Bill Proudman, co-founder and CEO of WMFDP, offers insight to leading tech clients on how fostering diversity in the workplace can breed innovation, boost employee productivity and increase the bottom line.
(Portland, OR) September 12 – Lack of diversity and inclusion in the tech sector has been an ongoing issue for some time now. In a recent report by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC),1 it was found that compared to private industry generally, the high-tech sector employed a larger share of whites (63.5% to 68.55%), Asian Americans (5.8% to 14%) and men (52% to 64%) over African Americans (1.4 % to 14.4%), Hispanics (8% to 13.9%) and women (36% to 48%).
Furthermore, according to USA Today,2 the lack of diversity in Silicon Valley tech firms is magnified. Women, Hispanics and African-Americans comprise 30%, 6% and 3%, respectively, of employees in the top 75 tech firms. The report also confirmed that non-tech firms in the area have women holding 49% of the jobs, Hispanics at 22%, and African-Americans at 24%. Asian-Americans, who hold 41% of jobs in Silicon Valley’s top tech firms, make up only 24% of the non-tech job force.
For Bill Proudman, CEO and co-founder of White Men As Full Diversity Partners (WMFDP), these daunting statistics are a great opportunity to work on positive results with leading tech firm clients on WMFDP’s Fortune 500 roster, which includes Dell and Intel.
“Challenging the leaders of our client firms to eliminate bias within their respective organizations yields positive results in profitability,” Proudman said. “They take it to heart when we tell them that the more diversified your workforce is, the more profitable your company will be.”
One good example is Dell Inc., where Chairman & CEO Michael Dell said, “A diversity of perspectives, backgrounds and experiences is the catalyst for innovation. That is how we deliver better results for our customers and our team members. For us, a diverse and inclusive culture is a competitive advantage.” 3
Additionally, Marie Moynihan, Chief Diversity Officer and VP of Talent at Dell Inc. expanded on that philosophy saying, “I’m a very strong believer in the value of diversity and the reason for that is I think it forces a more challenging conversation and ultimately better decisions. I do think things are changing for the better for women in leadership. Companies are just paying a lot more attention to the evidence that’s out there now which says that a more diverse team can result in better return on equity.”
Proudman applauds all of Dell Inc.’s focus on diversity and inclusion. “Dell is the first global tech company to fully embrace the engagement of male executives in their gender equity
work,” said Proudman. “Working with WMFDP and the respected research firm, Catalyst and their MARC initiative, DELL has committed to having all their global execs engaged in MARC (Men Advocating Real Change).”
Similarly, the first-ever White House Demo Day was organized last year to showcase women and minority founders in technology.4 The event, along with President Obama’s call for action, prompted several major tech companies to announce new diversity initiatives. Facebook, Google, IBM, Microsoft and Amazon all jumped on the bandwagon to demonstrate their commitment to improving recruitment and hiring of women and minorities.
Proudman noted that the tech industry is one where innovative minds collaborating lead to the most success. With different backgrounds and cultures involved in the thought process, the opportunities for the tech sector are endless. Tech leaders who embrace diversity in all its facets end up being catalysts for change and are looked upon as leaders—not only in the highly-competitive tech industry, but also in the global marketplace.
About White Men As Full Diversity Partners (WMFDP):
White Men As Full Diversity Partners (WMFDP) is a diversity and leadership development firm founded in 1996 by Bill Proudman, Michael Welp, Ph.D., and Jo-Ann Morris in Portland, Oregon. WMFDP takes an unorthodox approach towards eradicating bias and discrimination in the workplace. Its client list includes BAE, Eastman Chemical, Kohler, The Nature Conservancy, NASA, Mass Mutual, Applied Materials Inc., and others. The majority of C-level executives are white and male, and they are frequently omitted from a vital role in diversity and equality. Proudman and Welp observed that these critical subjects were not being taken to the doorstep of these leaders—all to the detriment of struggling minorities and the economy as a whole. Proudman and Welp have dedicated the last two decades to educating and engaging leaders of any race, color, gender and orientation. Welp is the author of the book, Four Days to Change. With an insightful foreword by Proudman, the book chronicles the journey from rural South Africa to the boardrooms of America—all to lay the groundwork of a global paradigm shift.
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Karla Jo Helms