Okta Resignation

Heather Wallander waited over a year for a promotion at US-based access management company Okta.

"All of my peers, including those with less tenure, became senior manager last year," Wallander wrote in a LinkedIn post. "When I asked why, the reasons were that I'm 'high strung'."

Although she has finally received her career bump, addressing her connections on LinkedIn, Wallander announced that she would resign from her new post.

"I was promoted to senior manager at Okta today, and I will resign from the company on Friday," Wallander said.

Wallander's role as senior manager will last less than 72 hours. "I decided the small wins weren't enough to justify staying," she explained. "Granting delayed promotions this year does not equal problem fixed."

"At the beginning, I was just trying to figure out why I was being treated differently than my male peers. It's very likely I would have accepted the flimsy justifications from my leadership, and HR had I not become concerned that two women were laid off due to what was appearing more and more like gender discrimination," Wallander continued. "I stood up because they could not and because it was the right thing to do, but I was terrified it would destroy my career at Okta. And it did."

According to the former senior manager, during her time at the identity firm, some of Okta's male employees would play "childish" and "petty" games with female workers and "refused to show professional courtesy."

"After 599 days of fighting for change internally, I am walking away so that I can emotionally and mentally withstand the legal battle to come," Wallander continued. "I never imagined it would get to the point it has until we arrived here."

Okta Resignation
(Screenshot: LinkedIn)

Urging other women to call out companies that discriminate against women employees, the former senior manager wrote: "While I've accepted that one person alone is not enough to change a company, they can plant seeds that will make the difference. I have already seen how those seeds can flourish into women who are not only less afraid to speak up for themselves but will encourage other women to do the same."

"If another company fears hiring me because I spoke up for myself and many other exceptional women, it isn't a company I want to work for," she concluded.

Okta has not commented on the incident.

According to a Women in the Workplace report conducted by Sheryl Sandberg's non-profit LeanIn.Org and management consulting firm McKinsey, in 2022, for every 100 men promoted to a manager role in the US, just 87 women receive the same career boost.

Sheryl Sandberg, the former COO of Meta Platforms, responded to the findings with: "The perception that it's women who are lazy, who are disgruntled, that it's women who are demanding flexibility rather than how that flexibility can fuel ambition is really unfortunate."

The study, which analysed data from 276 companies in the US and Canada and interviewed more than 27,000 employees, also found that women are neglected regarding in-office training compared to men.

Rachel Thomas, the co-founder and CEO of LeanIn.org, added: "Men report when they are on-site that they get more mentorship and sponsorship than women. They feel more 'in the know'."