July 21, 2020
ScanSource just raised the bar on diversity and inclusion (D&I) with the appointment of its first chief diversity officer. The company also introduced a dedicated diversity and inclusion program.
Ken Peterson, senior director of human resources at ScanSource since 2017, takes on the additional role of chief diversity officer. He manages human resources for several ScanSource acquisitions in the U.S. Peterson is also responsible for HR at ScanSource warehouses, and the company’s Learning and Development program for North America employees. It is through this program that he will deliver training for team members to establish a common language and foundation regarding diversity and inclusion.
Here’s our list of channel people on the move in June.
ScanSource’s Mike Baur
“We are living in a defining time in history, and now is the time for all of us – especially leaders – to listen, learn, and most importantly, act,” said Mike Baur, Chairman and CEO, ScanSource. “We created an open dialogue with our employees so they can share their personal thoughts, experiences, and insight as we look to build out our D&I program. The knowledge Ken will bring to his new role as chief diversity officer will be invaluable. Ken’s expertise in the areas of D&I leadership, paired with his insight into ScanSource culture, business and communities, will be integral [in] providing the structure and knowledge needed to create lasting impact for ScanSource, both inside and outside the company.”
Peterson has an almost 30-year career in management and HR, including roles in diversity leadership.
One of his first and vital initiatives at ScanSource in his new role is to create an employee-led advisory council. The council will share insights, ideas and opinions from employees to best implement diversity and inclusion strategies within the company.
Channel Partners reached out to Peterson about his new role, his goals and challenges going forward.
Channel Partners: What, if anything, did ScanSource have in place for a diversity and inclusion program prior to today’s announcement? For how long, and did you see any progress made with diversity and inclusion during that time?
ScanSource’s Ken Peterson
Ken Peterson: ScanSource has always made a conscious effort to create and develop a diverse and inclusive environment. This is both at ScanSource and in our communities. We have looked for meaningful ways to support our communities, such as our involvement with and support of the International African American Museum in Charleston, South Carolina, and some outreach to historically black colleges from a recruitment perspective. But we know we need to do more. In order to have a more sustainable effort, both internally and externally, we have created a more focused program, dedicating the time and resources to create lasting change. By appointing a chief diversity officer and advisory council, we will be able to focus on expanding these efforts.
CP: What does it mean to make a dedicated commitment to diversity and inclusion?
KP: A dedicated commitment means, as a company, we will weave in diversity and inclusion efforts to all aspects of our business. From strategic recruitment efforts and community outreach to employee engagement, opportunities, training and supplier diversity, it is not just one singular program or event. With designated leadership and our employee-run council, we will dedicate the necessary time and action needed to …
… create lasting change. That’s for now and well into the future.
CP: How diverse is ScanSource today? Numbers? Goals going forward?
KP: As of today, we are very pleased with our overall gender breakdown throughout the company. But we acknowledge that there is more work to do to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce at all levels of our organization.
Read Channel Futures/Channel Partners’ Black Lives Matter statement, which also calls for diversity and inclusion in the channel.
CP: Can you comment on diversity and inclusion in tech and the tech channel?
KP: We see a lot of opportunities within the tech industry to work together toward a more diverse and inclusive environment. At ScanSource, we not only want to build an inclusive environment at our own organization, but we want to partner with other industry leaders to help drive efforts in the channel. This joint effort would greatly benefit the channel and our society as a whole.
CP: What’s the time frame for implementing the diversity and inclusion strategies at ScanSource?
KP: We have started having a more consistent dialogue with our employees. Over the next few months we will have more in-depth conversations with our partner and supplier communities. Based on employee interest and feedback, we are in the process of selecting our employee-run advisory council. Once that group is selected, we will be able to implement initial components of our program; for example, employee-led resource groups, a D&I focused book club and external subject matter experts to engage our team. These program elements will be the starting point for further planning and implementation throughout our organization and communities. We will continue to provide updates and have open communication with all groups involved.
CP: How do you hope this new diversity and inclusion effort will change ScanSource as a company/culture?
KP: Our goal is to ultimately create a more nurturing and inclusive environment for our employees. We will do this through an initiative that is woven into every aspect of our business and how we operate. It is critical that every employee feels heard and appreciated at ScanSource. We will provide the tools and platforms needed for our employees to feel fully accepted and empowered while working at ScanSource.
CP: How will you handle (negative) blowback from employees, business partners and channel partners?
KP: An important part of our D&I planning process is listening to gain insight, and we understand that means receiving all types of feedback. Through honest discussions, some conversations might not be comfortable, but it is in that discomfort where we learn most. These learning moments will only aid us in our efforts to build a more intentional inclusive work environment.
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