Just before the holidays, I traveled to London to spend time with New Relic customers, partners, and our UK-based account teams. A highlight of my trip was a Women in Tech dinner that New Relic hosted, bringing together a group of more than 20 local executives to network and discuss how to foster diversity and inclusion in this region. New Relic’s focus on culture, authenticity, and diversity is one of the things that I love most about our company, so I’m thrilled when I get the chance to tap into these topics with our team, customers, and community.
Attending “Women in Tech” dinners and events is something that I am invited to do fairly regularly in the United States. I quickly learned that in the UK, however, the community of women executives in technology is still in formation, and these events are less common. With multiple attendees expressing their gratitude that New Relic had brought this group together, I realized I sometimes take for granted the community of women and opportunity for conversation that I have back home in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Our UK dinner was full of talented leaders from companies including Deutsche Bank, Domino’s, Equinix, HSBC, Lyst, Red Badger, and more. We welcomed guest speaker Debbie Forster, CEO of Tech Talent Charter, to discuss the importance of companies developing a more diverse workforce in the technology industry. Ms. Forster shared that, following the Brexit vote, the UK is facing an immediate talent problem, which she believes creates an imperative duty for women in tech.
“Just 17% of Tech/ICT workers in the UK are female, and only one in ten females are currently taking A-Level computer studies. Yet there is a looming digital skills gap where the UK needs one million more tech workers by 2020,” she said. “We are making the most of a crisis. With Brexit shutting doors for us, we are at an important moment in history and need to capitalize on finding talent in unlikely places. This is spurring organizations on to act now and start the conversation around addressing gender inequality in the workplace.”
I have long believed that those workplace cultures that prioritize diversity and inclusion—and believe that a broad range of leadership styles and talents drive the best company performance—are the teams that will attract and retain the lion’s share of talent in the marketplace.
At New Relic, we believe that a culture of inclusion empowers all team members to be their authentic selves and do their best work. We know that we need great minds with a diversity of ideas collaborating to tackle the new challenges and opportunities presented to us each day.
There are so many ways to support diversity and inclusion (D&I) efforts around the world. Coming away from this event I was invigorated about how we can all make a difference:
- Foster community. There is no substitute for being part of a supportive community of colleagues, and it is important to seek that out—both inside and outside your company. As my friend Christa Quarles shared at last year’s Fortune Brainstorm Tech event, there is a “sisterhood” of women in technology, and we are committed to supporting each other. Affinity groups are important and valuable in our workplaces, in addition to an overall inclusive culture, the availability of leadership development programs for all emerging leaders, and sponsors and mentors (both male and female).
- Think globally, act locally. Companies and individuals from different regions and backgrounds are at different stages of their journey when it comes to cultivating diversity, inclusion, and culture, so it’s important to “meet people where they are.” Conversations on the topic vary around the world. If we truly listen to each other’s experiences, stories, and goals, we can build empathy and develop better local strategies.
I’m so inspired by our team and by the many New Relic customers who are committed to innovating and building thriving businesses, and who believe that creating diverse and inclusive cultures is critical to achieving these goals.
Here’s to an amazing year ahead, where we all channel diversity of thought, skill, and experience to innovate faster and more effectively develop the leaders of tomorrow.