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Tough Conversations: What’s Needed to Increase Gender Equity in Tech

Categories: Economics of Gender Equity  Events  Gender Equity  Gender Pay Gap  Pipeline Platform  

Pipeline™ founder and CEO, Katica Roy, sat down earlier this year for a Facebook Live interview with Yolanda Chase, director of global inclusion and diversity at Arrow Electronics.

Yolanda discussed why women historically have a hard time breaking into leadership roles in tech, the importance of internal hiring and how diverse teams outperform non-diverse competitors.

Related: The State of Gender Equity in the Workplace

Yolanda is a human resource leader with a specialty in “partnering with executive leadership to deliver effective business solutions.” She’s been working with Arrow for more than three years; Arrow Electronics provides products, services and solutions in the electronics and computing industries.

“Admirable companies who understand the value of inclusion and diversity pay close attention to the fact that they need to take a targeted approach, and attention must be paid to such a significant imperative from a business perspective.”— Yolanda Chase

Arrow is working to foster an environment of inclusion across a large global workforce spread throughout the APAC and EMEA regions. However, despite the expansive reach, Arrow is developing a collective inclusion initiative that includes a global inclusion and diversity counsel, to thoroughly understand the company’s unified inclusion and diversity strategies in a straightforward manner.

Katica broached the topic of women in tech with Yolanda, as tech is a non-diverse function, to find out how Arrow is bringing gender equity to technology-related roles. Yolanda discussed Arrow’s initiative to look internally for innovators, and how Arrow focuses on internal hiring and talent retention a variety of ways.

Related: The Missing Piece in Your Hiring Process

“Innovators are found wherever we choose to look.” — Yolanda Chase

While Arrow and other companies like it are moving forward toward gender equity in technology, Katica asked Yolanda, what’s been some of the past challenges? Yolanda pointed to both the systemic and human elements that contribute to the challenges of women gaining leadership roles in the tech field.

“Creating a culture that embraces women, [where] women feel like they can be heard, where they can contribute at that level, where they can move up through an organization — [this] is what we need to work on. The brave leader, the courageous leader, the transformational organization, those are the ones that lead in the space…” — Yolanda Chase

When asked about her opinion on the measurable uptick in positive economic growth that companies can experience as a result of moving toward gender equity, Yolanda mentioned the positive ways female contributions add to the evolution and innovation of a team. According to her, diverse teams are more valuable teams.

But what about companies that are struggling to achieve gender equity? Yolanda had this to say:

“[Tech companies that are actually struggling to achieve gender equity within their ranks] have to be honest about what the issue is in the organization…In order to move forward, it’s going to be uncomfortable, but it does require that we get very familiar with discomfort.” – Yolanda Chase

Yolanda encourages leaders to become uncomfortable, challenge the longstanding culture of the company, take the chance and spark a transformation.

“It’s going to require being fearless, and tough conversations.” — Yolanda Chase

Yolanda’s closing thoughts were along the same lines:

“If you’re in an environment that’s not [pursuing gender parity]…push the envelope. Have a conversation. For those practitioners who are out there in human resources, be brave. Be strong. Be transformational. And be fearless. Have the tough conversation and call out unconscious bias when you see it, respectfully. But call it out. And then help to solution around it…We want to be better than where we are today. We want to be a better version of our current selves.” — Yolanda Chase

Katica and Pipeline™ would like to thank Yolanda and Arrow for taking the time to chat about this vital aspect of gender equity.

For more insights from industry leaders on the power and potential of gender equity, sign up for the weekly Brave Souls™ newsletter below.

© 2018 Pipeline Equity, Inc.

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