Gender Equality, Are You Asking The Right Questions?

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UPCOMING TOPICS:

  • 8/29/2017 MEN AS GENDER ALLIES IN THE WORKPLACE

  • 9/5/2017 ALLIES TO PEOPLE OF COLOR


Gender Leadership Group Blog:

Gender Equality, are you asking the right questions?

 

In this excerpt from a panel entitled Walking The Talk at Better Man Conference 2016, Bill Ingham, Vice President of Global Human Resources at Visa and Julius Pryor III, former Head of Innovation, Diversity & Inclusion at Genentech explore if the right questions are being asked when it comes to equality. Rayona Sharpnack, Founder of the Institute For Women's Leadership moderates the discussion.

Rayona Sharpnack:

You're just starting a male ally program at Visa, as I understand it, what have you learned through your years in the role you've had about what it takes to build successful allies and how is that different when you're in a company that's majority women versus higher percentage of men?

Bill Ingam:

So, I mean to me allies always have to start at the top, right?  And so when I was with the Clorox company the very first thing I wanted to do was enroll the CEO (and I had the privilege of being the Chief Diversity Officer there and I'll never forget, I sat down with him and his name was Jerry Johnston, he was the CEO at the time, and I sat down with him and I said, “Why do you want to do this diversity thing?  This ally thing?” and he goes, “I don't know!”  He goes, “I look around the table and I see all these white men and I feel like I must be missing something.”

THERE'S INDIVIDUALS IN ORGANIZATIONS WHO CAN BE LIGHTHOUSES.  HOW DO YOU TAP IN TO THEM, LEVERAGE THEM IN AN INCREDIBLE WAY?

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So that's stating the obvious, which I pointed out to him.  But you have to start with obviously, leadership, and I'm not telling you anything that you don't know but how do you enroll and identify?  I refer them as lighthouses, right?  There's individuals in an organization who can clearly be lighthouses. How do you tap into those individuals, leverage them in an incredible way and then move forward?  

 

 

You're right, Visa is very new into its diversity journey.  In fact, Patty Dingle, who runs a big portion of Diversity Inclusion for us is back here and she can speak to a lot of what we're doing but it's remarkable what we've done in the last two years.  But leadership to me is critical as well as lighthouses in the organization.  

Rayona Sharpnack:  

Terrifc!

Julius Pryor III:  

You know, here's the other challenge, and you sort of spoke to this to Andy, you said, “Yeah we're trying to do mentoring and we have these programs in place and we're doing a lot of things in diversity to try to move people along and often times that is titrated down to, “Well, you know what?  We're going to do a special program for women.  We're going to send them through this leadership training program for women or we're going to do a special program for for women of color and send them into some special training to talk about how they build a brand and building confidence.”  

WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS ORGANIZATION'S CULTURE THAT IS ACCELERATING THE ABILITY OF CERTAIN PEOPLE TO MOVE THROUGH IT EASILY AND IS INTERFERING WITH THE ABILITY OF OTHER PEOPLE?

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And so it's almost like we're thinking that we need to do remedial programs to get these people up to speed because they're broken, and we still have a tendency not to ask the difficult questions about, "Well what is it about this organization's culture that is accelerating the ability of certain people to move through it easily and is interfering with the ability of other people?”

 

 

OFTEN WOMEN OR PEOPLE OF COLOR ARE READY TO MOVE IN TO POSITIONS OF RESPONSIBILITY YET BARRIERS ARE PUT IN THEIR WAY

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Oftentimes the women, or the people of color, or whoever you're looking at are ready to move into the positions of responsibility, the organization is putting some barriers in place that are in the water that everybody's swimming in that we just haven't addressed or we aren't, we aren't recognizing.  So at the same time that we're doing the initiatives, the programs, the mentoring, all of the other things to support the individuals, we also need to take a very hard look at our cultures, at our organizational cultures, to figure out, “What is it that's in this water that's making it too hot, or too cold, or too murky, or too muddy for certain people and it's crystal clear for other people?”

WHAT IS IT THAT'S IN THIS WATER THAT'S MAKING IT TOO HOT, COLD, MURKY OR MUDDY FOR CERTAIN PEOPLE AND IT'S CRYSTAL CLEAR FOR OTHERS?

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Rayona Sharpnack:

Yeah, yeah I, you know I'm struck the internet has brought us ubiquitous access to best practices in the area of building men as allies, in other words, you can go to websites, you know, Gender Leadership Group, our website, Bill Proudman...there’s any number of websites you can go and get the actual menu of “Do these things!”  So that part for me is easily accessible.  The part that (Dr.) Michael (Kimmell) talked about, of the torn loyalty that men feel, that to be a true ally to women, to take that stand and be that courageous advocate and so forth, in some ways makes them disloyal to the fraternity and I just wonder how that is for you men who have all made your way through the corporation?  How have you resolved for yourself that you can be loyal to both?  (end of video).  Click here to watch Part 6 of Walking The Talk or to watch the series from the beginning, click here to watch Part 1.

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