Autodesk Women’s Network: Empowering women to develop and realize their full leadership potential

4 min read

I joined Autodesk in 2018 and am currently a Senior Manager of Client Services in Global Operations, part of our Enterprise Systems & Experience (ESE) organization. In February 2023, I became the Global Lead of Autodesk Women’s Network (AWN), an employee resource group (ERG) on a mission to empower women at all levels of Autodesk to develop and realize their full leadership potential. Founded in 2011, AWN is the longest-standing ERG at Autodesk. Today, we have more than 1,800 members – and we’re still growing!

Like all ERGs at Autodesk, AWN is fully led by employee volunteers. Our vision is for Autodesk to become the recognized model workplace for women. We believe leadership is more than a title, and anyone can demonstrate and develop leadership skills in any role, from intern to CEO. We also encourage full and inclusive participation, regardless of gender, as we believe this leads to a stronger and more successful Autodesk.

We support our members in bringing their authentic selves to work, as we believe a sense of belonging, connection, and purpose leads to happier lives at work and beyond. AWN drives initiatives in the areas of professional development, community building, and strategic partnerships, and we are looking at scalability, inclusiveness, and impact.

All of Autodesk’s ERGs were globally unified in 2020 – each getting a global board and an executive sponsor – which emphasizes the importance Autodesk is giving to ERGs as part of achieving the company’s Diversity & Belonging goals.

A global network of support

I’ve been an active AWN member since 2019 and organized multiple local events in Barcelona and EMEA before joining the global AWN board as the EMEA GEO lead in 2020. I had been advocating for and building AWN’s chapter enablement strategy, as I truly believe we need strong local representation to build community and belonging for such a large ERG and community. I loved the global work we started and felt strongly about the journey to be continued – and this was important to the entire AWN board.

I was encouraged by AWN’s outgoing global lead, Chelsea Bruno, and other board members to apply for the Global Lead role. I was excited about the opportunity and saw alignment with my development goals to do more strategic work and gain additional executive exposure. I’m very conscious of the huge responsibility this role entails, and I’m doing my best to fully represent the intersectional identities of all AWN members.

This past September, just before Autodesk University, I attended Autodesk’s first global ERG leadership summit, where all outgoing and incoming global ERG leads connected with each other and our Diversity & Belonging team to discuss many important topics and start building our two-year strategic plan. My transition into the Global Lead role could not have started in a better way!

Ramona Biehn and Chelsea Bruno at the ERG Leadership Summit

“AWN is a great way for women to engage with their local communities and develop a strong network of support. Ramona and I share a passion for helping the women of Autodesk thrive, and I’m excited for her to continue building global connections for members across the company. There is an energy that fills the room when women come together in support of each other, it’s amazing to see.”

Diana Colella, SVP, Media & Entertainment, and executive sponsor of AWN

Creating the next chapter

There’s a lot to look forward to when it comes to AWN, and I’m especially excited about everything we’re doing for Women’s History Month this year. We’ve put a lot of thought and work into our programming, which ranges from panels, fireside chats, and workshops to trainings, dialogue spaces, and other local and global events. AWN’s theme for the year is “Create your next chapter – Discover. Own. Evolve!” – and all our programming revolves around this inclusive and action-oriented theme.

I’m excited to be a strategic partner for Autodesk’s Diversity & Belonging efforts and to make an impact regarding AWN’s mission, vision, and D&B goals. As the largest employee resource group, and thanks to our intersectional identities, many AWN members are also part of other ERGs — as an example, I am also a member of Autodesk Pride Network (APN) and Young Professionals Network (YPN) – which provides an excellent opportunity to collaborate even more. As part of our Women’s History Month programming, we’ll be hosting a joint event with Autodesk Black Network (ABN) and Autodesk MIND Network, as well as partnering with YPN.

Autodesk Women’s Network provides great development and networking opportunities, and members have access to all our communications and programming. AWN is open to all Autodeskers – we need allies to be aware and support women in their journeys, and I feel our programming is equally appealing to other genders as well. You can become a member without having an active volunteering role, but there are also a lot of opportunities to serve the community at both the local and global levels. Overall, joining AWN is a great way to learn, connect with others, and grow your career.

Learn more about Autodesk’s employee resource groups here.

Tags and Categories

AWN ERG Diversity