Winners Never Quit : Uma DeviReddy in conversation with Rashmi Kansupada
Have you ever wondered why minorities are underrepresented in your favorite Game of thrones show? Similarly, have you ever wondered why there is under representation in your work environment or in the world around you? Or have you ever felt like you are being seen but not heard? If any of these questions resonates with you then my thoughts in this article might garner your interest.
I have been working for 22 years for companies ranging from nimble startups to fortune 500 firms in entry level to middle management roles. My work experience makes me uniquely qualified for penning my thoughts about diversity and inclusion. In my most recent experience working with a major financial institution service I was fortune enough to have worked in various teams from technology to business giving me the insight into a diverse perspective of different teams. Through my experience I have learnt that it is not just being represented or the not being represented but, the real question is are we being heard. I have over years felt like I have had to work extra hard and constantly prove my worth to be accepted. I questioned if my challenges and struggles were due to diversity being looked at as a detriment rather than as a strength.
As I shared my experiences with others, people started sharing their experiences and it seemed evident that it an epidemic concern that still needed to be addressed. Many felt like there still was an invisible limitation that pulled them down from moving up the corporate ladder or being heard. Although there has been a lot of work that has been done towards Diversity and inclusion, it felt like there still is a lot that can be done.
According to the annual 2018 diversity report, 66.8% of all jobs are held by men while 33.2% are held by women. Based on Quantum Impact’s diversity report, one out of every five organizations (20 Percent) do not have a single woman serving on their leadership teams. These number are even worse for women of color. Only 4 percent of the top corporate jobs are held by women of color. As interesting as these numbers are, these numbers totally substantiate my experience.
Studies have shown that diverse workforce not only brings creative thinking and a fresh perspective but also increases company’s bottom line. A recent Clover Pop research study conducted over a 2-year span with 200 business units showed inclusive teams make better business decisions 87% of the time. While these numbers for average teams were 66%. Decision made and executed by diverse teams were successful over 60% of the times.
Based on my experience, here are a few things I think absolutely needs to be done for us to be able to see some real change.
1. Leaders need to go through a training so that they become aware of their subconscious bias
2. Organizations should consciously make efforts to hire diverse leaders in executive roles
3. Leaders should consciously make efforts to interact with diverse team members. Leaders should ask themselves, who do they sit next to when they enter a meeting room? If you are looking for someone to go out and eat lunch with, who are you drawn towards? Make conscious decisions to be inclusive in your choices
These numbers and facts were call to action for me. I felt compelled to do something about Diversity and Inclusion. While there are many organizations that have started to do great work in this phase of diversity and inclusion, I still feel like a lot of work needs to be done. I am influenced to continue this work not only for me and many like me but also for leaders of tomorrow.
To move these efforts forward, I created a forum for us called “Inside the Diverse Mind” to address this epidemic concern of diversity and inclusion. Inside the Diverse Mind is a talk show featuring successful leaders in 45-minute episodes that will be telecast bi-weekly on YouTube and Facebook. Our focus at Inside the Diverse Mind is to educate and encourage leaders to be conscious and intentional about Diversity and inclusion in their hiring and leadership decisions. Our goal is to educate our future leaders and our next generation to learn the skills to be more inclusive.
Leaders from various organizations have come forward to support and participate in our show already making the right strides towards a better and inclusive diverse world.
Please like our Facebook page @insidethediversemind to stay updated on our upcoming shows.