Bob-Davis-featured

HeForShe: Bob Davis | CMO, Plutora

Bob-Davis-featured

Bob brings to Plutora more than 30 years of engineering, marketing and sales management experience with high technology organisations from emerging start-ups to global 500 corporations.

Before joining Plutora, Bob was the Chief Marketing Officer at Atlantis Computing, a provider of Software Defined and Hyper Converged solutions for enterprise customers. Bob has a proven track record using analysis-driven and measurable revenue-based marketing. He has propelled company growth at data storage and IT management companies including Kaseya (co-founder, acquired by Insight Venture Partners), Sentilla, CA, Netreon (acquired by CA), Novell and Intel.

Bob earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University, and an MBA from Santa Clara University. He holds a patent in data networking.

Why do you support the HeForShe campaign?

Not only do I have two daughters who have very successful careers, but I have also worked with lots of women throughout my working life in both marketing and engineering – I’ve found that some of the most incredible performers in terms of productivity and skill have been women. For me, the goal is to have an organisation filled with smart, creative, energetic and self-motivated individuals, regardless of their gender. It’s important for businesses to have a mix of different perspectives, and this is improved through a healthy mix of both men and women.

Why do you think it’s important for men to support gender equality in the workplace?

I’ve never understood the counter argument to this. Why wouldn’t men want gender equality? This has never been a big deal for me. For as long as I can remember, when we hire new staff, it is always the experience and level of the candidate that’s far more important, not their gender.

How welcome are men in the gender equality conversation currently?

There are definitely issues in the technology industry and the world in general, I hear it and read about it almost daily. Recently we’ve seen various campaigns and movements on social media, which raises the point that it’s about more than just equal pay. In my own experience, however, I’ve never been around men who I felt were of a different mind about gender equality than me, which is really positive and says a lot about the organisations I’ve worked for throughout my career.

Do you think groups/networks that include the words “women in…” or “females in…” make men feel like gender equality isn’t really their problem or something they need to help with?

No, these terms have never bothered me; I don’t know why this is even an issue. Unfortunately there does seem to be a certain buzz around the notion of affirmative action, which has definitely been a big deal in the US in recent decades. There can be backlash and criticism to an extent, which is human nature, but on the whole it’s important to acknowledge the positivity of initiatives like this.

What can businesses do to encourage more men to feel welcome enough to get involved in the gender debate?

Differences in the workplace can be a really good thing – the capabilities of people don’t vary because of their gender, but because of who they are. These days, I see businesses trying harder to hire people who are more diverse, to help introduce a range of perspectives to their teams and this is vital for growth. I believe the goal for a business is to get people to understand that diversity is critical to their success – you will be far more successful if you operate under the notion that different is powerful.

Do you currently mentor any women or have you in the past?

Yes, to both!

Have you noticed any difference in mentoring women – for example, are women less likely to put themselves forward for jobs that are out of their comfort zones or are women less likely to identify senior roles that they would be suited for?  

If I were to evaluate the population of men and women that I’ve worked with, looking at who’s willing to put themselves out there, take risks, be bold and say what they mean – I’d say that the percentages of men and women are not all that different. Some of the women I’ve worked with are the most influential and powerful leaders I’ve known and are or have been successful both on a US and international stage.

You’ll generally find you get a softer, more thoughtful approach to an argument from women than you do from men. Women are also usually more effective at dealing with difficult personalities, which partly explains their ability to lead so well.


Eduard-Meelhuysen-Bitglass-featured

HeForShe: Eduard Meelhuysen | Head of EMEA, Bitglass

Eduard Meelhuysen is VP and GM, EMEA at cloud security company, Bitglass.

Eduard joined Bitglass as Head of EMEA in 2016.

He has over 19 years experience managing and growing technology businesses. Eduard doesn’t want his team to be an old boy’s club; he believes that diversity spawns creativity and productivity. 

Why do you support the HeForShe campaign?

A productive workplace needs a balance of women and men. It is crucial to business success, in my opinion. Men and women are as capable as each other, and having a melting pot of different personalities generates better ideas, brings new perspectives and makes for innovation.

Why do you think it’s important for men to support gender equality in the workplace?

We now live and work in a world where gender is largely irrelevant to the jobs that we do – whether that’s being a stay-at-home parent, saving lives in an operating theatre, or running the country. With women making up nearly 50 per cent of the workforce, it would be totally self-defeating not to consider them in equal measure. When I’m building my team I don’t consider a person’s gender. First and foremost it’s about the experience and qualifications that person can offer.

Do you think groups/networks that include the words “women in…” or “females in…” make men feel like gender equality isn’t really their problem or something they need to help with?

Everywhere you look there are groups who aim to promote a particular cause, whether that’s the BBC’s Sports Relief to tackle people who live tough lives or the Time’s Up against sexual harassment in the workplace. People who are passionate about a topic can be the most effective drivers for change. When it comes to creating female equality it makes complete sense for women to be at the forefront – but this should not discourage men from supporting these initiatives too. Everyone has a part to play, regardless of gender.

What can businesses do to encourage more men to feel welcome enough to get involved in the gender debate?

Ultimately it’s about getting men to realize that they are part of the solution to stamping out gender inequality. Adopting a mind-set that’s gender neutral is key

Do you currently mentor any women or have you in the past?

Yes, I‘ve mentored employees and co-workers of both genders.

Have you noticed any difference in mentoring women – for example, are women less likely to put themselves forward for jobs that are out of their comfort zones or are women less likely to identify senior roles that they would be suited for? 

The real difference I have noticed with the women I’ve mentored is that they are more open to receiving, and acting upon, constructive feedback.


Martin Scott

HeForShe: Martin Scott | Vice President, Delivery Director for Capgemini UK

Vice President, Delivery Director for Capgemini UK Martin Scott has been with Capgemini since 1997. Recently he spoke with WeAreTheCity about why he is a keen supporter of equality in the workplace.
Why do you support the HeForShe campaign? For example - do you have a daughter or have you witnessed the benefits that diversity can bring to a workplace?

HeForShe

I’m lucky enough to have two children – one of each – and I would like my daughter to have the full breadth of opportunities available to her. So, it’s very personal for me, as well as making really good business sense.

Diversity in a team is essential - it creates debate and challenge, and a richness of conversation, which leads to brilliant and diverse outcomes. We also have to reflect the customers we partner with, and very few of our clients’ organisations are made up exclusively of white, middle-aged men.

While the variety of thought and ideas is important, it’s not the only consideration. I tend to find that my female colleagues are more collaborative in the ways they work, and bring a different dynamic to a team, which I really appreciate.

Why do you think it’s important for men to support gender equality in the workplace?

For me, inclusion is about a lot more than just the absence of exclusion. Our culture of “Active Inclusion” at Capgemini is deliberately named in recognition that we all have to do something proactive to ensure that everyone feels involved, particularly if you’re in the privileged position (as a lot of men are) of being in the perceived “in group”. Behaviors and tone are set early on and you have to lead and create the environment that you want to see.

Enjoying the journey as is good as achieving the goal. I want the opportunity to work with people time and time again, so retention of our people is absolutely key, and a mutually beneficial experience is important in fostering retention.

How welcome are men in the gender equality conversation currently?

Statistics do not lie. We have a challenge on our hands in our industry, and we need a better balance. I always feel a welcome part of the conversation, and at Capgemini, we very much take the view that we’re all in this together, and we have to share equal responsibility for change, regardless of gender.

We encourage our women to build networks (to which, it should be said, men are always invited!) however, it is not just about building awareness. We have made a decision to make a step change, here, and we cannot expect our female colleagues to deliver this on their own: our male employees also have an important role in driving this change.

Do you think groups/networks that include the words “women in…” or “females in…” make men feel like gender equality isn’t really their problem or something they need to help with?

I think that when it comes to diversity both the business reasons and the moral imperative are clear, and if you work from that assumption, it’s really obvious that it’s everyone’s challenge to fix. So in my view, women’s networks are really useful to help us start conversations (especially when men are invited to participate as we are at Capgemini), and absolutely not something which makes men feel gender equality isn’t their problem.

Do you currently mentor any women or have you in the past?

I’ve mentored men and women in the past, and I think it’s less about the gender of the person, and more about treating everyone I mentor as an individual. It’s too simplistic to think that men and women want different things. Actually, regardless of their gender, each person has their own individual needs when it comes to mentoring, and the beauty of really good mentoring is that it’s the most tailored and individual L&D you can have.

The key to make sure mentoring really works is nothing to do with gender, rather it is in making sure that both parties go into it with a real open and honest approach in terms of what they are looking to get out of it. A mentee needs to be really clear about what they are aiming for, and a mentor needs to be clear as to whether they can deliver that.


Adam Warby featured

HeForShe: Adam Warby, CEO of Avanade: Standing together for gender parity

 

Adam Warby is the CEO of Avanade and is in support of the United Nation's HeForShe campaign.

Why do you support the HeForShe campaign? For example, have you witnessed the benefits that diversity can bring to a workplace?Adam Warby

Fundamentally, I believe in the mission of men being part of the solution to gender parity, and to stand together to create a bold, visible force for gender equality. This is a responsibility that rests with each and every one of us, personally and professionally.

As a business leader, I feel it’s important to be vocal about creating gender equality in the workplace, but it’s also critical to follow up with action; putting in place the people and programs that are necessary to make change happen.

It’s no secret that the technology industry sees the benefits of a diverse workplace, and as a whole is intently focused on bringing more gender equity into the collective workforce and attracting more women to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.

The research makes the business imperative for diversity pretty clear. For example, the Harvard Business Review estimates that a 30% female C-suite translates into a 15% increase in profitability. In addition, companies with diversity in both gender and experiences/skills are 45% more likely to report market share gains and 70% more likely to capture a new market.

Going beyond the business benefits, though, there are many other reasons why a diverse workforce should just be part of how we all do business. When people of diverse backgrounds, skills and unique perspectives come together, they are better equipped to solve business challenges with innovative ideas and new approaches.

As a company with a presence in 23 countries with more than 28,000 digitally connected people around the world, the diversity of Avanade’s workforce correlates directly to our ability to realise results for our clients and their customers. Diversity is not just good for the bottom line, it propels innovation and creativity. It’s clear to me (as well as our leadership team and Board of Directors) that diverse teams are critical to our future growth (and I would argue they are critical for any business who wants to stay competitive and relevant in the changing, connected, global marketplace).

The reality is that today and in the future, our clients expect us to bring diverse ideas to solve problems and seize new opportunities—and that can only come from the diversity of one’s own workforce.

Why do you think it’s important for men to support gender equality in the workplace?

Men are typically the largest group of stakeholders in most enterprises today, making them an important part of the solution to gender equality. Men need to lead by example, especially those in leadership positions. The reality is that if we are to succeed in reaching our diversity goals as a company, we must work as a team to make it happen.

At Avanade, men and women have come together to identify new ways to attract and retain a diverse group of people into our business since we formalized our Office of Diversity and Inclusion in 2011.

And we keep raising the bar. As an example, Avanade’s goal is to increase the number of women in our company until we have a workforce made up of at least 30% women in director and above roles – and we are working hard to reach this goal within the next three years. We’ve also infused the importance of diversity into our own corporate citizenship initiatives, which focus on closing the gender, technology and income gaps for women to better enable them to realize their full potential in our digital world.

How welcome are men in the gender equality conversation currently?

I can only speak from my own experience when I say that at Avanade, men are not only welcome in the gender equality conversation, but are very much a part of identifying new ways to reach our diversity and inclusion goals.

To ensure we drive positive change across the business, we went directly to our employees to get their perspective on how could we attract and hire more women in leadership roles. Men and women across the business worked together to create solutions to nurture more diversity in our organization.

In addition, as part of our goals to drive awareness around who we’re hiring and bring more women into our business, in 2013, we introduced candidate slating guidelines, which require our hiring managers to make sure that at least one woman is included in the pool of candidates being interviewed for director level positions and above and that one female is also on the interview panel for those candidates

Implementing these criteria is helping hiring managers think about the candidates we interview and helps us ensure qualified women have the opportunity to compete for senior level roles. This effort, in particular, has directly influenced our ability to increase the number of women in director+ roles by 74% since the inception of these guidelines.

Do you think groups/networks that include the words “women in…” or “females in…” make men feel like gender equality isn’t really their problem or something they need to help with?

I would be naïve if I didn’t acknowledge that some men may still feel this way. But, honestly, I believe that within our business, men very much feel a part of our strategy to increase gender equity at Avanade—and they’ve been at the table from the very beginning of our efforts. At Avanade, it’s never really been a “women only” issue.

What can businesses do to encourage more men to feel welcome enough to get involved in the gender debate?

It’s simple, really: they need to be part of the conversation. Ask for their ideas and encourage their participation to help the business reach its collective goal.

Increasing gender diversity starts with a company’s own culture. We believe that everyone counts—in fact, it’s one of our documented core values. We know that merely declaring diversity a value doesn’t make it so—it has to be part and parcel of the work environment, and we all have to be held accountable for making it real.

At Avanade, gender diversity is not only a “desired goal”, but a written objective for all executive leadership. It is one of three priorities on my own performance scorecard that focuses on people, and one of 10 priorities overall. In addition, our employees all participate in Diversity and Inclusion training. Our focus on measurement is an important driver of gender equality in Avanade’s workplace – not just to set goals, but also to drive transparency and trust in the conversation.

Do you currently mentor any women or have you in the past?

I’ve had the pleasure of serving as a mentor to many women over the course of my career—it’s such a rewarding part of my professional life.

I’m proud to say that last year, Avanade forged a partnership with the Aspire Foundation, whose goal is to provide mentors for 1 billion women. In this past year alone, Avanade has provided more than 500 mentors to female entrepreneurs around the world to help them advance their skills and networks. It’s been wonderful seeing our employees share their knowledge and experience in such a personal way, and I am personally mentoring two women under this program – one in the US and one in Uganda.

Have you noticed any difference in mentoring women – for example, are women less likely to put themselves forward for jobs that are out of their comfort zones or are women less likely to identify senior roles that they would be suited for?

In mentoring women, I have noticed that they are generally more prepared and hungrier for the feedback than some men. I think this reflects the desire of women to make the most of their careers today. Twenty years ago it might have been true that women were less likely to put themselves forward for different jobs or more senior roles—and it still may hold true for some individuals—but I think by creating access and opportunities, we are making it easier for everyone to apply their strengths in the workplace. At the same time, it’s equally important that we create a work culture that respects and welcomes all points of view. This hopefully energizes our employees to participate, put themselves forward for roles that might be outside of their comfort zones, and fuel their career growth.

Feedback from our leaders and employees tell us we are on the right track, but we continually ask ourselves: “what else can we do?”

The truth is even when we reach our gender diversity goals as a company, our work won’t be finished. Diversity and inclusion goes far beyond gender, and we must focus on ensuring everyone’s experience and perspectives count.