International Women’s Day was on Sunday 8th March and at Tech Trailblazers we held a podcast that not only covered the role of women within the Tech industry but also looked at the wider issues of diversity and inclusivity.
The panel included Joe Baguley (CTO EMEA VMware), Neha Sampat (CEO and founder of Contentstack), and Dr Jacqui Taylor (CEO and founder of Flying Binary).
Some of the hot topics include: how you don’t need a technology-related degree to work in Tech, how we’re working towards making an inclusive workplace for Gen Z and Gen Alpha, and how actively looking for firms with women on the board makes good financial sense for investors.
Listen to the full podcast at:
RR: Hello everybody, welcome to the panel discussion which we’re doing as a podcast for the Tech Trailblazers this evening. I’m delighted to welcome Neha Sampatwho is the founder and CEO of Contentstack, and also our joint Female Tech Trailblazer of the Year. Hi Neha.
NS: Hi Rose, thanks for having me.
RR: You’re very welcome. And Dr Jacqui Taylor who is the CEO and founder of Flying Binary, which is a Tech Trailblazers alumni, and Jacqui is now one of our judges. So, hi Jacqui.
JT: Hi Rose, great to be here.
RR: And last but by no means least, Joe Baguley who is the CTO EMEA VMware, and also one of the Tech Trailblazers judges. Hi Joe.
RR: The topic that we’re going to be looking at this evening on the discussion is around diversity in the tech industry, and that includes obviously the wider conversation, so diversity and inclusion in the tech industry. Over the last many years there are lots of headlines around the need for more women in technology, more diverse representation, and of course inclusion in the tech industry. I think we have come a long way. We’re now seeing 20 of the top 100 influences in the Silicon Valley, and the bigger tech space that 20 are representing, which is leaps and bounds beyond where we were five and ten years ago, and in the wider industry I was just saying that Unilever has also announced that it has reached gender equality.
The question is, the wider community is looking at these things, so we’ll bring a variety of viewpoints here, everybody’s own experiences and position on this. So, Neha as the winner of Female Tech Trailblazer of the Year, congratulations again.
NS: Thank you.
RR: Can you just give us a little overview of who you are, and your background?
NS: Sure, absolutely. I am an entrepreneur first, and also an investor in small businesses. And for someone who has been running tech companies for most of my career, I come from an interesting background which is probably why I find diversity such an important topic. I’m obviously female, but also a non-technical CEO. I don’t have an engineering background, but I’ve spent all of my career in tech, and most recently 20 years in Silicon Valley. So, I typically come from an interesting vantage point in beating the odds, which is why diversity in tech and more importantly quality and leveling the playing field, is so important to me.
My current role is CEO at Contentstack, which is a modern technology stack for managing digital content. We essentially work with a lot of large brands, to help them do all the things that they wished they could do in a more modern way, on the technology side.
RR: Brilliant, thank you, and welcome. Dr Jacqui Taylor, could you give us a little background on yourself.
JT: Yes, delighted again to be here, and congratulations Neha on the award, that’s fantastic.
Flying Binary a Tech Trailblazer alumni, we came second which I was thrilled with because it’s like we are on our journey, and I’m now one of the top 10 global Internet of Things innovators, and two of those people on that list are female. So, I think that where we’ve been in the digital world and have been struggling with all of this, not true in my world, I’m sure we’ll talk about that Rose; but I am an engineer, I’m an Aerospace engineer, and my co-founder is an electrical engineer. The predominance in our company is an engineering background, but because Flying Binary provides part of the counter terrorism tech stack for Europe, so we’re in that space, essentially for us our agenda is an inclusion one.
After teaming up with Tim Berners-Lee in 2009 we’ve actually built our tech stack for Generation Z, who are between the ages of 27 and 17 today, and we pivoted in January 2019 to serve Gen Alpha who are 16 to 6 today.
RR: Thank you Jacqui. Joe, welcome, and could you give us a little background on yourself.
JB: I work for VMware, a large multinational, or global software company, I think most people have heard of us, about 30,000 employees globally. We’re Silicon Valley started, Silicon Valley Headquarters still Stamford born and bred for a large number of us. I’ve not got an engineering degree, but then what does that matter? I’m a techie, I’m an engineer, when it comes to diversity I suppose I’m the typical white middle-aged privileged male, I think is the best way to put that. But the interesting thing for me, and we’ll talk about that a bit later on is the journey that I’ve been on at VMware, the journey that all of us have been on at VMware, in understanding diversity, and inclusion specifically, generally the power of that and how to unleash that, and I’m happy to talk a lot more about that on this podcast.
RR: Brilliant, fantastic. Thank you Joe, and welcome.
So, what does diversity and inclusion mean to you? Jacqui, let’s start with you first of all, and what are you seeing in the industry at the moment?
JT: So for me, as I say, we’ve been focussed on Gen Z and building our tech to unleash their talents, and often their approach to the world, and certainly to the online world is radically different. They’re our first generation of web entrepreneurs, that essentially care nothing for our services, our institutions, and our way of doing things, because they view most of them as broken, and they take quite a disruptive impact or view of our world. My role has been to understand how we can use technology to enable that talent, as oppose to fight against it.
Many of the 20,000 CxOs who I represent, I’m an industry analyst, pretty much find that Gen Z won’t work for them, or certainly they did when we started working together in 2016. We’ve been understanding that conundrum as to not everybody is going to be an entrepreneur, and some people can unleash their talents and work best in a corporate environment, providing that corporate environment isn’t hostile to them.
So for me it’s actually about the wider talent pool than just tech, it’s everything that needs to surround it as an ecosystem. I personally am visually disabled, I don’t normally talk about that, but I literally look at all the learning differences in the spectrum of 50 that we support, to say wherever you start, i.e. whatever learning difference you have, there is a place for tech to enable that to bring your talent to the world. So, for me, inclusion is about that broader spectrum, and gender whilst it figures, it’s not a key piece for me because I think that their gender presentations are sort of mobile, always changing, but it’s about how you learn, and how tech enables the world to benefit, or society to benefit from what you can do.
RR: Thank you Jacqui. How about you Neha, how are you seeing things? You’re on the other side of the pond from the other three of us. What’s the landscape in the tech industry where you are at the moment, and what are you seeing, and what it means to you personally? You’ve talked about what it means to you personally already a little bit, what’s the landscape like?
NS: I really like how Jacqui put it, just understanding where talent might live, and how you learn and how tech might enable you. That’s something that we care about a lot at Contentstack and what I personally care about. The way I’ve built my companies and my team is really to look for tech in places that you might not expect it.
A good example of that is our R&D office, which is our engineering team based out of India, is in a location that’s pretty remote compared to where most people have set up Indian operations. We’ve done this in a community that’s in the outskirts of Mumbai in a town called Vidarbha (?), and what’s beautiful about it is that there’s really not a lot of other employers there in the tech space. What we find is that there’s a lot of talent, there’s of course a lot of people, it is India and it is Mumbai. But the community colleges are cultivating teams of people that are coming out of colleges, young age, willing to work hard, but maybe not having access to the opportunities that they can prevail in.
So we look for talent in places like that and help to cultivate that talent, and we end up finding some of the most brilliant engineers in the world as a result of that. I have a strong belief that talent takes us everywhere, and finding opportunities and leveling the playing field for that talent to come to fruition, and to really have a place that they can do the best work of their career, and feel significant in how they contribute and make an impact, that’s really what makes me really excited.
What we’re seeing in the US is that there’s a sort of diversity of location that’s started to happen, where everything used to be central around Silicon Valley, and there still is of course a lot of activity in Silicon Valley and the Bay area, but we’re starting to see a remotely distributed workforce is enabling that diversity of thought. I’m actually sitting in Austin Texas today, where I’m setting up my team in our second hub in the US, and I find that I have people on the team in Austin that are musicians on the side, or actors, or singers, and that in and of itself brings a different way of thinking to the company, and to the way that we make decisions, because you’re kind of unleashing this inner creativity, diversity of experience, and backgrounds, that makes people think differently, respect each other differently, and care about customers differently.
So, I feel like things are changing radically, valuing diversity, and valuing diversity experience and location, is actually helping us to be a better company.
RR: Great, and it’s actually one of my questions later on, so I may return to that.
Joe, from your perspective, what are you seeing within a large corporation, but obviously you do touch upon the startup world, because that’s part of your remit as a CTO. What do you see?
JB: I’d like to touch on diversity and inclusion as the definitions to start with, and it’s been really important to us on our journey as a company, and as leaders.
The best definition I ever heard of diversity was one of our other leaders, who described it as, ‘Diversity is inviting everyone to the party. But inclusion is making everyone feel like they can get on the dance floor’. I think that was the pivotal moment for a lot of us a few years ago, because we’re all kind of like, ‘Yeah, we’ve been hiring lots of diverse people. We’ve been looking at diversity targets… etc. etc.’, but to Jacqui’s point and others, are they staying? Once they get here do they feel like they can actually contribute? Do they feel like they’re valued, do they feel like they can be themselves, and give what they were hired for?
So, for us the focus has been very much about developing and expanding a culture that we already had of inclusion; there’s almost a motto at VMware called, ‘Dare to be’, which is all about daring to be yourself. People are encouraged to be themselves, to do what they want to do, be what they want to do, and bring their whole self to work. So for me, diversity and inclusion is defined by people feeling they are included.
Diversity covers everything, I think we’ve covered that very well. A lot of people tend to focus on gender or race, but actually for me diversity talks about people who maybe come from different backgrounds; people who don’t have a degree, why do we have to have graduate programmers, why can’t we just have intelligent young programmers who maybe have different skills? Who are we excluding by having a 9 to 5 job, are there a whole second phase of returning-to-work mothers that we’re missing out on?
All these categories, for example I’m deaf, I’m wearing a hearing aid right now in my left ear. All these different categories, how do we enable everyone to be themselves? So actually at VMware we started a whole bunch of different things, but the biggest thing we’ve had is these things called ‘power of difference’ communities, or PODs. There’s PODs all around the world where there’s black at VMware, there’s Latinos, there’s Pride, there’s women at VMware, there’s veterans at VMware, and so-on and so-forth, where people of different backgrounds can get together for communal support, but also to raise awareness in others that these kind of people exist. You can join a POD if you don’t fit into that pod, if that makes sense, to learn more. So our members have got quite a few different PODs that obviously I’m not in the category for, but it’s a good way to learn and understand. That was really important.
You ally that with unconscious bias which is one that a lot of people talk about, and unconscious bias isn’t just about gender, it’s about everything, 60 percent of our managers globally have been through unconscious bias courses, and we have a whole bunch of what we call change agents, there’s over 500 of those I think, globally. So, it’s about driving a culture of inclusion, driving a culture of change.
I mentioned at the beginning I’m a privileged white middle-aged male, fairly well-off, good background, etc. but the best and the most important thing I’ve found going through all of this, was another comment in one of the sessions. If you look at a lot of the training that goes on in terms of diversity or unconscious bias, it tends to be shaming in some way, ‘Let’s get a bunch of men in a room and shame them about how they don’t understand women’, or, ‘Let’s get a bunch of white people in the room and shame them about how they treat black people’. That doesn’t tend to work, and I think what we’re finding now is people saying, privilege is fine, we should actually understand and not celebrate privilege, but privilege is okay as long as you use it for the betterment of others. So, yes I have privileges, but as long as I recognise that I have that privilege over others, and make sure that others can benefit from that, then that’s fine.
So, the whole space is massively important to me, it’s massively important to us at VMware, and I’m quite proud that my colleague Duncan Greenwood last night at everywoman UK Awards, he won the Male Agent of Change Award. He actually runs diversity and inclusion at VMware NEMEA, and is a member of the Inclusion Council. So, it’s big for us, and it’s not just about PR and all those kind of things, or corporate social responsibility. We have had so many benefits because of it. I’ve made a lot of interesting friends, and I’ll give you the perfect example; I was out in Dubai recently at a conference and there were a bunch of graduates there manning the stand, and there was all the boring old people. The boring old people wanted to go for dinner, and I said, ‘No, I’m going to go for dinner with the graduates’.
We had the most amazing time at The Cheesecake Factory, and I learnt a lot that I wouldn’t have learnt if I’d have gone to dinner with all the boring old men, that I would have gone to dinner with. So, that kind of activity is what’s really changed us, and changed VMware I think.
RR: Great, and congratulations to Duncan. This is interesting, it’s one of the things that triggered me when I was at RSA last week. I went to a great conversation, great inspirational talk done by a lady called Bobby who’s been at the Department of Home & Defence, and involved with a very high-level cyber security style from the beginning, and a number of other ladies who were also very inspirational, come from a diverse number of backgrounds, looking at how they’d been involved with the cyber security space. But in the audience, it was 90 percent, if not more, ladies. So are we singing to the choir a little bit too much in a way you touched upon? Is there a danger we can almost swing too far, that we are inadvertently in some way making people feel bad about stuff? And how can we avoid doing that?
How about you, Neha? What do you think? Do you think we’ve got to be a little bit careful about this?
NS: No, I absolutely do not feel that way. I feel like there’s plenty of room for everyone to be represented. When there’s women at a conference they are probably more likely to play in other minorities than the typical men’s conference would do. I think women open up the conversation to everyone.
I was at a conference just yesterday in Austin. It was the JPMorgan Chase Healthcare Conference, there were men in attendance and were raising their hands saying, ‘What can we do better, how can we help?’ There’s a lot of great examples of what companies are doing to help the men feel inclusive, as a part of this better and greater function of reaching equality inside their workplaces, and their communities, and the ecosystems that they operate in. So, I actually think no, we’re not creating that silo or adding any danger. I think we need to continue the conversation and we need to be loud, and we need to scream from the rooftops. It’s not just about women but it’s about equity across the board.
RR: How about you Jacqui? You must get invited to a lot of women in IT conferences, you’re recognised in a number of lists, as influential women in tech, both in the UK and globally.
JT: I think for me, I’ve spent the last 18 months working at a global level, initially from a cyber point of view to look at global corruption, which I spoke on that at Davos in 2019, and the UK has an initiative to defeat global corruption as part of its post-Brexit plan. I’m recently back from the Middle East having put a plan on the table for inclusion across the G20, which is 60 percent of the world’s GDP. If you can make a case for why inclusion matters, and the case I made essentially is a 4.4 percent growth in those digital economies over the next 10 years, everybody will listen, because this stuff has real value. It was curious for me to be able to make that case in Saudi Arabia which given its background, its current culture etc., one of the things I found very interesting is that 20 percent of all the new jobs in Saudi Arabia are taken by women, as women are starting to recognise where they think their role lies within a culture that’s very different to ours in the UK.
So for me we’ve barely begun this piece, because we talk a lot about this in our Western economies, our evolved economies, but actually the rest of the world and places where I work like Russia, Iran, China, and places like that, it’s not a conversation that you hear very much. So, I was thrilled to be able to make that case for the G20 to be able to set the forward motion, to be an inclusion agenda. I like Joe’s phrase around that, but the one I left the G20 with was, ‘Leave no-one behind’, which means you have to know where everybody is. You have to be able to look at the opportunities that you’re doing, know where it sits, and know who you have excluded, and have specific interventions.
Now obviously you can’t do one thing for the G20. I had to do specific interventions for each of the economies, but there was the golden thread of inclusion that was the foundation block for all of the economies. So, I think having just done that assessment across those nations, we are a long way behind, much further behind than we know. I think we have these conversations at organisational level. I think we have these conversations at sector level. The tech industry has always been good about that, since we were that rabble in Shoreditch in 2009 where women were poorly represented to today. But what we’re not doing is necessarily having a nation conversation that actually recognises the globalisation movement that tech is underpinning. So, we’re not understanding the dynamics of that.
For me, that was the start of a new conversation, and I will be taking up my new position in the EU on 16th March, which puts that conversation on the table of inclusion, ‘Leave no-one behind’, there. The EU is taking that new plan very seriously, and plans to invest from the research and innovation point of view directly to achieve better outcomes for all of its citizens. But I think these conversations are just beginning, so for me it almost was a reboot for my ‘women in tech’ role, and thinking about how we, in a globalised world, have these conversations that are amplified. I think this podcast is one part of that, three diverse people, yourself as curating it, Rose. We need to have more joined-up conversations because our world, at a societal level, is becoming more joined up, tech being the enabler.
RR: Absolutely. So Neha, obviously as an investor as well, we’ve talked about within your company how important the D&I conversation is, and that’s part of your DNA at Contentstack, and it’s something that you’re clearly very passionate about. Do you see that it plays a role for the strategic growth of your organisation as well?
NS: Oh yes, absolutely. There’s so many stats out there that demonstrate that having a diverse team, whether it’s leadership or just across the board, has a positive impact on the bottom line of the company. As a CEO I think about that, and am really focused on building a team with that diversity and different backgrounds. But even more importantly, as an investor it’s also important to think about who is the team that you’re investing in, and what do you expect to get from them. That diversity is something I look for when I invest in companies.
Just to give you an example, we know that for large companies with at least one woman on the board, those organisations out perform their peers, and that’s usually by almost 30 percent, and that’s not arguable, we know that’s true. So in our investments in the Accelerator Programme I’m launching in India, I will require that there’s a female on the founding team to even be considered. Those are the types of initiatives that start to move the needle towards a more level playing field. It’s not so harsh that you are excluding everyone, but it makes it a little more inclusive and encourages everyone to start thinking about diversity as a tool to be more successful.
RR: So, have that equilibrium as being one of the key factors of getting that healthy organisation which is fit to grow.
RR: Joe, a question for you. It’s always been my view that interesting that this conversation very much goes hand-in-hand with, or often in the same… not breath, but does there seem to be a parallel path between our attempts, and I’m talking about as countries, as organisations, as an industry, to plug our skills gap, that if we can get enough people to be excited about being in our industry, and then including them in the conversations, so that you get this spread of positivity that hopefully engages people. Is that a key part of the solution do you think?
JB: Well looking across the whole workforce at a large software company, I think there tends to be stereotypes, without being too rude, women work in HR and marketing, men work in technology and engineering, it tends to be how it ends up. I think breaking down those barriers is very important. We talked about diversity for us, I want diversity in every team that we’ve got, but more importantly we want to drive innovation, as a software company, as any tech company, you live on your innovation and you die on your innovation. Innovation doesn’t happen particularly well in homogenous groups; it happens in very diverse groups.
For us at VMware, innovation isn’t just about innovating in technology, it’s about innovating in people processes, how we go to market, pretty much every angle of our business, innovating in HR. We’re innovating in our recruitment in some really cool ways. So, it’s looking across that, but those ideas will only come from a diverse set of opinions, or a diverse set of backgrounds. The challenge you’ve got, and I’ve got two teenage girls, one 19, and one 16, looking at their future careers. I took them into the office, and I now go back and do speeches at their school and other schools, to open their eyes to what a tech company actually is. Because if you go and ask a 16- or 17-year-old person who’s looking at what they’re going to study at A-level, college, or whatever it is, and ask about tech companies, they’ll immediately go, ‘Oh, it’s all about coding, it’s all about development. I don’t like coding, I’m not into coding’.
Then I take them into our office in Staines where there’s several hundred people, not one of them a developer! They’re like, ‘And what, all these people work for you?’ ‘Yeah, and all these people earn incredibly good salaries, and have a fantastic quality of life. But none of them develop code. Over there, that’s the legal department, they’re working on contracts. These people here are professional services, they’re delivering stuff. These people over here, that’s HR. This is marketing… so-on and so-forth. There’s education’. So you name it, there’s such a broad offering of ways that you can engage in a tech career, without having to be a developer, or write applications, or work on the web, whatever it is.
I think that when we start to expose the variety of what we call normal office jobs that aren’t particularly well drilled into children. You go to any careers officer and they tend to have a very blinkered view of, ‘Okay, what’s my choice?’, ‘Well do you want to be a fireman, doctor, nurse, vet? You can be an accountant, or you can work in IT which means you need to code. You’re not very code-y, it’s best not to do that one’. Etc. etc. That to me will help fill a schools gap hugely, why do we have to have STEM degrees to come and work in IT? You don’t! You don’t need a STEM degree to work for a tech company.
I did a study of the people that work for our presales in EMEA, from the top of my head over half of them did not have a technical degree at all. They have degrees and some of them are fantastic things. Of the degrees 25 people have technology degrees, four people had non-technology degrees, things like PPE and international studies, and automobile product design. 18 of our highest technical presales people had no degree, of which eight of those had no A-levels. So, you want to build the skills gap? Open the diversity of recruitment, and make people aware that they can get a job in this, if they didn’t even think they could.
NS: I love that Joe; I think you’re dragging an important point home. That whole idea of talent existing in places where we might not be looking for it, and now we’ve got this technology. Technology makes everything so much more accessible, that you can actually find that talent, give them access to what they need, and help them to cultivate a career around something that they might just be good at, and maybe didn’t even know existed.
RR: Jacqui, any final thoughts on the skills gap side of things?
JB: Yes. So, I’ve spoken with Gen Alpha which is who we’re building for now, 16 to 6. They’re pretty much not interested in any of that particular conversation! Interestingly what the 27,000 CxOs came up with is, how do they stay? And Joe made the point earlier. Even if they come and work for us, for Gen Alpha, not that they’re at that space yet, how do we put things in the place that they can stay? One of the intersections for that cohort, about 6,000 of those people off line last year took a deep dive on this one, is an intrapreneur mindset. What they tend to have is an entrepreneurial focus which can be developed in an intrapreneurial way. So that innovation space actually allowing them to self-collaborate, as a Googler the 20 percent days that we used to do, and allow people to self-federate and work on things.
So, I’ve got an initiative I’m building at the moment which is where we bring in 3,000 offline spaces to bear, allowing them to create, to develop, and to do some teaching of the cybersafe initiative that I run for entrepreneurs, and allow them a grounding in that, and then fit them into local communities where they can bring some of that talent to bear, but with some entrepreneurial thinking. The CxOs love that, they love that idea, but more than anything Gen Z are more than capable of saying, ‘You might love that, but you’re not going to love this, but I want the chance to do that’.
We’ve got to unfold that initiative at the moment, but what we’ve done for Gen Z doesn’t actually translate to Gen Alpha. So essentially the talent and skills in those two cohorts are quite different, and the Gen Alpha one, is that’s the reason we chose to focus it because we don’t actually understand how best to enable their talents. Lots of the jobs that they will fulfill don’t exist in the world. So whilst I was out in Saudi Arabia for example, one of the things I was asked to look at was the first artificial intelligence citizen of Saudi Arabia. How could that look when I was doing the plan for the kingdom itself. How does that integrate with this thinking. So for Gen Alpha that’s their world, we will be looking at jobs that currently don’t exist, or they will create.
So, I think one of the routes that we’re taking with Gen Z will transfer, but I haven’t got that programme live yet, which is the apprenticeship model we’ve got all the way up to Level 7, which is PhD for Gen Z, and they just navigate that their own way, you can’t tell them anyway. It’s just by an interest and a passion, and a willingness to get involved and engaged in something. So, something similar to that which can lead to a degree, and doesn’t necessarily fit within our university system in the UK, but I’ve got several universities that are running these other parallel tracks and they’re funded by business. So, at the moment I’m looking at how they evolve that model from Gen Z to a Gen Alpha model, where their likelihood is that jobs they will do will be very different.
So, I think that because I’ve got that focus for diversity and inclusion on those two cohorts, it’s a lot of experimentation, but their view of it is, ‘Just give me room to explore’, it’s a discovery process mostly. But obviously the point of self-organising them offline is to get them to meet with one another virtually all together, and also look at whether there are particular core pieces that we can enable. So, do we need an intervention from the government point of view for example, for certain parts of that sector. So, some of the Level 5 to Level 7 parts of the Gen Z initiative we’ve needed intervention. But it’s actually bringing us a cohort of new nurses for example, in our NHS. So fascinating stuff led by them.
JB: Talking about entrepreneurs, and they’re all entrepreneurs, they’re not all entrepreneurs.
JB: Not everyone is an entrepreneur, so I think this constant searching for entrepreneurs I think is probably…
JT: Intrapreneur, intrapreneur.
JB: Intrapreneur is slightly different.
JT: No, that’s what I was talking about, I was talking about the intrapreneurs. But this particular skills gap that I’ve been looking at is the intrapreneur element of Gen Z and Gen Alpha, and how that then enables them to take any route forward, because of the way they navigate the world.
JB: Intrapreneur is an entrepreneur but within an organisation, and that’s my point, not everyone is like that, not everyone is that kind of person. So, if we go searching just for those, by myself I’m excluding a large section of society by just trying to talk to intra/entrepreneurs.
I had a long military career and I always used to wonder, looking at why is that guy a Private, yet he’s 20 years in the service, and it’s well some people just don’t want to be that. They’re happy doing what they’re doing. You have to have a place for them, and you have to have a support network for them, you have to enable them. So, I think this constantly focusing on entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs as being the future, and not everyone born after 2010 is going to be an entrepreneur or intrapreneur.
JB: I agree with you, but the reason the CxOs have found that they don’t stay, is it’s the intrapreneur/entrepreneurs that are not staying. So there are career routes through for everybody who’s not that, but they do want some of those folks within their organisations. In order to do that we have had to organise that, because the normal culture that says, ‘I’m not going to be an entrepreneur’, ‘I’m not going to be an intrapreneur’, that is fairly well served but not across the world, but within companies that care. But if you happen to be somebody like that, you pretty much you bounce in and you bounce out, and some of the innovation leaves with them, and often they’ve been setting up as competitors. So, the 27,000 CxOs that I’m working with are saying, ‘I don’t want that, I want that talent and innovation within my company. So, what is it about my company that means they won’t stay?’ And that has bounced off into Generation Alpha who work in a completely different way, and so I’m utilising some of that research to say what would we do for them.
JB: The oldest person in Generation Alpha is 10, so we’ll have fun working that one out.
JT: My youngest one is 5 that I’m working with, and my first millionaire was 11 when he made his first 16 million.
RR: I think one of the things it does is, it shows how passionate everybody is. Everybody is looking at these things both from a macro level, a micro level, or a personal level, and I think there’s some key things that come out of all this.
Diversity and inclusion is a journey, we’re certainly not at the final destination, I don’t even know if we’ve got to the first station. I guess we’ll be able to look back in 20 years and let everybody know about that, but we’re certainly making good progress, there’s certainly stuff that can be done. I think one of the things that obviously is driven is what Neha’s saying, is about having representation at a senior level. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a full equal balance. It depends very much on the mixture that you need of the right people for the right job, but having women involved. Diversity is having a positive impact on the bottom line, and that’s obviously going to drive the commercial side of things. That is an element of the tech industry, and I don’t think any of us would argue with that. But I think that one of the key fundamental things is around innovation, and you have all touched on that, about how important diverse teams are for being innovative.
I’d really like to thank you all. I think we could have probably gone on for a little while longer, and I’m sure you will all be back to either discuss this, or things that you’re also passionate about. Passion is also one of the other things that is the common goal, I think, that you want to see in your organisation, whether you’ve got 30,000 people like VMware, or you have somewhat less. Maybe we’ll speak to you Neha and you will also have 30,000, but that may be a couple of years.
NS: I’m working on it!
RR: Exactly, watch that space. You will be joining us again where we’ll be taking a bit of a deep dive into you specifically, and how you came to be one of our winners in the Female Tech Trailblazer this year.
So, thank you Neha, thank you Jacqui, and thank you Joe. It has been a fantastic conversation and really appreciate you all taking the time to share your views, share your experiences, and share your passion for this particular area that is so important to all of us.
JB: It’s been great fun, thank you very much.
JS: Thanks Rose. Thanks for the debate Joe, I can always rely on it! Congratulations again Neha.
NS: Thank you so much.
JB: Well done.
RR: Fantastic! Well, that’s a wrap for the ‘diversity and inclusion in the tech industry’ podcast panel, so thanks to our panelists, and we’ll hopefully see you all again soon. Thank you.