Tune in for a replay of The Six Five Summit’s ESG Spotlight Keynote with Jacqueline Woods, CMO, Teradata. DE&I is so often mentioned as one cohesive idea, but they are separate concepts, important in their own ways. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion each point to different types of changes for organizations working to authentically embrace DE&I. In this session, Futurum’s Daniel Newman and Jacqueline tackle them one by one.
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Daniel Newman: Jacqueline Woods, welcome to this year’s 2022 Six Five Summit. So happy to have you here.
Jacqueline Woods: Thanks, it’s great to be here. Thanks for having me.
Daniel Newman: Yeah, I am so happy that we were able to add this track talking about social impact, ESG, DEI, such an important topic. I think the pandemic really brought the technology industry and much of the world together to finally put some of these topics back in the spotlight, which is great. Having said that, though, Jacqueline, I also think sometimes all these topics can get a bit conflated. First of all, obviously everything from ESG, social impact, and DEI, they’re all very different things. But even in DE&I we are really talking about three different things. So what I thought we could do to start off is maybe we break down the DE&I components. I’d like to hear a little bit from you about what you’re thinking about in each part of the DE&I components and how you’re thinking about them at Teradata and beyond, by the way. Let’s start with D.
Jacqueline Woods: Sure. So for me, the reason that I think that diversity, equity, and inclusion I think really are three distinct topics, because they address three different types of maybe issues or concerns that people have both in the workplace and in the world. So if you think about diversity, it can mean many things. It could be diversity of thought, diversity of ethnicity, diversity of gender, that is very different than equity and how do we create an equitable environment or an equitable workplace. So if you think about equity unto itself, if you have equity across everyone that’s in your work environment, then in some ways the issue of diversity is probably less of an issue. Because the reason why we have some of the issues is because diverse groups often are paid less, diverse groups are often more underrepresented in the workplace, diverse groups tend to maybe feel less included, which is why people have diversity, equity, and inclusion.
And so then if you take inclusion, it’s, do people feel that they cannot just be their authentic selves, but do you actually include them as part of your overall processes to make your company better, or your organization?
Daniel Newman: Yeah, it’s a good breakdown there. And as I mentioned about the spotlight that had been placed on these things over the last couple of years, and obviously they’ve been worked on for a long time, but I think it could be debated pretty significantly that progress has not been good enough and not been fast enough. I think that was of a lot of what started to come out in these years while we were all able to sit and reflect and not be as mobile. And the technology industry is a great, it’s a subrepresentation of all markets, maybe even a little bit more slanted to certain demographics because of high pay scale, certain types of educations required to get into the industry. So I’d love to get your take. In the tech industry at large, do you think we’re making progress? Has representation been improving within groups that have been marginalized? What is the trend you’re seeing?
Jacqueline Woods: I don’t think we’ve made enough progress, and I think that that’s across the board. So the way that I like to think about it is the following. In most technology companies, and I’ve been in tech for 30 years, and if you look at all of them, they all have the same thing, which means that they have sales, marketing, development, finance, operations, HR. It’s a company, it’s no different than any other space. Having said that, when you look across even all the functions in a technology company where marginalized groups can participate, you often don’t even find those groups being inclusive. So the overall organization itself tends not to really have, I think, great representation of underrepresented ethnic groups, quite frankly.
And so if you think about it being somewhat the 80/20 rule, 80% everything else and maybe 20% development, because you could argue, well, are there enough science majors and engineers and all of this? And that also is debatable, by the way. They are not in the tech industry, but they are there and they are out there. I don’t think we’ve done enough to find them, include them. And oftentimes when they come to technology companies, oftentimes they don’t feel like their careers are moving and they may go do something else at another organization that wants a similar type of skills. I just think that we haven’t done enough to, across the board, look at what we are doing with marginalized groups, and understanding that if you don’t have a pipeline and you’re not moving people up a pipeline, that it will be hard for a marginalized group to ever ascend in an organization and to have critical mass. And I think that there’s enough evidence that demonstrates that.
Daniel Newman: It’s interesting, in the opening keynote for the event we talked to Arvin Krishna, CEO of IBM. And one of the things that he mentioned was exactly what you did, about that education. The historic tech industry wanted those four-year degrees, and in many roles masters plus and PhDs. And he actually mentioned that with the talent shortage we’re currently experiencing, we need to be thinking about how tech can leverage its own efficiencies and productivity to actually create more jobs that don’t require degrees in college education, to create analysts and pipeline roles within organizations that can be taught in the field, that can be learned skills. And so it was sort of interesting, because I see there we need more ways to create that inclusion and to be able to find diversity that’s not always focused on. Go ahead.
Jacqueline Woods: Well, I think that’s a great point, but I also think that in some ways has been an excuse, because I think, didn’t Steve Jobs drop out of school? Didn’t Bill gates drop out of school?
Daniel Newman: Totally.
Jacqueline Woods: Even Zuckerberg doesn’t have a four-year degree. And there are many, I think that’s right, I’m not 100% sure whether he has one. I don’t think Larry has one either. So you have all these people who actually don’t and didn’t have degrees, might have gone to some of these great institutions, hung out for a couple years, and then started to do something else. So clearly the recipe for success doesn’t hinge on whether you have a four-year degree from an Ivy League school.
And so again, that is a way for exclusion. So when you create certain types of boundaries for people, that you’re saying, “You have to get over this hurdle,” when in fact there are many people in this industry, quite frankly, who have made quite a great contribution to society and a great living, there’s a lot of people that want to be them and they don’t have degrees.
Daniel Newman: Yeah.
Jacqueline Woods: And so I think we need to really figure out a way to identify and find talent and make sure that that talent is able to scale up. There are people even in my own company who I know may not have a four-year degree who are very senior in our organization. So the difference is, you need to ensure that that ability to scale up isn’t just for the majority if you don’t have a degree, and not something that limits a minority if they don’t have a degree.
Daniel Newman: Absolutely. And I think, just to make sure, I clarify, you two are brilliant in agreement that there are many opportunities for people without four-year degrees and companies need to find ways to facilitate, train, learn on demand in this current era. That was really what he was saying. And I’ve taken what you were saying, we need to open more doors that there are people that can be trained to do important roles in companies that won’t need to go get a degree. And in fact, to your point, there are many that never get a degree that become extraordinarily successful and become the boss, the boss of many, by the way, that do have degrees.
I want to pivot to equity. You started off talking about the difference, right? That they’re not the same thing. Again, DEI is getting bunched and grouped at times, but you mentioned a little bit about how it’s different. But how do you solve for organizations to take on the equity side of it? Even in cases where they maybe are solving diversity and even being inclusive, that doesn’t always mean they’re being equitable, does it?
Jacqueline Woods: No, it doesn’t mean that they’re being equitable, but I think you have to be willing to do the analysis and be transparent with yourself and your organization. I think Mark Benioff has done a pretty good job with that, quite frankly. He’s put it on the table as a thing that he would like to solve. He has somewhat taken up the mantle of, “I want equitable pay in my organization for men and women, and I want to make sure that that is something that I am looking at and that I am going to be intentional about.” Everyone hasn’t said that, right? That’s a very bold statement. There are so many statistics, particularly as it relates to women, whatever, a white female makes this percent compared to a white male. They have it for Asian females, they have it for black females, they have it for Hispanics.
And the bottom line is it’s less, less, less, less, less. So it doesn’t really matter what the role is if you are consistently making less money. And as you and I talked about even before we started this show, we talked about our kids going to college. And if you assume that because I’m a black female that I make less money, that over time my ability to send my child to school would be a much more difficult proposition for me than it would be for you. And so it has some really long-term repercussions that I think are really the issue, not just, “Hey, someone makes less money.” It’s less ability to do the things that you need to do to level up your family.
Daniel Newman: Yeah, I think, by the way, that brings together some good points. You as leading Teradata though, a company that’s in technology, that thinks about data at scale, talk a little bit about, where’s the role that tech, data play? What’s Teradata’s approach to making this happen?
Jacqueline Woods: I think the role of analytics and insights is really the first and foremost. Because analytics is the thing that helps you understand whether you actually have a problem or not. It is the thing that provides you insights into whether there is bias or not. And it is those insights that help you understand what are the things that you can particularly do to make those changes in your organization. I recently even looked at my organization just in terms of pay equity and said, “I need to make sure compared to the marketplace, where is my organization? How do I make sure that the people …” And I obviously was only able to do that with data and analytics, but I was purposeful about asking the question. I was purposeful about looking across the entire organization.
And I think as a leader you then have to go a layer deeper and say, “Okay, even if you’re at a certain point and you think that you’re being equitable, is that equity across all groups? Is it equity across gender? Is it equity across marginalized groups? Do you have some bias that was already built in?” Particularly when you come into an organization. None of us creates what’s there before us, but we have a responsibility for equalizing it once we’re there.
Daniel Newman: Absolutely. We’ve covered D and E, Jacqueline. I want to talk a little bit about I. You referenced it a little bit when we talked about the complexities of bringing these three elements together. There certainly is an interdependence, but you’re a C-suite exec, how are you ensuring that these groups are included in ways? And by the way, not just for the sake of inclusion, right? Because in a business you have a fiduciary, you have a responsibility to your shareholders to drive success. You have to balance, you have to put inclusion ahead to drive results. How do you do that?
Jacqueline Woods: Well, first and foremost I think you have to build inclusive organizations. And that tone of inclusivity gets set at the top. So whatever function you’re leading, the role of inclusivity starts with the leader of the function and making sure that you’re creating an environment yourself with your leadership team that is an inclusive environment. And then making sure that you are cascading that throughout the organization. People who have worked with me may say, I don’t know, maybe I over-include. And the reason I say that, opting out is always the thing that people can do. When people are invited to something and they figure out, “Well, I don’t know if I really need to be in this meeting going forward,” or, “I don’t know if this is this work doesn’t necessarily apply to me,” they can always opt out.
But what often happens in organizations, as you know, is, there will be a meeting and then someone says, they hear about it and they’re like, “Oh, I didn’t get invited,” or, “I wasn’t included,” and then that starts a little pattern there. And I think that the person with the power, period, has responsibility to be the includer. The person with the power has the responsibility to be the includer. You can’t expect people just to keep knocking on the door asking to come in, because they may do that once or twice, but they’re not going to continue to do it. And they’re likely, if they feel not included, will attrit from your company or your organization for sure. You see it and you hear it in surveys and things like that.
Daniel Newman: Absolutely. The surveys definitely show that companies that are putting forward investment, focus on DE&I are getting better results. I think you’ve already outlined a few of the ways that that’s happened. And we only have a few minutes here, and you as someone who is really leading this for a large, publicly traded organization, in the spotlight, putting out promises, being held accountable to those promises, I’d love to get your advice here. I’d like for you to share. I think that I mentioned that this got suddenly brought to the attention probably more than it should … Sorry, probably should have been much sooner, but it’s in focus now. But for executives that this wasn’t a focus for, for companies that maybe this had been sidelined or had been more just something that was in the purview, how do you really help them? What guidance can you give them to say, “Let’s get started, let’s accelerate this effort and let’s make this happen,” in a way that everybody from the outside and inside can feel that real progress is being made?
Jacqueline Woods: I’ll say a couple things. First of all, when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, it wasn’t because they wanted to break the color barrier. It was because they wanted to win. And the reason that often people go out and survey the landscape, if I want to win, I need to bring the best talent on my team. The best talent is across the board, comes from all places, it comes from all genders. And if you really want to win and you really want to do that, then diversity needs to be part of that, because diversity of thought is what helps you win. And you get diversity of thought from people with different backgrounds. So the way to get started is ask yourself the question, when you look at yourself and your peer set, are you above them or below them?
And if the people above you actually have a more intentional process around diversity, you can assume that they have more innovation, they have more inclusivity, and that they have a culture that will drive them forward in a positive way. And if that’s something that you want, to me that’s the number one reason why this is something you should lean into. And you need to get started by examining and understanding where your organization is today. And then really, if you need external help to do that, do it, but bring in an HR leader who can help you transform your company. That really is where you need to start. It starts with culture, and culture drives behavior. And I think culture, as they say, eats strategy every day of the week. So when you have a great culture, you can create that winning environment. And I do think that those cultures that have more diversity, equity, and inclusion are cultures that win.
Daniel Newman: I love that. The great Peter Drucker, I think it was his quote that said, what is it, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”?
Jacqueline Woods: Exactly.
Daniel Newman: And it sounds like everybody that’s getting started needs a big dose of culture. And by the way, years of research on our end about digital transformation has identified that culture, more than any technology, more than budget, more than anything else, is the deciding factor. And it sounds like adding in DEI and building these as muscles and muscle memory in the culture of your organization is going to continue to prove out. And hopefully companies like Teradata can build out the analytics to keep on showing that, along with analysts and research firms like my own.
Jacqueline Woods: We definitely have analytics that can help you. So plug for you and plug for me.
Daniel Newman: Love it, love it. Jacqueline Woods, CMO, Teradata, thanks so much for joining me this year at the Six Five Summit.
Jacqueline Woods: Thank you. Have a great day.
Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. Read Full Bio