Addressing Our Accountability in Creating a More Equitable and Diverse Tech Sector
By Spring Harris, Head of Global Corporate Communications and Public Relations
On January 20, 2021, I had the pleasure of hosting Dwana Franklin-Davis, CEO of Reboot Representation, for a company-wide presentation and fireside chat with NortonLifeLock’s CEO Vincent Pilette and Head of People and Culture Kara Jordan on creating a more equitable and diverse tech sector.
This day was significant for me.
Ahead of our event, Kamala Harris was sworn in as the Vice President of the United States. She is the first woman, the first Black person and the first person of South Asian descent to ever hold this office. Not only was this a key moment in United States history, but it was also a stark reminder of the need for diversity, equity and inclusion and how far we have to go. As the champion of NortonLifeLock’s Black Life Empowerment employee community, and as a Black woman working in tech, the lack of diversity is pervasive. In my experience, it’s not uncommon to be one of a handful of women or people of color in a meeting, and I’m usually the only Black woman in the room. What’s unfortunate is that I and other colleagues have adjusted to this reality. However, this does not have to be the status quo. We can all do our part to speak up, push for diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the company and hold ourselves accountable.
Dwana gave an engaging presentation that focused on the shift in thinking that needed to occur in order for companies to create and support more diverse environments, including:
- The requirement for companies to acknowledge where they’re starting from even if there’s a long way to go;
- The importance of establishing benchmarks and measuring long-term changes in the organization;
- Accepting that “diversity is a feedback loop and not a checkbox,” and the importance on ensuring there is an ongoing conversation between those who have decision-making power and those who have been historically excluded;
- Actionable steps companies can take in order to foster a more diverse and inclusive environment such as requiring a diverse slate of candidates in the hiring process, meaningfully supporting employee resource groups, and disaggregating data at every level where possible.
For employees and individuals, Dwana recommended we start by reading and learning about underrepresentation in tech to better understand how your role may interact with the processes that tend to keep underrepresented groups out of the industry.
The fireside chat with Vincent and Kara was equally engaging as they held a frank and transparent discussion with employees. They confirmed that diversity, equity and inclusion was a priority for NortonLifeLock and shared the actions the company is taking to instill a culture of inclusion and increase diversity. Seeing this level of commitment and passion from NortonLifeLock leadership was energizing and I’m excited about the opportunities ahead of us.