Women in Localization (WL), the premier professional organization for advancing women in the localization industry, is extending its reach across the globe this year with new chapters, expanding into new geographic and economic territories. WL’s Global Growth and Diversity Program will focus on rapid but intentional growth, with the goal of opening six chapters in 2024. These expansion plans have been the result of focused planning, creative adaptation during a historic pandemic, and a whole lot of ingenuity.
“We hope to reach areas of the world where we don’t have as much experience, such as Africa and Australia, as well as inviting new members from places like the Czech Republic, Portugal, and Turkey,” said Carrie Fischer, Board Sponsor for the Global Growth and Diversity Program. “The power of outreach, supporting, and empowering women is what our organization is all about.”
Joining Fischer to lead this important initiative is Madhu Sundaramurthy, Board Sponsor for the Global Community Program. Together, they will work closely with a well-connected local female leader in each locale to build a team and leverage WL’s proven approach to global expansion. Longer-term, the local chapter will help grow membership by providing a sense of community and quality content to members.
Addressing Global Demand
WL first grew in technology hotspots like Silicon Valley and Seattle in the United States, closely followed by chapters in the UK, Ireland, Europe, and Asia. However, the organization fields requests for new chapters regularly and, after watching demand only increase, is moving forward with planned expansion.
In 2023, the organization already started working on adding three new chapters — Switzerland, Brazil, and Mexico — which will officially launch in the coming weeks.
“We are a bunch of well-organized, non-paid volunteers who have scaled up to almost 30 chapters across the world,” said 2024 WL President Anna N. Schlegel. “We are thrilled to enter new regions. New chapters offer so many new connections, friends, and opportunities for innovation.”
According to Schlegel, the need across all regions is similar: a desire to build a supportive, empowering, and encouraging community for professionals working in localization. “WL manages hundreds of events every year, including mentorship, educational webinars, and social meetups, which create a sense of community and provide a chance to meet and mingle with colleagues,” Schlegel said. “With over 11,000 members worldwide, WL’s growing network ensures that no matter where members are based, they have access to a supportive and vibrant community.”
Bringing Diversity, Expertise, and Community to New Regions
WL will offer the same robust programs and support to new chapters, including virtual and in-person events, networking, professional development, and mentoring opportunities. The organization will train the new chapter’s volunteer teams on how to develop a supportive learning community while supporting its mission and advancing the localization profession.
New chapters are first and foremost considered a local community that are created to resonate locally and grow over time. For the organization, it’s very important that the chapter enables the ability for members to connect with people in their vicinity, region, or own country.
“Culturally, this is very important,” said Schlegel. “Even if we are all women, and we all work in localization, we are not the same culturally, and we may have very different local realities. It is our mission to empower women around the world. We offer the programs, training, and experience for success.”
WL is also deeply committed to promoting global diversity, a key priority for the organization in 2024. As a global community, it strives to be a force for promoting equality in the localization industry. By fostering an inclusive environment, WL empowers professionals from diverse backgrounds to share their unique perspectives and expertise. This inclusion enriches the localization community and drives innovation and progress.