Today women and men around the world will celebrate women’s social, economic, cultural and political achievements in recognition of International Women’s Day. This year has been a year of firsts–we’ve seen a record number of women running for office in the United States, London’s Metropolitan Police Service named its first female police commissioner in the organization’s 188-year history and Serbia elected its first female prime minister. It’s also been a year where diversity has dominated the headlines and movements like #metoo and TIME’s UP have reset the agenda for women’s empowerment. With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that the theme behind this year’s day of recognition is #PressForProgress.
As Dell’s Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, to me #PressForProgress means inclusion. It means creating an environment where everyone–regardless of sex, race, age–feels welcome and able to be their true self. It’s intersectionality. It’s the idea of not categorizing people by gender, ethnicity, class, or sexual orientation, but realizing that most people hold a complex number of roles that make them uniquely who they are. For example, I’m a male, but also black. And I also strongly support topics associated with the empowerment of women.
I recently read an article that said intersectionality is an invitation. It’s an opening to be aware of others around us. It’s a chance for us to get a better understanding of ourselves and others. It’s opportunity for us to learn to be more inclusive and therefore more diverse.
At Dell, we continue to look for ways to embrace intersectionality and create an inclusive environment for all. More than 34,000 team members from around the world, currently participate in one of Dell’s 14 Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). ERGs are communities that provide opportunities for personal and professional development by connecting team members around areas such as gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and background. ERGs serve as resources but also as advocates. For example, one of Dell’s largest ERGs, Women in Action, came together globally to lead the IWD activities for the entire organization, hosting events, roundtables and discussions welcoming in all team members to celebrate this day. We see ERGs as a powerful tool in shaping our culture and promoting team member engagement.
In an effort to further empower everyone to perform their best and to be their authentic self, Dell participates in Many Advocating Real Change (MARC), a program that engages our leaders in candid conversations about the role of gender and diversity in the workplace. Dell was the first IT company to participate in this Catalyst program and is committed to 100 percent executive participation by the end of our fiscal year 2019.
We also support promoting and retaining diverse team members through programs such as Leading Women@Dell and Managing Success Now. These are signature programs for high potential women within the organization. In addition to training sessions, participants have the opportunity to engage in both peer and individual coaching sessions to help them enhance their skills and better navigate career options. In addition, we partner with organizations such as Catalyst, Human Rights Campaign and Black Enterprise to share and gain insights into best practices for cultivating and promoting a culture of equality.
Furthermore, we look for opportunities to bring inclusiveness into our communities. Dell is currently one of 28 companies in the Fortune 500 to be part of the Billion Dollar Roundtable, which recognizes and celebrates corporations that achieved spending of at least $1 billion with minority and woman-owned suppliers. And through the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN), Dell supports and nurtures a community of female entrepreneurs by providing access to technology, networks and capital. At SXSW this week, we will also be hosting a number of events that explore this topic.
Our Culture Code at Dell is defined by our values and made real by how we work and lead. We continue to look for ways to #PressforProgress within the organization to ensure Dell is a place where our team members feel they belong and our customers feel welcome.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day today, I ask you all to think about what #PressforProgress means to you and to share your commitment.