The Changing Face of Tech: Why Everyone Needs a Diverse Engineering Team
In a world where every company is becoming a data company, building a diverse workforce is more important than ever. It’s a core tenant of building a successful business. But gender equality is only part of the diversity equation.
While we at Delphix have more to do to achieve D&I nirvana, reaching gender equality has been an incredibly important aspect of it. To continue our progress toward gender parity, we recently partnered with She Geeks Out (SGO), a Boston-based company focused on building communities of passionate women through a variety of networking events and education.
She Geeks Out is a community of nearly 10,000 women in Boston, New York, and San Francisco, and their mission is to provide a safe space for tech and tech-adjacent women and nonbinary people to connect and learn in a safe and welcoming space.
While Delphix has a number of Employee Resource Groups (ERG) to support and grow our best talents around the globe, we see the partnership with SGO as an opportunity to build a stronger community within the wider female tech community in the Bay Area.
We sat down with Manju Abraham, Senior Director of Engineering Operations, and Executive Sponsor of the Delphix Women's ERG on what diversity means to Delphix and how to lay the foundations for a successful global data company.
What do we mean when we say “diversity” at Delphix?
Diversity at Delphix means respect for and appreciation of differences between each other — both visible and invisible, including ethnicity, gender, age, nationality, disability, race, sexual orientation, education, socioeconomic background, and religion. We are strongest when we bring together diverse perspectives, work experiences, lifestyles, and cultures, where each voice is heard and respected. With this belief and our core values in mind, we’re committed to hiring and supporting diverse teams by building an inclusive environment that leverages diversity for the benefit of the company and our individual employees.
What are the ways you help the entire company—including our leadership team—on board with diversity and inclusion initiatives?
I’m a passionate advocate for diversity and for inclusive behavior at Delphix, and as a member of our D&I executive council (which is made up of our CEO Chris Cook and CTO Eric Schrock), I’m able to shape the roadmap, goals, and initiatives that we take on as a company.
As the executive sponsor of the Women’s ERG, I work alongside our female leaders to help build a sense of community and belonging among women and our allies; to create opportunities to share and learn together; most importantly, to inspire and empower our women to have more control over their lives.
I bring my voice, ideas, and opinions to the leadership team whenever possible to build awareness and ensure better representation. I also find it extremely important to take time to read about studies and best practices on D&I and attend events to learn from others who are working on or leading similar initiatives. This is one of many ways I build knowledge around a variety of topics and overcome my own challenges around unconscious biases.
It’s important we engage and enable dialogue on these topics to help people keep an open mind and highlight how different people perceive the world around us. If we’re able to reach across our differences and boundaries, we can help every individual feel that sense of belonging, deliver their best work, and be their most capable selves.
What would you say is the most difficult part of implementing a D&I program?
The most difficult part is execution — to go beyond just talk. Action is a critical part to success, and with that, we need to get people in positions of authority to listen and act with us. We should all strive to learn and grow continuously; otherwise, things will never change.
Why are diversity and inclusion important to business?
Research and real-world examples have shown that diversity adds tremendous value to organizations, impacting everything from performance to innovation. When we work with people who come with an array of experiences from different backgrounds, they make us see the world in new and interesting ways. Creating an inclusive and diverse work environment is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also vital for businesses to survive in this era of rapid technological and societal change.
What do you think the future of diversity and inclusion in the workplace will look like?
I have high hopes and expectations for the future of D&I as it becomes top of mind for most, if not all, successful organizations. The pace at which technological capabilities are accelerating indicates that the workplace of the future will need to prepare to handle bigger challenges. Diversity of thought and people will be more vital than ever to ensure we’re exploring challenges and solutions from every angle.
This opens up new talent pools for organizations that are agile and open enough to take that risk. However, unless the organization is ready with a culture and environment that makes everyone feel included and valued at work while fostering a sense of belonging, they will not be able to tap into the power of diversity, retain such talent, and position themselves to succeed in the future.
As Thomas Freedman famously wrote in his book, “The World is Flat”:
Globalization 3.0 is not only going to be driven more by individuals but also by a much more diverse — non-Western, non-white — group of individuals. In Globalization 3.0, you are going to see every color of the human rainbow take part.
The shifting demographics make it a requirement that leadership is committed to building an inclusive workplace and investing the time and resources to ensure policies, practices, and processes that welcome all groups. This intentional leadership approach sets the tone from the top, and employees who are aware and educated of their unconscious biases will extend their inclusive behavior to celebrate differences and become the successful leaders of the future.
Register for our event with She Geeks Out on September 4 for a night of networking, eating ,and drinking! This panel will focus on what growing your career in Engineering really looks like, whether you’re interested in being an individual contributor, moving to management/VP/C-Suite, or moving to something tangential (Product, QA, UX).