Here at Insight, diversity and inclusion isn’t simply a box to be ticked. It brings major benefits for our teammates, our growth-mindset culture - and to our business results.
I’m passionate about diversity and inclusion because I think it is a pragmatically better outcome for everybody. We can be a faster-growing, more innovative, more rewarding and better business through diversity, inclusion and belonging.
Our true competitive advantage lies in our people, bringing their whole selves to work, coupled with their empowerment to challenge the status quo, and each other, respectfully, and bring new ideas and perspectives into the mix. As Katherine Clayton, Insight ANZ People & Culture Lead says: “Diversity brings new ways of thinking, new innovation, and enables us to push the boundaries of performance; and when we are successful, when we’re adding value and performing to our potential, we’re also more likely to enjoy our work.”
But diversity is just one part of the solution. While I am passionate about getting more women in the room, I’m equally passionate about ensuring that once women are in the room, their voices are clearly heard, and their leadership and impact is championed across the organisation. Of course, gender is only one aspect of diversity, and at Insight we’re focused on embracing and celebrating all facets of individual difference that contribute to the identity of our teammates.
Getting the balance of people in business right is only half the story. If you don’t pursue strategies to make sure that everyone in that now diverse pool of talent is able to show up, bring their authentic selves to work and all of their diverse experiences to the table, then you are really not getting the benefits you were seeking in the first place.
With that in mind, Insight Asia Pacific has a Diversity and Inclusion Council looking at diversity with three specific impact areas in mind: Women in Technology; Reconciliation and representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples; and People with Disabilities. With a focus on the Women in Tech lens for this article, I’d like to share a few impactful initiatives we’re focused on right now: including the Champions of Change, a Microsoft-sponsored Partner Community syndicate, the Women Rising Leadership program and our Women In Technology spotlight.
Champions of Change acknowledges that women are significantly under-represented at Board and senior-executive level and aims to create change by engaging male leaders who currently occupy those positions to drive change from the top. I participate in the Microsoft Partners Chapter to learn, collaborate and contribute to practical positive change. This forum is driving for me personally, and the momentum within our organisation and industry is tremendous.
Women Rising is also a Microsoft sponsored program and it’s having a significant impact on our business. Designed by women, for women, it provides the tools and techniques to help women “rise through the ranks”, while Women in Technology works to build the pipeline of women interested in starting or transitioning into technology from any industry or background. We recently had two alumni of the Women Rising program talk with our APAC Executive Leadership team, which has 45% women ratio, and the ideas and appetite to drive new initiatives was palpable.
Across these three programs, it’s a balance of reflecting on the fact that the technology industry is still largely run by men who need to consciously create more space for more women to be heard, to thrive and to lead, and at the same time, we need to provide the resources to allow women to become a bigger voice. It’s a top down, bottom-up approach which we believe can make structural shifts in the industry.
Here at Insight, and with a global perspective, I’m particularly excited about the recent announcement on October 19, 2021, that our new Chief Executive Officer, as of January 2022 upon the retirement of our current CEO Ken Lamneck, will be Joyce Mullen, our current President of Insight North America. This is terrific for our company, and for the industry; it’s terrific and the right next step and the right next global leader for Insight.
When you’re prepared to challenge the status quo, you open a portfolio of opportunities for you personally, for your team, and for your business. While I’m proud of how far Insight has come, I’m conscious of how far we still must go. Likewise, while we’re all accustomed to the rapid change of continuously emerging new technology, change on deeper issues doesn’t happen overnight. By working together, we can make a lasting impact for good.