I interviewed Debbie Madden, CEO, and Founder of Stride Consulting and author of recently the published, Hire Women, on a recent episode of my Future of Work Talk show. Debbie’s company is an Agile software development consultancy located in NYC and it’s the fifth company Debbie has built from the ground up.

Debbie Madden: The Backstory

So, who is Debbie Madden? I’ll admit to some bias here, but she’s pretty badass. A serial entrepreneur with a well-established reputation as a woman executive in technology, Debbie is also a sought-after writer and speaker discussing topics like diversity and inclusion, how to hire and retain technology leaders, and defending women in the workplace. For those of you who know me, it likely comes as no surprise that when our paths crossed, I was immediately interested in learning more about Debbie and what she’s working on. Our passions and our experiences are aligned in too many ways to ignore.

The Message in Hire Women: How to Build Diverse and Inclusive Teams [and why you want to]

What’s Debbie most passionate about these days? Well, her book Hire Women, An Agile Framework for Hiring and Retaining Women in Tech, published in September of 2018, has been a key area of focus. Hire Women dives into the reality that diverse teams are more effective and get more done than homogenous ones. We know this—it’s a fact. Yet, despite decades of effort, many tech teams are failing at hiring and retaining women. The reason: we’re looking in the wrong place. Hiring women doesn’t start with recruiting. It starts with creating a work environment that’s safe and equal for all.

Debbie covers this in her book, and we talk about this in our interview. She also shares advice for women wanting to pursue a career in tech, as well as thoughts on how society as a whole can move the needle to get more women into leadership positions.

Having Cancer Can Teach You a Lot About Leadership

Debbie and I also discuss cancer in our interview, and what being diagnosed with a serious illness can teach you about leadership. When her company was just two years old, Debbie was diagnosed with Stage II HER2 Positive Breast Cancer—she was 41. Her startup was a baby, her kids were babies, and she had no choice but to step away from business and focus on her health and getting well. Debbie learned quickly that by letting go, trusting her team, and learning and practicing some key leadership traits, her company would not only survive in her absence, it would thrive. And when she was ready to return to work, not only was she healthy and strong, her company was as well.

Debbie shares these insights and more in our Future of Work Talk conversation, which you can watch here:

Or you can grab the podcast and listen here:

If you’re interested in the power of diverse and inclusive teams, and in leveraging the incredible power that women can bring to your teams and to your businesses, buy and read Hire Women. In the space of about 30 minutes you’ll walk away with truly actionable insights that you can put into motion right away.

You might also be interested in reading:

The Employee Engagement Crisis: How to Fix It In Your Organization

4 Ways the Right Leadership Drives the Digital Transformation