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Voices

7 Effective Ways to Commit to Diversity in the Workplace

Jodi Warner
April 02, 2021

5 minute read

According to the recent McKinsey report, “Diversity wins: How inclusion matters,” there’s a common thread among companies leading in diversity efforts. They use a systematic, business-led approach to diversity and inclusion (D&I) and draw on the following five best practices:

  1. Ensure the representation of diverse talent.
  2. Strengthen leadership accountability and capabilities for D&I.
  3. Enable equality of opportunity through fairness and transparency.
  4. Promote openness and tackle microaggressions.
  5. Foster belonging through unequivocal support for multivariate diversity.

However, not all companies understand the best ways to promote diversity and inclusion efforts. Here, seven Oracle executives discuss their dedication to D&I and offer other leaders advice on effective ways to demonstrate this commitment.

Challenge the status quo

“Having a commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace means being self-aware. It’s learning about unconscious bias and engaging with individuals who are different from you in some way to broaden your perspectives. It’s challenging the status quo and consistently assessing your decisions, actions, and behaviors to be sure you’re intentionally inclusive. It’s about connecting with colleagues as individuals and taking the time to listen to people to create a culture that allows them to do their best work.

I demonstrate my commitment to diversity by sharing my story and experiences and inviting others to do the same. I also share my preferred pronouns to show that the use of pronouns matter.

For leaders that want to demonstrate their commitment to diversity, I suggest space and grace. Create spaces to learn about others and have courageous conversations on diversity topics that may be uncomfortable. You won’t have all the answers but setting aside time lets employees know that you see and hear them. Grace comes in when you realize you don’t know what you don’t know, making other’s perspectives and experiences so valuable. Take it easy on yourself—we’re all on this learning journey together.”

– David Ortiz, NAA D&I Lead, Sr. D&I Consultant

Encourage employees to bring their whole self

A commitment to D&I means that we encourage employees to bring their whole self to work. That commitment starts with ourselves as leaders. Be authentic and genuine. Share your passions, strengths, and our vulnerabilities. Do all of this in a collaborative, supportive environment rooted in teamwork.”

– Maria Kaval, SVP, Applications Development Platform

Let your intuition be your guide

“The real challenge is the definition of diversity in the workplace. Diversity can’t mean one person of color, one woman, or just something where we can check the box. A commitment to diversity is a complete change in how we view what it takes to be successful as a company. Success can’t be attained by anything less than reaching that destination with a team of people representing our entire community.

I try every day to demonstrate my commitment to diversity. For me, it’s making my organization a place where everyone feels welcomed, and their ideas and opinions are valued. I want my entire team to know, ‘I see you, I appreciate you, and you are welcome here.’

My commitment as executive sponsor for Alliance of Black Leaders for Excellence (ABLE) is my way of giving back to my Black community and offering mentorship to our group members. I also volunteer to speak at Oracle Women’s Leadership (OWL) events. We’ve collaborated with the Oracle Latinos Alliance (OLA) leadership team, and I just signed up for the Oracle Pride Employee Network OPEN Belonging campaign.

My advice to other leaders is to take a look inward, recognize your biases, and let your intuition be your guide.”

– Katrina Horton, VP Strategic Alliances

Acknowledge that underrepresented groups are a real thing

“The commitment to diversity in the workspace starts with acknowledging that underrepresented groups are a real thing. It needs to be grounded in the belief and reality that these groups are an untapped source of talent, leadership, and innovation. Recruitment and outreach to underrepresented groups must be a priority that’s socialized and reinforced at all organizational levels. Finally, the workplace culture must be inclusive and supportive of the entire workforce.

We all can and must do better to realize this commitment. I used to wait for change to occur. The collective voices and actions from all underrepresented groups across Oracle and the level of support I see and hear resonating throughout the company have been inspiring.

As a result, I’ve joined the ranks of so many others to actively champion workspace diversity. I implore those leaders who are still bystanders to lend their voice, time, and leadership to Oracle’s commitment.”

– Johnny Hill, VP Software Development

Ask where you can help

“A commitment to diversity in the workplace means to actively participate, support, or sponsor programs that increase diversity and promote inclusion. It’s the feeling of knowing we are doing more than the status quo.

I actively participate as a volunteer in programs that mentor and develop talent with the LatinX and Women in Tech communities at Oracle. Ask your workplace where you can help, approach your D&I leaders or the employee resource group (ERG) of your choice. It’s fun, rewarding, and incredibly valuable to be part of the community and to drive change together.”

– Katty Coulson, VP, Product Team Information IT

Set the tone, and lead by example

“Commitment to diversity means we understand and accept that everyone is different, that we respect those differences, and that we’re open to listen to different points of views and leverage them to learn from each other. Everyone plays an important role in building an inclusive work environment, but I believe ​it’s the leaders’ responsibility to set the tone and lead by example.

For leaders, this commitment means ‘walk the talk’ with specific actions that demonstrate their commitment to a diverse and inclusive working environment across all organization levels. Global organizations are naturally ‘diverse,’ but just being a diverse company is not enough. We need to create an environment that promotes inclusive leadership, equality, and fairness of opportunities and openness. To do that, we need to get out of our comfort zone and challenge our perspectives and biases.”

– Adriana Torres, SVP Customer Success

Create a space where employees feel comfortable to be themselves

“It’s important to foster a culture of diversity and inclusion because it establishes a sense of belonging and creates a space where employees feel comfortable to be themselves. Encouraging and embracing diversity and inclusion in the workplace leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes.

I personally had some great sponsors and mentors who helped me throughout my career. As an Asian female leader in tech, I’m quite passionate about D&I and am committed to helping others and pay it forward as best I can. I’ve gotten involved in various ways, such as being the executive sponsor for our division’s D&I program, participating in events and efforts to recruit underrepresented minorities, sponsoring a mentoring circle for middle-level managers in tech who are seeking mentorship and advocacy, and sharing my experiences in various speaking engagements and listening circles that may help bring awareness or support of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.”

– Jae Sook Evans, CIO

Quotes may be edited for readability.

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Jodi Warner
Jodi Warner is little bit Yankee and a little bit y'all. Some of Jodi's favorite things include her goldendoodle, jazz fest in New Orleans, eating in NYC, and watching her favorite sports teams. Jodi is a Senior Content Manager at Oracle with more than 10 years of industry experience.
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