Laura Schiesl Vega does what she does for her daughter. She does it for the hundreds of women who work at the technology solutions company Insight. She does it for the thousands who lean on the community organizations that she supports and for the women following her in the legal profession. “I sit at the table any way I can,” she says. “I am there to make a difference and to ensure that more women are in the room, making recommendations and decisions.”
Adjacent to her work leading a legal team of ten, the associate general counsel and director for Insight founded the company’s first teammate resource group: Women with Insight. After three years with the company, in 2017, Schiesl Vega proposed that Insight launch a D&I group that would make a difference in women’s lives at the company and in the community. She knew creating a framework would be critical. “Such groups had been started in the past and didn’t last,” she notes.
To counteract this trend, Schiesl Vega began with gathering data, interviewing core groups of interested women, developing a robust governance structure, and designing achievable goals. In 2019, the resource group set intentions around awareness building and organized one event per month.
The resource group now supports chapters throughout North America through inspirational events and actionable content. By the end of 2020, overall membership should exceed five hundred. Following Women with Insight’s success, three other resource groups have begun in the company—a great accomplishment, considering that a focus on diversity, inclusion, and belonging creates stronger, more effective teams.
Public investment is nothing new to Schiesl Vega, as she follows a path laid by her father, a social justice advocate. While completing her JD, she helped expand the Innocence Project and has always been dedicated to nonprofit work. Currently, she says, “The YWCA is my home as a nonprofit.” Her boots-on-the-ground approach includes positions as chair-elect of the YWCA Phoenix’s working board and member of its advocacy committee.
Bringing together her nonprofit engagement and D&I work at Insight, the women’s teammate resource group presented “The Power of Negotiation” online series in partnership with the YWCA. “It’s a time commitment, but it brings value that is critical,” Schiesl Vega says, noting that recruiting and retaining women in STEM bolsters Insight’s culture by producing more innovative, engaged, and empowered employees.
Unleashing the potential of others energizes Schiesl Vega, and she’s happy to be at a company that, she says, “is always ahead of the trend.” Besides the D&I engagement, in 2015, Insight underwent a significant transformation from a reseller model to more of a service provider, supporting end-to-end solutions globally. “My team sits on the transactional side of the fence. I spearhead the North American transactions, including global deals that originate on the continent,” she explains.
Since 2016, Schiesl Vega has been on point for every integration, helping streamline Insight’s fast and full transitions with new tech partnerships and offerings. She says, “I create a framework where Insight can do the work more impactfully now and in ten years.”
“I’m a mentor to my daughter. We must lead by example, both at work and home. My daughter motivates me to do that.”
Schiesl Vega keeps abreast of what is happening outside of the company—and leverages those valuable learnings. “We are in the tech industry. Use the tech,” she says, laughing. While she recognizes integrations often focus on technology and processes, at heart, it’s about people. She spends time ensuring that the team understands why they are doing a task and listens to ideas to improve and stay solution oriented.
Her team of attorneys creates process improvements not only within the department but companywide. As Insight bolsters its cloud and data center, Schiesl Vega and her team help design a provider model solution and beef up infrastructure, allowing Insight to go to market with a competitive service offering. Over the past year, her team has undergone profound transitions, driven by Schiesl Vega’s collaborative approach. With weekly huddles and attorney partnerships, she says she supports “radical candor” and the idea that “we are all leaders.” She asks that everyone engage with available trainings through Insight to continue their self-growth.
In forming her team and working with Women with Insight, Schiesl Vega emphasizes the importance of allyship. “My managers create a seat at every table for me,” she says, “and I have a great husband who is very supportive. Strong strategic relationships with allies have made a tremendous difference in my career, and I encourage others to seek them out.”
Along with allies, she promotes and engages in mentorship. She speaks about one of the more important relationships in her life: “I’m a mentor to my daughter. We must lead by example, both at work and home. My daughter motivates me to do that.” “I bring her to all my events,” she adds, laughing, realizing that she’s committed to the impact such exposure could mean for a young woman, but unsure how thrilled the teen is to be dragged along to panels on the power of negotiation.
This year, a central theme for the YWCA, under Schiesl Vega’s leadership, is “Launch,” to inspire and empower women to reach any height imaginable. Inside and outside Insight, she intends to help her team and others in her community do just that.