Sharon Kaziunas
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Women's Workshop


Improving the work experience of women in technology

Client: Global Diversity and Inclusion, Qualcomm

Team: Carrie Sawyer, Kameron Kerger

Role: Workshop design and facilitation, user interviews, synthesis

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The Challenge

In 2016, Qualcomm settled a gender discrimination lawsuit that alleged women engineers faced systemic roadblocks to equal pay and promotions at the company. The complaint claimed Qualcomm has a male-dominated culture, with women holding less than 15 percent of what the company defines as senior leadership positions. In Qualcomm's chip making unit — the largest in terms of employment — women hold less than 10 percent of director or senior director jobs.

Help design initiatives and programs in collaboration with the new Global Inclusion and Diversity office that makes Qualcomm a great place for women to work.


Participatory design workshop

Prior to the creation of the Global Diversity and Inclusion office, Qualcomm's diversity initiatives were managed by its active volunteer employee networks. An important consideration in creating an effective approach was to secure buy-in from the current leadership of the through a series of interactive design thinking exercises and discussion.

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The design workshop helped identify problem areas and opportunities. And helped me to frame the problem and narrow the focus.

I followed up with 1:1 interviews to elicit more detail both about the women's orgs and personal stories of women's issues at Qualcomm to translate our findings from the design workshop into compelling personas.

  Above is a sample persona. The data in this representative.

Above is a sample persona. The data in this representative.


Analysis & Synthesis

The workshop generated a lot of raw data. I collaborated with the key stakeholder from the Diversity and Inclusion office to identify key themes and patterns. After we took a first stab at making sense of what we learned, I documented and coded the user research turning the data into key insights to investigate further.



Working alongside GID key management, the results of our design research:

  • Provided a strategic direction for the GID programs and initiatives for women at Qualcomm
  • Provided a framework to reorganize the women's employee networks to meet their budgetary needs
  • Served as a template for future research explorations on other minority groups at Qualcomm including underrepresented minorities and millennials.  

Learn more about Qualcomm's Global Inclusion and Diversity initiative