Looking to the Future: Women in Localization Focuses on Growth in 2024

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There are more women than ever in the localization industry, and business is booming. That’s just one reason why Women in Localization (W.L.) is extending its reach across the globe this year with new chapters, expanding into brand-new geographic and economic territories.

Women in Localization is now the premier professional organization worldwide for advancing women in the localization industry. Founded 15 years ago in Silicon Valley, W.L. is now a truly global community that embraces its 27 international chapters.

To this end, W.L.’s Global Growth and Diversity Program will focus on rapid but intentional growth, with the goal of opening six new chapters in 2024.

“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.”

Addressing Global Demand

These expansion plans have been the result of focused planning, creative adaptation during a historic pandemic, and a whole lot of ingenuity.

Women in Localization 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 regularly fields requests for new chapters, and after watching demand only increase, Women in Localization is moving forward with planned expansion.

In 2023, the organization has 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 worldwide,” said 2024 Women in Localization President Anna N. Schlegel. “We are thrilled to enter new regions. New chapters offer so many new connections, new friends, and opportunities for innovation.”

Madhu Sundaramurthy, Board Sponsor for the Global Community Program, is joining Fischer to lead this important initiative. They will work closely with a well-connected local female leader in each locale to build a team and leverage W.L.’s proven approach to global expansion. Longer-term, the local chapter will help grow membership by providing members a sense of community and quality content.

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.

“Women in Localization 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, W.L.’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

Women in Localization 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 to develop a supportive learning community while supporting W.L.’s 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 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.”

Women in Localization 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.

W.L.’s members are pivotal in shaping global policies and practices, contributing to international forums, and collaborating on global projects. By fostering an inclusive environment, W.L. empowers professionals from diverse backgrounds to share their unique perspectives and expertise. This inclusion enriches the localization community and drives innovation and progress.

Women in Localization Brings Opportunity

Localization is at the forefront of many things—groundbreaking technologies, AI, geopolitical changes, and medical advances—all of which impact traditional approaches to global growth.

At the center of all this transformation, Women in Localization offers opportunities for professionals to connect, grow, lead, and innovate with the support of a diverse professional community.

With nearly 300 volunteers worldwide, W.L. also offers a range of volunteer roles that support personal and professional development. From serving on the Board to hands-on involvement in sponsorship, marketing, events, and mentorship programs. W.L. ’s volunteers often share inspiring stories of their involvement, which has led to career advancements and personal growth.

“I can’t wait to partner with groups and individuals who could truly expand their communities by being part of our movement,” said Fischer. “I can already see the potential for making great things happen this year!”

Originally published in Multilingual on February 7, 2024.