Pacesetters Program

Everyone is talking about the underrepresentation of women in computing – corporate diversity and inclusion statistics, K-12 computer science education, societal bias – yet conversation is only a first step towards solving the underrepresentation issue.

NCWIT Pacesetters go above and beyond conversation; they put in hard work to make change in their own organizations by setting aggressive and measurable goals over a two-year timeframe; goals that challenge stereotypes and shape positive behaviors, improve internal processes and advance technical innovation. Pacesetters practice disruptive thinking that leads to breakthroughs in the way things have always been done and they have achieved significant results.

View the Pacesetters Montage Video

Pacesetters Group Photo 2


Pacesetter organizations have added or retained 2,650 women in the U.S. computing workforce, and several NCWIT member companies have led the initial charge for data transparency, publicly releasing their diversity numbers and setting a historic example for others to follow. Although individual organizational goals are held confidential, the following are a few examples:

  • One major tech company doubled their number of female engineer interns.
  • A well-known company piloted a highly successful workshop for over 100 mid-career female technologists to learn how to command presence in executive environments.
  • One university doubled the number of women in their undergraduate programs from 75 to 150 in the first cohort and then doubled it again in the next from 150 to 300.
  • Another university established a new B.A. of Computer Science degree that is attracting double majors in the areas of neuroscience, philosophy, GIS, economics, film, and more.


In this unique program, company and university leaders work together across corporate, startup and academic boundaries to incubate innovative ideas for broad impact. In 2010, Pacesetters influenced the inception of Sit With Me, a national advocacy campaign to raise the visibility of technical women and their valuable contributions. In 2014, Pacesetters led an experiment called “Transforming Technical Job Ads” to leverage their university-corporate partnerships by co-writing inclusive job ads to attract a more diverse technical talent pool. In 2016, Pacesetters may seek to define the term “meaningful participation” of technical women. As corporate data transparency spurs greater visibility into where technical women are across the US technical talent pipeline there will be even more pressure on organizations to report their diversity data improvements.

NCWIT Pacesetters gives organizations structure in setting their goals and holds them accountable for achieving results. NCWIT offers extensive support with progress reporting, access to social science expertise, research-based resources, and insights on the latest tools. In addition to the increase in technical women, Pacesetters report many benefits including access to networking opportunities, new approaches for recruiting and retention, an increase in prestige, and additional funding for their goals.

To learn more about Pacesetters, please contact Jill Reckie, Program Director.

People Involved: 

Jill Reckie

Program Director

Members Involved