The final INSPIRE 20 podcast looks back at a number of the ways that individuals are promoting inclusion and diversity in their own lives and how organizations can do so at the highest levels of their businesses.
The series, which showcased 20 executives from around the world making a difference in terms of inclusion and diversity stemmed from conversations with customers, partners, and other stakeholders as to how we can better address the technology skills shortage as well attract more diverse talent into the industry. It was an opportunity to showcase a number of inspirational leaders and impactful programs to help inspire others.
Episode 20 revisits a conversation with technologist Anjuan Simmons, an engineering coach at Help Scout, who discussed the idea of lending privilege, including expertise lending, which is providing a voice to someone without privilege. For example, this could be done by having a person who may lack racial privilege lead a particular project.
Sander van ‘t Noordende, a board member of Out & Equal, the world’s premier LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) workplace equality organization, said that progress is made by a couple of things. One, it is made by starting with the tone from the top. If the people at the top of the house set the right tone, are inclusive, and stimulate a belonging in the organization, that makes a massive, massive difference, he said.
Vandana Verma, president and founder of InfoSec Girls, an initiative that encourages women to pursue careers in the field of information security, talked about mentorship. “Mentorship is finding your own self, finding all the jumbled thoughts that are running in your brain and just fixing it or aligning it in the right direction,” she said. “I am also mentoring new people at my organization, outside my organization, and I am learning from them as well.”
Allia McLeod, executive producer and head of development and editorial at Yahoo, explains why it’s so important to turn to the person behind you and say, “How can I support you, and how can I lift you up?” So I’d love to see more of it. I’d love for people to be more vocal about mentoring,” she said.
And finally, Sheridan Ash, technology lead at PWC who leads the company’s women in technology initiative, reminds us that the power of collaboration is the key to successfully effecting change. “And I do think that women are particularly good at this,” she said. “Since we’ve rarely been in power, I think we’ve learned to be really good at working with others because that’s how we acquire power and influence.”
If we want to make long lasting meaningful change in inclusion and diversity in our industry, we have to work together.