On March 27 2013 I had the opportunity to participate at Cisco’s Women in Technology Forum with the theme, “Think Big, Play Big!”
The event was particularly poignant as it was held under the publicity from Sheryl Sandberg’s provocative book and movement “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead”
Our CEO John Chambers kicked the Forum off with a welcome video. There were 41 Cisco execs at this venue and what can I say, an excellent start! Moving forward, I am excited that Cisco will be active globally in the celebration of Girls in ICT Day on April 25 2013. Further, I will have an opportunity to represent Cisco at the afternoon session, European Parliamentary hearing on Women in ICT.
The topic that I will address is most relevant today , “Women in ICT Careers, How to Explore Female Talent?”
At Cisco, we have a culture where everyone is respected and can bring out their best as they pursue Cisco’s vision and objectives. We champion empowerment, innovation and collaboration and invite different perspectives and ideas. Through this culture of inclusion & diversity, we create a great place to work for employees and drive an intense focus on our global customers. From this we gain a better understanding of the world—and the differences in its people. Together we can change the way we work, live, play, and learn .
We can do BETTER by making the issue of women in technology integral to our business strategy
This issue is not just for women but in fact is core to our society fabric, for both men and women and touched Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Technology education K-12.
The data that supports a business imperative are compelling such as :
- Over a period of 6 years, the companies that had a gender diverse board outperformed the male-only ones by 26%. [Source: Credit Suisse Research Institute, Gender Diversity and Corporate Performance, 2012]
- Women with sponsors are 19% more likely to be satisfied with rate of advancement than those without. [Source: Center for Talent Innovation, The Sponsorship Effect, 2012]
- Diverse work teams produced results 6x higher than homogenous teams. [Source: Edward Hubbard, The Business Case for Diversity]
- Companies that drive innovation by leveraging employee ideas and knowledge meet product revenue targets 46% more often and product launch dates 47% more than industry peers. [Source: The Innovator's Toolbox: Empowering the Next Wave of Difference Makers, Aberdeen Group, 2009]
- Many leaders don’t realize they’ve failed to be inclusive. The downturn led to a 53% drop in discretionary effort, as disengaged workers remained in place [Source: Rethinking employee engagement, Corporate Leadership Council, 2004-2009]
I will close with a Jack Kerouac quote from a card that I received a few days ago from a Cisco colleague :
‘The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn, or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”
Let’s walk the talk together simply because it is the right thing to do!