Archive for the ‘MenOpeningDoors’ Category

Fourth Annual Men Who Open Doors

December 10, 2021

FountainBlue’s December 10 When She Speaks program was our Fourth Annual ‘Men Who Open Doors’ topic.¬†Please join me in thanking our hosts at Nova Measuring Instruments and our esteemed panelists.¬†


We were fortunate to have such passionate and diverse panelists speaking on the sponsorship topic this month. Although our nominated executives represented different backgrounds, roles and industries, they had much in common, and generously shared their best practices for sponsoring women and people with diverse backgrounds.

The business imperatives for sponsorship of people with diverse backgrounds range from innovation to product design, from culture and leadership development to team chemistry and market expansion, from problem solving to conflict management. Our sponsors all consistently think, speak and act like sponsors who lead diverse teams to collaboratively achieve outrageous goals which positively impact all stakeholders.

Below is a compilation of advice on how to better sponsor diverse others.

Lead On

  • Listen to truly understand the needs of the other, and frame offerings based on the needs of that person.
  • Be calmly, eloquently, passionately consistent about your sponsorship agenda and the business case around that agenda, and collaboratively work with others to deliver impact on objectives.
  • Be inspiring about the vision, strategic in your planning, diligent on your execution, collaborative and empowering with your style, and relentless in your pursuit of that diversity agenda.
  • Recognize people, celebrate successes, and build a diverse community aligned not just on noble ideas and causes, but also on delivering customer value. 
  • Encourage disruptive and respectful inquiry.

Step In

  • Step up and step in against every infraction, with every injustice, and make it safe for others to do the same. 
  • Take a chance on others and help them succeed in stretch assignments which fit their passion and skills, and the needs of your organization.

Raise the Bar

  • Hold yourself to a higher standard and monitor your own unconscious biases.
  • Hire for attitude and growth mindset and a willingness to work hard and learn. 
  • Have zero tolerance for bullying, discrimination, and other disempowering behaviors and unequal treatments. 
  • Make a stand for meritocracy and call out inequities and outdated practices which unfairly favor one person or group over another for reasons that don’t make sense and reasons that don’t support the bottom line.

This year’s ‘Men Who Open Doors’ honorees give us hope that we too can practice the types of empathetic, collaborative and emotionally intelligent thoughts, words and behaviors, while achieving business results. 


Men Who Open Doors 2020 Reunion

December 22, 2020

FountainBlue’s 2020 Men-Who-Open-Doors reunion meeting included three panels of male sponsors as well as the nominating women! Below are notes from the conversation.

Whether you were one of the honored men opening doors, or one of the women who nominated them, your efforts in creating and growing a community of sponsoring male leaders are critical to perpetuating this great cause.

We are in agreement that championing more diverse leaders and innovators can do everything from helping us all be more creative and more innovative to helping us ALL be more human and more sensitive; from helping us ALL be more communicative to helping us ALL be better decision-makers and problem solvers.

Indeed, our sponsoring executives agreed that having teams of people with diverse backgrounds make for better shorter term and longer term results, as proven not only qualitatively and quantitatively by volumes of industry data, but also from their direct personal and professional experience.

Each sponsoring executive has a different driver for perpetuating the cause. They have each had role models which showed them the ‘why’ and helped them find the ‘how’, while communicating the benefits in a way which made sense to others.

And each sponsoring executive developed strategies and plans which addressed the immediate and longer-term personal and business challenges. 

They each also remarked on how the most successful sponsored leaders were the ones who were most engaged, the ones with the most initiative, the ones with the most openness, and the ones who were most appreciative – regardless of gender or background.

Below is a compilation of best practices they shared for driving more sponsorship within and throughout an organization.

  • It is a journey, not a destination. Celebrate your progress and keep building on your successes.
  • Create communities, model the way and share your best practices.
  • Speak openly about your successes, your challenges and your strategies. 
  • Companies who are consistently aligned in thoughts, words and actions from the top-down, from the bottom-up will make more progress more quickly. 
  • It’s easy to get tired of initiatives which take a long time to change – like moving the needle in terms of gender equity and diverse workforce representation. But focusing on the positive progress and managing things like Gender fatigue will lead to improved results.
  • Leaky pipes are an issue – help women and men with diverse background stay the course, be confident, and make forward strides, especially when they are discouraged by inequities.
  • When you embrace women into teams at all levels, you may find that they may be more empathetic about the personal needs of the team, while also addressing the technical, business and operational challenges.
  • Regardless of gender, background and other inclinations, help your people be more confident that they can succeed even with reach-goals. It’s good for them, good for their teams and good for the organization.

We closed with an interesting perspective – one that we hope will give everyone a reason to embrace Sponsorship of women and others with diverse backgrounds in 2021:

  • A more diverse team will be more creative, more persistent, and more resourceful in dealing with a future that we can’t predict – our next normal.

See the light. Be the light. Spread the light.


Harvard Business Review, Dec 2020: Why Aren’t We Making More Progress Toward Gender Equity