find her hiking the Steep Ravine trail at Mt. Tam or along the ocean with her kids near her home in Oakland, CA.

Luis Velasquez, PhD, MBA

Luis helps leaders better understand what their organization defines as a success profile and how others perceive them relative to that profile. By integrating these two components, he can help them achieve positive, sustainable, and measurable results at a personal, interpersonal, and organizational level.

Luis served as an executive for a boutique management consulting company. In this capacity, he did extensive global work in leadership development, employee engagement, individual and organizational assessments, business development and executive coaching across many geographies and industries. Luis has lived, worked or visited 36 countries. A recovering scientist, he was a visiting Professor of Fungal Genetics at Michigan State University and a post-doctoral fellow in plant genomics at Rice University. He received his PhD from Michigan State University and his MBA in Organizational Leadership from Forbes School of Business, Ashford University.

 

Born and raised in Guatemala, Central America, Luis is a brain tumor survivor and an avid endurance athlete. He has completed over 100 marathons, ultramarathons, and 9 Ironman Triathlons. When not coaching or spending time with his family, you can find him trail running or facilitating the Interpersonal Dynamics class also known as “Touchy Feely” at Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Senior Consultant

Kimberly R. Houston

Senior Consultant

Kimberly R. Houston has more than 35 years leadership experience in business, philanthropy and fund development. During the last 10 years of her Fortune 500 tenure, Kim held the positions of Chief Diversity Officer, Global Community Relations Director and President, Dow Corning Foundation. In these roles, she led the strategic development and implementation of innovative initiatives to positively enhance the company’s public reputation. Kim transitioned to fund development in 2012 and headed Central Michigan University’s Corporate and Foundation Relations activity until November 2016. Kimberly launched her consultancy in 2013, where she advocates passionately for leadership development, succession planning, enhanced diversity and cultural inclusion.

Jennifer John

Senior Consultant 

Jennifer John is committed to improving the sophistication and outcomes of gender mainstreaming strategies, particularly in the business realm. She brings experience as an early driver in the field of gender lens investing - which you can learn more about here. As a Program Director with Criterion Institute, she ran the Women Effect Investments Initiative. From there Jen created a consulting offering, Gender Lens Capital, where her work included research and strategy design for clients spanning major foundations, start-ups, and leading academic institutions. She has spoken and written widely on gender lens investing and contributed to the development of the field's first book, Gender Lens Investing: Uncovering Opportunities for Growth, Returns & Impact. Jen has an MBA from the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, and a BA from Dartmouth College.

Dr. Heeju Jang

Senior Consultant

Dr. Heeju Jang received her PhD from UC Berkeley in Education, with an Emphasis on Quantitative Methods and evaluation. She is passionate about helping people develop the ability to forge strong relationships with others through authentic, compassionate and effective communication, which is critical to unlocking people’s true leadership potential in today’s organizations. For the past 10 years, she has been the lead analyst on numerous research and evaluation projects designed to improve the implementation and impact of Engagement and Learning policy, curriculum, course design and delivery. Previously, she worked for Stanford University, Stanford School of Medicine, and the University of California-Office of the President.  She is a candidate at the Stanford Graduate School of Business Interpersonal Dynamics Facilitator Training program. Dr. Jang has a MA in Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education from UCLA, and BA in philosophy from CSU East Bay.

Kiku Johnson 

Content Strategist 

Kiku Johnson hails from a human development, design thinking, and visual arts background, and uses these to create progressive, culturally and gender expansive, passionate, and community-centered environments.  Kiku was previously the National Program Director with Girls Leadership, leading curriculum design, professional development and management of 100 educators nationally. Kiku was also a corporate trainer with Whole Foods Market focused on hiring and customer relations best practices. Kiku is the Associate Director of One Circle Foundation, promoting research-based resiliency programming. Kiku is always seeking to instigate, impact, and support relational pathways and systems with individuals as part of a team, delivering and brokering intentional, compensatory and asset-based services.

 
Our Values

Intersectional Inclusion

Our practice incorporates an intersectional approach to gender that is also necessarily inclusive of race, age, sexuality, gender identity, ability and immigrant status. Composite gender demographics obscure the reality that progress is not being made equally for all women. White women, in particular, have benefitted most from gender equity efforts in male-dominated fields. At Gender Lenz we believe in using our access to a seat at the table to amplify the voices of ALL women and non-binary/gender non-conforming individuals.

Testimonials

“Kara is a great presenter - she owns the room when she speaks! I enjoyed listening to her every minute – she’s easy to follow, fun and engaging! She can translate complex information into a simple structure and her delivery is awesome!”

TINA YANG
CISCO HR CONSULTANT 
HUMAN RESOURCES LEADERSHIP PROGRAM

"I was extremely fortunate to have Kara’s assistance in the development and delivery of my online Evening-Weekend MBA leadership course at the Haas School of Business. Using her knowledge of learning styles and her creative mind, Kara was able to offer countless suggestions that significantly improved the online experience for students.

 

FRANK SCHULTZ, PHD, MBA
DISTINGUISHED TEACHING FELLOW - STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP
HAAS SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, UC BERKELEY

“We partnered with Kara to help prepare over a hundred women at Cisco for a program that enables them to shadow executives from another function within the company. As part of that preparation, Kara hosted a workshop that focused on creating meaningful connections. The feedback from participants has been overwhelmingly positive, with some saying that even if they were not selected to participate in the actual shadow program, just having attended Kara’s workshop was worth it because they walked away with actionable tips and the right mindset.

 

Kara was able to adeptly connect industry trends, academic research, Cisco-specific information, and the personal situations or needs of our participants. This was important in helping people draw the connections between what’s happening at the macro level and what they then need to make happen for themselves.”

 

NENUCA SYQUIA
CISCO EXECUTIVE SHADOW TEAM CO-LEAD
PEOPLE PLANNING, DESIGN & ANALYTICS

"Kara is a powerful speaker, and she is not afraid to dig deep and discuss controversial topics that are essential to move society forward. She seamlessly transitions from topics like race and religion to gender and impact. Her story was engaging, insightful, and enjoyable to witness."

EJEDE OKOGBO
HEAD OF CONTENT, 2018 HAAS WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE 
HAAS BUSINESS SCHOOL
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY

“I was fortunate to work with Dr. Kara Sammet to moderate an event I recently hosted. She engaged a group from mixed professional and personal backgrounds over the course of dinner (not an easy task to keep people on track when food and wine are involved) and I have to say that she was the best moderator we've had to date. Not only was she able to get everyone to contribute to the conversation, but she also made sure that every attendee walked away with actionable steps that could be implemented in their day to day lives to change the status quo around gender inequality.” 

ANNETTE BLUM
FOUNDER | SHALON

“Kara has been great to work with on several projects. She brings critical insights from her strong measurement background and her impactful work with leading equity-focused organizations.

 

JASON RAVITZ, PHD
SENIOR PROGRAM MANAGER
GOOGLE 

“Kara is an expert on diversity and inclusion, particularly with regards to community outreach, and she helped push us to design programs that would have high impact and would be realistic to implement. Most importantly, she is incredibly warm, supportive, collaborative, and responsive.”

 

CALLISTA CHEN
PACIFIC NORTHWEST EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
TECHBRIDGE GIRLS

"Kara is incredible. She created a space where students in my MBA class could openly explore powerful topics like pivoting gender norms and pushing for gender expansion. This is not easy, yet Kara gracefully facilitated difficult conversations, exuding genuine warmth and sensitivity." 

 

REBECCA PORTNOY 
VISITING ASSISTANT PROFESSOR
LORRY I. LOKEY SCHOOL OF BUSINESS & PUBLIC POLICY
MILL COLLEGE

Participatory Engagement

Gender Lenz utilizes a participatory model for our strategic services and organizational change management efforts that rely on full, voluntary collaboration, mutual understanding, and shared responsibility.

Measurable Results

Define success. Plan for impact and assess it.  Measure, acknowledge and celebrate progress. Be transparent about accomplishments, shortcomings and lessons learned. Hold yourself and your peers accountable for individual and collective improvement.

Speak up and be honest. Engage in constructive conflict. Challenge assumptions. Give timely feedback. Reward courageous conversations and risk-taking.

Cultivated Courage