A DEI program featuring resources like employee resource groups and inclusive events can help employees feel seen and heard.

February 28, 2024

4 Min Read
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Careers for women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) have grown across the globe at an incremental pace of 3%. In fact, women working in engineering careers rose from 12% in 1990 to 15% in 2021. However, women of color have experienced significantly less growth. Leadership across industries agrees that innovative ideas are often rooted in a more diverse workforce, including gender, race, age and more.

“Inclusive workplaces that embrace gender diversity benefit from a wealth of unique ideas and approaches, leading to increased creativity and problem solving,” said Ashley Goodwin Lowe Ph.D., diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) expert and lead advisor of DEI at Ingram Micro.

With visibility being a key challenge for women and women of color, many face embracing authenticity as a personal challenge in the workplace, often grappling with the decision to conform to stereotypical leadership traits or to be their authentic selves.

“There seems to be an internal battle of who we should be or what version of ourselves we should be in these spaces,” said Dr. Goodwin Lowe. “That constant challenge of being perceived or proclaiming to be superwoman, with the extra tough exterior, or someone who can take on all the jobs and do all the tasks associated with it, can limit our bandwidth where we are hesitant to seek assistance and connection. Feeling safe to seek out connections contributes to a rich culture of belonging. We are human and sometimes mistakes are made. Rest is required to recharge so that we can be the best version of ourselves so we can make a greater impact in our roles.”

To create a culture that values and embraces the contributions of women and women of color and to gain more confidence in the workplace, Ingram Micro utilizes its DEI program featuring resources like employee resource groups and inclusive events that help employees feel seen and heard. In addition, DEI programs like Ingram Micro’s make a significant social impact on consumers, with 54% looking at a company’s corporate social responsibility.

In addition to these efforts, Dr. Goodwin Lowe recommends implementing these key strategies:

Be Intentional

Dr. Goodwin Lowe emphasizes the need to make deliberate efforts to move forward and create a more inclusive environment. This is crucial for companies to make progress in diversifying not just its workforce, but also leadership.

“Advocacy and allyship are pivotal in this regard. People want to feel a sense of connection to the business; increased visibility and representation of women in this space helps inspire other women to achieve more and exceed expectations, which in turn contributes to the business,” said Dr. Goodwin Lowe. “For example, at Ingram Micro, the executive team recognizes the importance of diversity in leadership and has committed to creating a team where company leaders demographically and culturally represent our associates in each of our operations by 2030.”  

 

Be Authentic  

Dr. Goodwin Lowe encourages women to remain confident in themselves and their abilities and stay true to their attributes as they reflect a dynamic culture of problem solvers and strong leaders. This can also foster stronger collaboration, increase productivity and enhance innovative ideas across the business.

Network and Endorse

One of the main reasons for a lack of representation in the workplace or leadership is sponsorship, says Dr. Goodwin Lowe. She encourages women to find a network of people who can provide coaching and mentorship in the workplace to increase the visibility of their skills.

“There is a gap between inclusion and endorsement, where there is a perceived value someone brings to the table,” said Dr. Goodwin Lowe. “When you have someone who has the influence, intentionally includes you in their network and collaborates well to endorse you by highlighting your unique abilities, that is a powerful thing.”

Always Be Evolving

Having a growth mindset helps prepare you for change — industries and workplaces are dynamic and subject to constant change. Being open to this change provides opportunities to learn more about new skills or networks that can help grow your career. Learning new concepts allows for enhanced problem solving by creating opportunities to gain diverse experiences, which provides you with a competitive edge.

Learn how Ingram Micro supports women in the workplace in our latest environmental, social and governance report, and connect with us to learn how to support diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

For more on how inclusivity breeds innovation, click here.

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Jackie Connor is a writer with more than 15 years of experience contributing to news publications and marketing teams. Since joining Ingram Micro in 2022, she covers technology services, financial solutions, ESG and DEI.

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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