Updated: Jun 4

Day 2 started with a lovely breakfast. Conferences are better with good food!


Laura Sabattini provided a quick recap and then we jumped into “You can’t have belonging without beating bias” by Callie Gauld and Heather Hansen from Esurance. They started by asking questions using the https://www.mentimeter.com/ app. As a facilitator, I really appreciated an interactive tool. Callie and Heather emphasized experiential learning to discuss bias. They discussed cultural bias using the Intercultural Development Inventory® (IDI®). Their approach fights the stigmas that exist by first assessing an individual’s intercultural competence.


Sasha Strock presented “Gender expression and transgender inclusion at work”. She discussed how she transitioned at age 50 and her subsequent experience in the workplace. Sasha did not use any slides so we could focus on her message. She took the time to discuss terms to use and shared a statistic that 24% of youth between 13-17 years old do not identify as male or female. Sasha was impressive, vulnerable, and compelling all at once.


The session on “Aging” by Patrick Arbore was informative and helped to break down myths. Ageism is real and alive in some companies. Patrick shared that 65+ is the fastest growing population and that the way people look at retirement is changing. As life expectancies have increased it is possible that you could have 30 years of retirement and people must prepare for this possibility. He discussed common myths such as older people dislike technology. Patrick also shared ideas about how to slowly move into retirement such as working 3 days a week and mentoring up and coming managers.


Natalie Simmons, from Zendesk discussed employee resource groups (ERGs) , Intersectionality, Allyship & Belonging. She shared how Zendesk is prioritizing intersectionality, so that ERGs have events together and really create a culture of belonging. Having a shared calendar, slack channel and a global meeting quarterly allows the ERG leads to come together to share ideas and learn from each other.


Unfortunately, I needed to leave to catch my flight back to Vancouver and couldn’t attend the entire final panel session. If you attended, please let me know what I missed. I had an opportunity to meet some wonderful people who are doing great work every day. Thank you to all the speakers as well as Michael Nenninger, Felicia Rivers, Alyssa Lin, Susi Collins, Jorge Quezada, Miguel Rocha, Tolonda Tolbert, Paul Barrows, Gary Ross and Shelly Allen who I had an opportunity to meet. You are fantastic champions who are driving change.


I look forward to the next Conference Board conference!


@conferenceboard #tcbinclusion #inclusiveleadership #inclusionfirst #psychologicalsafety #sharelearnings

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Updated: Jun 4


On November 12th and 13th, I had the opportunity to attend the Conference Board’s Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Conference. This year’s theme was “Bridging The Bridge To Belonging”. This is a recap of my experience of the event on the first day.

Over 1.5 days, we had over 10 speakers including myself. My presentation discussed common types of privilege and various ways to approach the conversation (i.e. the PIE Method). Feel free to reach out to me about the method.


The first day started with Laura Sabattini a principal researcher at the Conference Board. She welcomed us and shared her perspective on how belonging is at the core of D&I.

Lisa Gutierrez from Indiana University Health held a session on “Dimensions and Connections” focused on defining the IT when it comes to diversity and inclusion. She emphasized that, to truly belong in the workplace, we need a common language and buy in from the top executives. Lisa had the audience perform a word challenge exercise. Each person had to come up with 10 words associated with the word diversity. At my table of seven, no one had the same 10 words!


Amy Cappellanti-Wolf from Symantec shared the firm’s 3-pillar approach to D&I. The focus was on defining D&I and amplifying it at the top, identifying business processes where bias creeps in and develop inclusive leadership practices. Symantec spent their energy on recognition and within one year there were over 38,000 recognition moments. New hires were 3x less likely to leave in the first year when they were recognized. This shouldn’t be a surprise as recognition is one way to ensure individuals are seen and valued. The effort to recognize someone is not difficult and can be as simple as acknowledging her/his work or mentioning him/her in a team meeting. In 2018, I sent over 2100 recognition awards at SAP to thank people who had taken our D&I training. Each one of those was also seen by the person’s manager. I am proud to say that out of 96,000 SAP staff, I am the 2nd person to send the most awards in our organization.


Michelle Fang’s session from Turo was impressive. She is Turo’s Chief Legal Officer and she shared her “aha” moment when she noticed an image that illustrated who was being promoted as partners. The image included only white male lawyers. Michelle shared how Turo partnered with the Diversity Lab to focus on measurement and tracking, developing the pipeline, mentorship, and sponsorship.


Intuit’s Chief D&I Officer is Scott Beth. His session was called “What are you hiding?”. He mentions that belonging brings out the best in people. Intuit has 4 focus areas: Objectivity, Belonging, Voice and Growth. Objectivity is focused on consistent hiring criteria to prevent the “I don’t know I just don’t think they are a good fit” comment. Belonging focuses on building a diverse team and fostering 1:1 with managers and employees. Voice focused on interrupting bias and giving feedback when people are behaving exclusively. The Growth area discussed making feedback part of the norm and talking openly about mistakes and failures. I think this is so important because we still, in 2019, do not share full failures.


In Reuben Miller’s session he discussed two topics: how Intel created an Allyship program called Ally Nation and how they solved a retention problem through Warmline. Their ally program focused on specific behaviours such as: demonstrate empathy, build trust through active listening, point out bias, and advocate those who feel marginalized. I was extremely impressed with Intel’s Warmline program because a few years ago they realized they were losing employees, so they created an anonymous hotline for employees to reach out. A case manager (who was part of the D&I team) would be assigned and work with the employee through the issue. The results: 82% save rate. This meant 8 out of 10 employees were retained. This is fantastic considering there is a “war for talent” and the cost to replace talent is expensive.


Our day ended with a topic we don’t discuss typically in corporations: religion. Farah Siddiqui from Salesforce shared her journey on the creation of Faithforce, an employee resource group focused on all religions. Farah shared how, in the beginning, she would have to pretend she wasn’t hungry during Ramadan and pray quickly in stairwells. Her manager was very supportive, and she was able to create Faithforce to acknowledge, support, celebrate and foster understanding of global faith. Since 2017, it has grown to 13 chapters with 3000 members. It made me reflect on my session where I spoke about religious privilege and asked the question why is Christmas (Dec 25th) a statutory holiday? What about Hannukah or Diwali or...?


That’s it for Day 1. Stay tuned for my Day 2 recap.



@conferenceboard #tcbinclusion #inclusiveleadership #diversityandinclusion #conferenceboard


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  • sredivo

Updated: Jun 4





“Stephanie, how did you get into Diversity and Inclusion (D&I)?” I’m often asked this question. Here’s my story.


On May 24th, 2011, the executive board at SAP sent an email stating that by end of 2017, we will have 25% of women in management positions. At that time, we were currently hovering around the 18% mark. The first thing that came to mind was: how were we going to accomplish this goal? This, no doubt, would require major change in processes and mindsets. The second thing that came to mind was: how do I get into D&I so I could eventually contribute directly to this goal?

Traditionally, girls have not been encouraged to enter the field of technology. The stereotype is that girls aren’t good at math and, therefore, the field of technology. I believed and continue to believe that reaching out to girls as young as 10 would help combat this stereotype and with programs meant to encourage them, then perhaps one day we’ll be talking about a goal of 50% in management positions at technology firms like mine.


From 2011 to October 2014, I began discussions with the UBC Computer Science department to find out if they had an outreach program for young girls. Indeed, they had a Grade 6 program. I felt they needed a Grade 7 one. Fortunately, UBC felt the same way and we got to work. We started by conducting a design thinking workshop. This led to interviewing Grade 7 girls to obtain their input. The result was the GIRLsmarts4tech program. Since 2014, we have had 21 events run globally with over 1100 girls attending the program. Additionally, in 2016, parents told us that they wanted more information, and this led to the parent workshops. To date, we have had 7 parent workshops with different panelists sharing what it's like to work in technology. The GIRLsmarts4tech was run completely by volunteers from SAP and UBC. Without the volunteers, there would be no program and I’ll always be grateful. I’m certain the girls who went through the program and the parents were also grateful!


In 2015, I started my internal search to see what SAP had to offer in the D&I group. I reached out to the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer to see if there were any opportunities. At the time, SAP was embarking on a global EDGE certification (http://edge-cert.org). It seems like a lifetime ago, but I still recall the day a colleague called me to let me know that she needed a Program Manager to run the certification program. That phone call changed my life at SAP and I’ll always be thankful to Nicole McCabe. Soon after, I was running the certification program in 12 countries with a tight deadline of 6 months. On September 13th, 2016, SAP became the first multinational technology company to receive worldwide gender equality certification. http://news.sap.com/sap-becomes-first-multinational-technology-company-to-receive-global-gender-equality-certification/.

Today in 2019, I get to participate in creating real organizational change that makes a difference in people’s lives. I get to talk to people about the competitive advantages of having a diverse and inclusive team. I get to smile a lot! Yes, I really do feel that I have the best job in the world.


So, when people ask me how did you get into diversity and inclusion? I say three things:

Do the job first before you are offered a paid role in D&I. What?! I know it's not fair, but if you want something, you may have to create the opportunity for yourself.


Education. Help yourself by taking D&I courses. Personally, I took courses at UBC. Read lots! Here are some of my favourites: The Culture Code,Connection Culture,Inclusion Nudges Guidebook, White Fragility, Inclusion


If you don’t have the time or resources to take courses, then books are a good starting point for an eventual role in D&I. They allow you to learn from others and provide real world ideas to implement within your organization.


The importance of Diversity and Inclusion continues to evolve every year and I see companies creating roles focused on inclusion and equity. Being seen, heard and belonging is everyone's right and we all have a role in creating change.

Good luck on your journey!

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