Adam Philpott, McAfeeAs EMEA President of McAfee, Adam Philpott leads the EMEA region with a focus on building truly diverse teams to drive sales and success at every level of the business.

In this role, Adam is responsible for growing the business across EMEA as well as developing stronger partnerships with the channel and customers across McAfee’s consumer and enterprise security portfolio.

Before joining McAfee, Adam held the role of Senior Director, EMEAR, Cyber Security at Cisco. With more than 17 years of experience at the IT and networking conglomerate, Adam has a proven record of working in the security industry and boosting business growth.

Why do you support the HeForShe campaign? For example – do you have a daughter or have witnessed the benefits that diversity can bring to a workplace?

I’ve always been surrounded by strong female role models. I was brought up by a single mother, which I’d say is part of the reason why driving equality is a personal passion of mine. Together with the McAfee leadership team, I strive to achieve our diversity goals and we are committed to creating a diverse, inclusive culture across the company.

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

I’m an active member of McAfee’s WISE (Women in Security) Affinity Group, which is one of the company’s employee-run networks, focused on supporting the growth, empowerment, and success of women. With around 1,000 members globally, the group includes both women and men at all levels. Given my current role, I also focus on how we can continue encouraging wider diversity in EMEA and spearheading initiatives that empower women in the industry more broadly – both employees and those considering careers in STEM.

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

Without male support when it comes to gender equality in the workplace, the pace of change will not improve. As the incumbents, if men don’t sign up to challenge the status quo, the voice of change will ultimately be diminished.

How welcome are men in the gender equality conversation currently?

I think it’s incumbent upon men to get involved in the gender equality conversation. Personally, I like to think not just about what we say, but what we do, however big or small. Like many of the debates focused on minority rights and boosting diversity, those who are in the position of privilege are naturally nervous about what to say – they often don’t feel they have the right to contribute, or may even feel they shouldn’t speak out as they are part of the problem. In other cases, men may not be sure how to get involved. However, a noble intent and demonstrable desire to drive change, even without knowing how, is a good start.

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?

Personally, no I don’t, as these groups are necessary to create strength in numbers and a community platform. However, I do see the rise of the term “ally” as something powerful to engage and co-opt men into actively driving change alongside women.

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

The vital step to encourage more men into actively involving themselves in the gender debate is to normalise it. It’s often an exception, rather than the rule. As a result, I believe regular, visible, values-based leadership can go a long way. However, this shouldn’t just be from the top. It’s key to encourage this and normalise men actively supporting equal rights for women in the workplace across all levels of an organisation.

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?

My experience of mentoring has always shown that each and every person – whether a woman or a man – has unique strengths and weaknesses. However, I do believe that we need to underpin confidence for every single individual through support, coaching, leadership flexibility and action. For example, every organisation should think through the language and individuals involved in attracting female talent, and ensure that flexible leaders are in place to act as coaches and help women develop and succeed with confidence. These leaders should also ensure scrutiny over hidden biases such as working practices to ensure women are able to contribute and in doing so, are equal in their promotion and career development prospects.