Championing Diversity by Design and Sustainability with Mel Tarpey
Within our business there are many who are passionate about doing their bit to foster positive change and help us become a more sustainable and inclusive business. One such individual championing these causes in EMEA is Mel Tarpey, our EMEA Head of Visuals Product and Business.
Mel has been working in the IT industry for over 20 years, so has witnessed many changes in the tech and display business over the course of her career. In recent years, Mel has operated to align her work with our changing world and values, in her own way working towards creating smarter technology for all.
“The role requires a lot of industry insight,” says Mel. “But we also need to look at how we can include fresh passion and energy. As well as technical innovation we need to be engaging fresh perspectives that enable us to do things differently and foster positive change, from developing products that are built with diverse needs in mind to products that are kind to our environment.”
Driving sustainable innovation
Global warming is one of the largest environmental challenges facing the world and action is needed by all businesses to reduce our impact on the environment. To meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, there is a public and private responsibility to rethink approaches to sustainability and it’s important for Lenovo to take action to contribute to a better environment. At Lenovo we have set ambitious sustainability goals in line with the Science Based Targets initiatives, with a view to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. In order to do this, we need all of our people to look at ways we can improve our carbon footprint inside and outside of the organisation, something that Mel is leading by example.
“Reducing plastics and using recyclable materials are important but we need to look at the whole supply chain” says Mel. “Around 80% of the materials used to build our monitors are from end-of-life recycled equipment. This allows us to support a circular economy whilst drastically reducing waste.”
Mel also believes huge strides can be made towards energy power through Lenovo USB-C Monitors with smart power delivery technology, a uniquely Lenovo concept. The technology allows for dynamic power management which dispenses power to the connect devices to ensure correct distribution through the monitor. Doing so, reduces waste and ensures recharge efficiency. On top of this, the monitor presence sensors switch off the monitor backlight when you leave your desk, resulting in further energy savings.
“There’s a long way to go before technology will become completely sustainable. But as artificial intelligence and machine learning continue to play a stronger role in how we develop more sustainable solutions, we are getting closer all the time.”
Creating inclusive technology is also a passion point for Mel, who notes that early in her career there was less consideration of specific customer requirements in technology design – factors such as gender, background, or cognitive and physical disability.
Thankfully, in recent years there has been a greater understanding of the diverse needs of end-users, and Mel and her team are at the forefront of how Lenovo is building and designing products to suit all backgrounds and needs. One of the key areas Mel is proud of is how Lenovo monitors have contributed to achieving Lenovo’s wider ESG results.
“It’s the small things that make a big difference when it comes to creating products that are suitable for everyone. Recently we’ve been updating our mobile display to ensure they’re a dual USB-C that can be used on both the left and right side, catering to users that are both right and left-handed. We have also built a touch monitor with flexible ergonomics which is considerate for physical comfort in different work modes. It’s the small things, but it makes a big difference. It is important that we’re in regular conversations with our customers to understand their pain points, so we are able to design products that address these areas.”
But for Mel, it’s not just about launching products that champion diversity, equal opportunities must also be evident within the workplace. From Mel’s own experience Lenovo has invested time and effort in creating an inclusive working environment. In the past two decades, Mel has seen a significant shift in tech becoming less male dominated, but there is still more work to be done across the whole tech industry.
“Previously, to become a female manager you either needed to have many years of experience or to have a great boss who supported you. I was very lucky to have a manager who believed in me and challenged me, but also provided me with fair opportunities to give me the experience I needed to become an ally to others. This includes being an ally to any employees who need career guidance, as well as supporting the inclusion of more female employees across EMEA teams.”
Change does not happen in a vacuum. It requires dedicated individuals to look at their teams and practices and continuously ask ‘how can we foster greater inclusivity and equity?’ Our people have been at the forefront of driving our D&I and sustainability agenda at Lenovo, from our Global Month of Service initiatives to the ongoing work driven by our Employee Resource Groups. Conversations with our people, from Mel to our wonderful Diversity Manager Of The Year finalists show how our people are bringing our D&I commitments to life across the business, creating a culture that works for everyone.