The Business Case for Diversity

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November14PanelFountainBlue’s November 14 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of The Business Case for Diversity. Please join us in thanking our speakers for taking the time to share their advice and thoughts and to our gracious hosts at Symantec. Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have a wide range of perspectives and experience represented on the panel. Our panelists had different educational and professional backgrounds and experiences, but they shared a wisdom about the importance of diversity for the individual, team and company perspective. They each shared personal stories of how they were different than others around them, and how that actually worked well in supporting their personal and professional goals. Each panelist had somebody who cheered them on and inspired them to embrace what was different about them, and nurture that diversity and strength.

Collectively, they shared the benefits of having diversity within a team: 1) the ability to reach out to a broader range of partners, customers, and other stakeholders, 2) the ability to better keep pace with an increasingly social, increasingly global world, 3) the ability to recruit and retain more diversity within the organization, 4) the ability to add to the bottom line and decrease ROI, and 5) the ability to incorporate different approaches and perspectives in solving problems.

Each are experienced and exceptional managers who provided advice on how to integrate people-who-think-differently into a team, how to communicate in a style that works for the other party, how our unconscious biases are limiting our own performance, how to move executives forward in their own journey around diversity, how to communicate the importance of diversity to people and teams, how to focus on meritocracy and cut through the subtle biases, and most importantly, how to see the value from people who think and act differently than the typical white male we might find in a technology company.

In the end, our panelists encouraged women to support other women and others who embrace diversity. But they warn that it’s not about gender or ethnicity just to be different – it’s about leadership and performance of the individuals themselves, and putting a diverse range of people in the roles where they can best perform and deliver results.


Please join us in thanking our panelists for FountainBlue’s November 14 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of The Business Case for Diversity, as well as our hosts at Symantec:

Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue

Panelist Hillary Barnhart, Senior Director, Business Operations, AGS Equipment, Applied Materials

Panelist Preethy Padmanabhan, Sr. Manager, Solutions Management, Marketing, Dell Wyse

Panelist Sheri Rhodes, VP of IT Global Applications, Symantec

Panelist Olivia Shen Green, Manager, Business Operations. Engineering Talent & Culture | Stanford Management Science & Engineering, Cisco

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