I love what I do.
It’s challenging, exciting, and extremely rewarding. One of the best parts of my day-to-day is that I get to meet with the world’s leading media and communications providers. When I do, I hear about their goals and objectives, as well as about their needs and challenges.
What comes up over and over, is how they need us, their software and services providers, to be faster, more agile, and more innovative than ever. This is the only way that they can meet the continually growing demands of our fast-paced, deeply competitive market.
And what I have found, time and again, during my 30 years of being in this business, is that meeting these expectations isn’t only about high-quality code, expertly crafted strategies, streamlined processes, and support from the best talent out there. It’s also about being intentional with diversity.
Paving the path
Yes, I know that when I say – diversity, I’m bringing forth a topic that’s been broadly discussed. Clearly, that’s a good thing. It can’t be understated how important it is to recognize that when we foster diversity, people are more willing to take risks with their ideas, creativity, and initiative. This is the key to innovation.
And it’s just as vital to appreciate the fact that a wider range of backgrounds and experiences is what brings a broader variety of perspectives. This is a must for coming up with strategies and solutions that help us to stay ahead of the competition and respond effectively to quickly shifting market dynamics.
Bottom line, a big part of what drives innovation and business success is diversity.
Flexing the diversity muscle
Diversity is in focus for many organizations all over the world. Yet, articulating messages of openness and acceptance alone does not make for an organization that is marked by authentic diversity. And this is what I want to talk about today. Because the key to realizing the success that diversity can bring is to be intentional about it.
Throughout my career I was fortunate enough to have had many opportunities to collaborate with peers, partners, and customers, from many different cultures. This has given me the unique opportunity to flex and strengthen my openness and acceptance ‘muscle.’
For example, I’m originally from Argentina, where professional communications are different from those that I came to experience across various parts of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Where I come from, a certain tone of voice could be considered warm and friendly. But in other parts of the world, it could be considered fast and overbearing.
Recognizing the cultural context of an interaction makes for business engagements that are so much more positive and desired outcomes so much easier to secure.
"I came to another realization – if all these benefits were possible just from being diverse in my mindset – imagine how much more impact I could make if I was intentional about it."
Taking it up a notch with intentionality
Having served in many roles that were multinational by nature, I got to develop my diversity muscle organically. The benefits were always very powerful – more cooperation, more meaningful professional and personal relationships, and greater business success, among others.
At some point, I came to another realization – if all these benefits were possible just from being diverse in my mindset – imagine how much more impact I could make if I was intentional about it.
This realization was further amplified when a colleague had submitted my name for inclusion among the 𝗛𝗜𝗧𝗘𝗖 𝟭𝟬𝟬 most influential global Hispanic executives in the technology industry. Having been included in this list for four years in a row has been profoundly meaningful for me.
It has helped me realize that what I was doing to promote diversity was making a real difference. At the same time, it gave me the inspiration to do even more.
Namely, for several years I’ve been helping Hispanic students to realize their potential, sharing with them insights about opportunities that they may not be aware of, such as for scholarships, internships, or others.
So, in the effort to be even more intentional, I reached out to my alma mater, the Universidad Nacional del Sur in Bahía Blanca, Argentina. Further to my request, the University now provides me with a platform for engaging with the university’s Argentinian students to provide them with a more informed perspective on the professional opportunities that are out there, especially abroad.
Three steps for intentional diversity
If I had to pick three steps that anyone could take to achieve intentional diversity as a leader, individual, or on behalf of the organization, these would be:
- Be agnostic. This is at the very heart of authentic diversity. When engaging with someone, whether as their manager, peer, partner, or vendor – it’s important to see them for who they are, what they say and do, the value they bring, and all the inner potential they can bring to life. It’s not about their demographics, zip code, or last name. It’s about what they bring to the table, and how they bring it.
- Get connected. Tap into whatever it is that’s close to your heart. Whether it’s about your hometown, as in my case with my commitment to empowering young Latin Americans to success, or about something else that is meaningful for you. Go out there. Find ways to help make sure that the people with whom you feel a sense of commonality and community know about opportunities for inclusion. Be a coach or mentor, share and advise. All this can make all the difference.
- Take action. Sending out emails to your people encouraging them to be more inclusive on International Women’s Day, at the launch of Black History Month, or during other annual celebrations of diversity, is simply not enough.
Take action and bring people together, hold in-person or virtual gatherings that share insights, bring value, and motivate proactive participation.
At Amdocs, there are multiple company-wide events that take place throughout the year. One such example, is the Amdocs annual event around Diwali, India’s Festival of Lights. Before joining the company, I hadn’t been exposed to the wonders of this holiday. Being a part of the company has expanded my horizons and has helped me to appreciate different cultures, their people, and what is dear to them. And most importantly, it has helped me to be more intentional about diversity.
In conclusion, anyone can make a difference, no matter what your role is in the organization. We can all impact someone else’s life and help them realize their aspirations. And the bonus is that it’s a win-win. They get more opportunities. We get new perspectives. And the organization can reach new heights of innovation and success. This is what being intentional about diversity is all about.