The Evolving Role of the Chief Diversity Officer

Podcast

The Evolving Role of the Chief Diversity Officer

Episode 96. March 22, 2022.

Welcome to the Office Hours with EAB podcast. You can join the conversation on social media using #EABOfficeHours. Follow the podcast on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud and Stitcher or visit our podcast homepage for additional episodes.

Seramount President Subha Berry hosts a discussion on DEI and the evolving role of the Chief Diversity Officer. Subha’s guest on the program, Microsoft Chief Diversity Officer Lindsay-Rae McIntyre, shares her perspective on the renewed urgency on DEI efforts in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the ensuing racial justice protests.

Both Subha and Lindsay-Rae also offer advice to DEI leaders at all kinds of institutions on ways to set their own goals and prioritize their efforts.

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This resource is part of our larger research initiative, focusing on DEIJ initiatives. 

Transcript

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0:00:11.8 Speaker 1: Hello, and welcome to Office Hours with EAB. Today's episode features a discussion between Subha Barry, President of Seramount, now a part of EAB, and the Chief Diversity Officer for Microsoft, Lindsay-Rae McIntyre. This discussion was originally presented as a webinar, but the conversation was important enough that we wanted to use our podcast as another platform to share these insights with a wider audience. Give these leaders a listen and enjoy.

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0:00:46.1 Martha Baum: So we're all here today to talk about the changing role of the CDO. And for some context, before I turn it over to our panelists, I will provide just a couple of slides on how we got to where we are today with this conversation. For the last year and a half or so, the team at Seramount has been talking to chief diversity officers at a wide range of companies across America, across the globe, doing in-depth interviews, with many of you on the line today and your peers and colleagues, asking two primary questions. What are your biggest challenges? And where do you go for support? When we started this endeavor in early 2021, we thought that we would find CDOs flying pretty high. It was... There's a lot of national attention on everything, DE&I. And I think to summarize a year and a half worth of conversations in one slide, what we heard from you all, in summary, is that folks feel like they're working too hard, their teams are working too hard, and frankly making too little progress.

0:01:41.8 MB: And so, almost to a person, every CDO that we spoke to in our research, said, We are pushing on all the best recommended programs, best practices... You can see them down the left hand of your slide here. Doing things like mandatory diversity trainings, we have diverse interview panels, require diverse candidate slates. And yet everyone said, We still are not seeing the types of results our companies are expecting. So despite our commitment to this effort for years, the change is slow to come. If we move a metric a half a percent a year, we're celebrating. Perhaps our representation looks great, but maybe that's at the front lines or at retail and not at corporate. A lot of folks saying, Hey, even where we have bright spots, like engagement, yes, maybe compared to other companies it looks like we're doing a great job, but not for every subset of our employee base. And when we asked you all, What is going on here? Do you need more staff? Is it more resources that you all need? And that is not the answer apparently.

0:02:40.6 MB: According to the experts, according to you all in the field, and everyone said, We just don't have the capacity to drive the systemic change that needs to happen to make true progress. For those that said, Yes, we've been successful with our program implementation. You also said, But then we spend all our time on compliance, making sure the best practices stick. And then lastly, your teams are burnt out, you all are burnt out. And so I think this is... It was a long time coming, but certainly exacerbated by the pandemic. And so there's a sense out there, I think, that is shared, that the model is breaking. And when we talk about the model, if you look on the left hand slide here, the kind of traditional, historical model of having a DEI and the DEI staff and team drive all DEI efforts for the company; that is no longer working.

0:03:26.4 MB: And that is, you all serving is gonna be bolt on to everything else that happens at the company, DE&I becomes another initiative, another to-do, you all are responsible for the metrics and the accountability on all the efforts. Everyone is trying to shift to this DEI-enabled model, it's where we need to go, and this is where you all, as chief diversity officers or the heads of DE&I in your organizations and your staff, you all serve as consultants to the business lines, to the talent owners, but they really own this, they embed it deeply into the organization. This is a very hard transition to make. Many are doing it, many are doing it well, and even the top 10-20% of CDOs that we talked to out there nationally, has said, It is still a very hard journey, it is very uneven where everybody is on this, and it's not always a linear path, so sometimes it's a step forward and two steps back.

0:04:15.0 MB: And even for those that do well and have succeeded here, there are pockets of their companies where they feel like they could be doing this better. So a little bit of context setting. I do wanna turn it over to our panelists, I think that is the impetus for the conversation we're having today. You all now find yourselves very much in a change management role. We view our partner CDOs as kind of the chief change officers of their companies. So I'll introduce you to Subha Barry, our president here at Seramount, a former CDO herself, and Lindsay Rae-McIntyre, our partner and the CDO collaborative, current CDO at Microsoft. These two women are professionals, 20-plus years of experience each. They are also very good friends. So I think we are in for an engaging conversation. I will take myself off the screen and I will take the slides down so we can focus on our presenters, and hear a little bit from them about how they view the shift in this role and what is driving that and where we go from here.

0:05:15.8 Subha Berry: Well, thank you so much, Martha. I really appreciate that wonderful introduction. And full disclosure, I have to tell you that Lindsay-Rae and I go back a long time, and we share a mentor in common. His name is Ted Childs. So shout out to Ted for bringing us together and for inspiring both of us to really want to do this work. And before we delve into the conversation about the CDO collaborative and some of the challenges we face, I'd really like you to get to know Lindsay-Rae a little bit better. So, Lindsay-Rae, would you tell us a little bit more about yourself? And tell me about that moment when you decided to be CDO. I heard that story, but I want you to hear it.

0:06:07.2 Lindsay-Rae McIntyre: Well, I'm thrilled to be here and it's always great to see you. You know, well you didn't plant it. The moment that I wanted to be a CDO was my first week in the HR function and in the diversity team. It was my second job out of university, I had spent the first chunk of my professional career client-facing in healthcare and IT implementation, and that didn't feel right for me. And so I joined the diversity and inclusion team at the time, and my third line manager was on stage with the CEO of Working Mother Media, because that was the conference that I joined the first week on the job. And I was sitting in the back of the room listening to the dynamics and the discussion and the big challenges that they were trying to solve, and just had this moment where I thought, I might wanna do this for a living. And so I talked to Ted and I said, I think I might want your job someday.

0:07:10.2 LM: And he said, "Then you have to get busy learning about this work, but then rounding out as a broad HR professional you have to learn how to pay people and grow people and develop people and understand the ecosystem in its entirety so that you know how to influence it. That's the kind of background I have and you're gonna need a different background than me because you will be leading... If you choose to stay the course, you will be leading this work under very different circumstances." And so I thought, I'm not sure I wanna do all that, and then I spent 20 years doing exactly that. So I've lived and worked all over the world. I have lived all over the United States, and come to this work as a broad HR practitioner who has done the generalist work and the specialist work across communities, countries, and slices of the technology industry that I feel deeply privileged to have been able to do.

0:08:17.4 SB: Thank you, Lindsay-Rae. And I will tell you that I came in, as you know, from the front lines of business. I came to DEI with just a drive and passion for creating opportunity for people who looked like me. And I thought to myself, something's not right, something's missing here when we don't see enough value in the benefits that diversity of, whether it's background, it's not just the way you look but how you grew up, there are so many other different dimensions to it. But the challenges that you faced as a DEI professional have evolved and the focus has changed. And when you really look at the last few years, I think that the demands on what the CDO... Especially, I would say to you, after the murder of George Floyd and the resulting racial awakening that has happened in our country and around the world, the CDO's role and the demands of the CDO have changed dramatically. So talk to me about how the challenges have changed for you, number one, and number two, how is your approach as a CDO different today than it was five years ago?

0:09:36.9 LM: Those are such huge questions, and I think for many of us, including you who pioneered this work in the businesses and clients and customers that you were accountable for at the time, I see us as having been on a journey from sort of compliance to conviction to culture in our organizations. And so many of us live in the land of having well-intended enrolled leaders who wanna be good people and wanna do the right thing, and so they show up eager, saying, "Tell me what you want me to do." And that puts an enormous amount of workload and tax on D&I teams that in many companies are not massive, are not resourced the way that the system is demanding of them, as Martha opened up with. And so, the pivot from, yes, there is subject matter expertise that is unique. Passion alone does not make you a D&I professional, this is an actual career that has actual expertise that requires you to learn and have a strategic spine to the work. It's an athletic role now.

0:11:00.3 LM: It requires us to understand how the D&I work threads through the systemic and sustainable; how does it connect to our sourcing strategies as we seek out new and different talent to join our respective countries and industries. Companies and industries. Countries too. How is it that we understand how diversity and inclusion is threaded through the talent management systems, the pay and promotion processes, the mentorship and sponsorship stuff. And some of these conversations you and I have talked about feel really stale, right? That we're like, Why are we still talking about this? And there are other conversations that I think are unique and interesting and exciting. You and I have shared frustration over... George Floyd's murder was not new, this is not anything that was new at the time, but I will say that, to the extent that it has created an avenue for the diversity and inclusion professionals to be in the C-suites on purpose, creating a voice and a perspective that was long overdue and I think is what the profession deserved and now has.

0:12:22.4 LM: And I also acknowledge, as a white woman doing this work, that my entire responsibility is to use my platform and my privilege to create voice and opportunity for people who do not look like me. That this work has to be about the bigger ecosystem and the bigger emotion than an individual having an agenda and wanting to have their voice heard, unless of course they are of marginalized communities. I'm very thoughtful that... I have a different way potentially of doing this work because I am a white woman, and I don't wanna take up space that needs to be held by people who don't look like me. And so I think it depends on how you come to the work, the cultural and strategic vision that your companies have for the work, and then how you can best sort of shake the system around you for the outcomes that you're trying to drive. But I think it's both exciting and exhausting, as your research clearly articulated.

0:13:34.3 SB: Well, there's a couple of things you brought up that I wanna draw people's attention to. The one is this notion that DEI in organizations needs you to work with procurement, needs you to work with talent, needs you to... So there are so many dimensions to where the embedding of DEI needs to be. So that means you either have to have walked in the shoes of each of those people, and many CDOs really have not. I would say to you, I for one, did not go through the 20 years of rotational work that you did before you got to the CDO role. So from that perspective, you need to be able to enable that procurement leader, that talent leader, everyone in that organization to behave like this is something they need to do. And most important, you need that business leader who's running that division to believe that DEI is not something that he or she turns around and hands off to you, but rather takes on themselves.

0:14:39.8 SB: That is the DEI-enabled model. So, at Microsoft, I know that that is changing. And I think about Microsoft, it's a behemoth. It has a lot of resources available to you, but that in itself is not going to produce the results. So can you talk a little bit about some of the programs, policies, things that you are doing at Microsoft to move from a DEI mindset to really that change management, that behavior change, the having infusing confidence and muscle memory into every employee inside Microsoft to feel like, I too have a role to play in this; this is not just something I hand off to Lindsay-Rae and team?

0:15:30.1 LM: Yeah, and I'd love your perspective on this too, because you of course have also sort of been along the arc of this journey. But I think there are a couple of things that are important for a company like ours that is the better part of 190,000 people in 190 countries, right? That my team and I provide the strategic platform that stitches the diversity and inclusion work through to our cultural agenda for the company. And so, in many ways, we are fortunate because of the arc of change that Microsoft has been on, particularly on embracing growth mindset with Satya's leadership. And so, it just so happens that growth mindset and diversity and inclusion go pretty well together, that even if you find yourself not as informed as you'd like to be on topics of diversity and inclusion, or communities that are different from you, the skill sets and mindsets that you build from the foundations of growth mindset do help in a meaningful way.

0:16:38.9 LM: We introduced the concept of covering an allyship, to set foundation globally for human experiences and understanding that allyship wasn't about being well-intended or being a good person, allyship was actually a behavior that you have as an individual to demonstrate each and every day, that I don't get to call myself an ally, that I have to earn that, and I have to earn it by intentionally engaging with others around me to show up in the ways that are meaningful to them, not to me. And then we start to layer on the awareness agenda. And so as we hosted Include 2021 as an example, for a moment I thought like, Who do we think we are inviting... We're Microsoft, we have so much work to do on our own. And yet the privilege and platform, of course was clear. And so for customers and partners to be saying, It would really be helpful for Microsoft to help us, as you are investing and you do have the resources.

0:17:46.3 LM: And so, we stood up the inclusion journey website to give everybody access to these incredible thought leaders and experts all over the world, on topics that all of us are talking about in our workplaces and not all of us have the opportunity to resource or pay for. And so, that was a learning moment for me to get out of my fixed mindset and figure out how we could contribute to the conversation in a meaningful, thoughtful way. But it is exactly what you spoke to. It is not only the internal motions of, How do you attach diversity and inclusion to incentive structures and pay conversations and promotion motions and feedback for managers? But how do you make sure that you are threading it through how you pick suppliers, who you do business with and for. Not as a gate or that doubling down on the compliance motion, but as a collective aspiration for who we want to be together. And I think that that has been a change in some of the work that we've been able to do, inside and outside of Microsoft, that is starting to grow.

0:19:01.0 LM: We've learned a lot from the investments we made around women's advancement work in the Women and Cloud initiative that really informed the black partnership initiative that we're doing. That drives Black African American owned businesses, unlocks capital and funding, connects it through to wealth creation and power creation in communities, not for Microsoft, but for the organizations that need access and opportunity to funding and resources that aren't always made available due to the systems and structures that have been designed the way they've been designed. So, I don't need to talk to you about financial stuff, that's the world you came from. What insights do you have? You've done this work across multiple industries, you pioneered it through the twists and turns that we find ourselves in now, what are your insights and maybe lessons learned based on the work that you've done?

0:20:02.8 SB: Well, I have to tell you, looking back early on, having been a front line producer in the wealth management business, you know, I started as a commodities trader and then as a wealth advisor, there were very, very few women around me, and the early aha for me was that there are a couple of characteristics in humans that actually lend themselves to being better allies, and it isn't about as it related to gender, it was really not about... I had a mom who worked, I had sisters I grew up with, and I have a daughter who's getting ready to go to, is finishing college and getting ready for the workplace. I'm really focused on how to make it more equitable. It was about having a profound sense of fairness and justice, so when something unfair or wrong is being said about somebody, you instinctively do not just shrink back and go along with the crowd. And the second one is having the courage to speak up, and I noticed that in the men around me, that there were those that had that combination of fairness and justice and courage that spoke up and defended and spoke for some of their women colleagues in a way that others did not.

0:21:18.3 SB: So if you just have the sense of fairness, but you do not have the courage, doesn't go far. If you have the courage, but you don't have a sense of fairness, that doesn't take you anywhere either. So my early aha lesson was that in that group of white men, there were built-in allies who needed to be nurtured and encouraged, if you just sort of talk about diversity and you're talking about, We need to attract more Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, etcetera in... And you don't really look at how do you create this groundswell of support on the part of these allies, many of whom are people in positions of power and authority, then you kind of miss out on that opportunity to engage their voices. And that is why this DEI enabling essentially says the call is out to every single person that in an organization with the sense of fairness and a sense of courage that can come in and be able to actually help an organization rise up to its... And live up to its highest ideals. So from that perspective, I would tell you, Microsoft has done an incredible job.

0:22:32.8 SB: I won't name the company and I won't name the individual, there was this amazing, amazing woman leader in another tech company who I got to know well, who said to me about three years ago, my goal is to go work for Microsoft. And I said, what about Microsoft inspires you so much because you're working for an enormously successful tech company. And she said to me, there's something about Satya Nadella and that means leadership completely matters, and then she was observing everything that was going on in Microsoft. And by the way, she now works for you, she moved over late last year and went to work for you, and her message that she posted on LinkedIn was just so amazing, I know I talked to you about her, but I was so... I was so encouraged to think that when organizations rise up and actually live their values, the way Microsoft is striving to, you attract talent and that talent will take you everywhere, that talent is gonna make all the difference, and ultimately every company... What is it about?

0:23:39.3 SB: It's about talent, the smartest minds will bring you the great ideas, which brings in the business and ultimately builds your value. So I think that Microsoft is well on its way. And when we were initially bringing the CDO collaborative to many of our partners, I said to Martha, I said, "You know what, we're gonna go to Lindsay-Rae McIntyre and if she sees value in it, this is well worth it." So, you were my touchstone for this, Lindsay-Rae. So, I wanna ask you, what got you interested, and I know it was more than just knowing me, I was... Yes, you opened the door and you gave me a little time. You were not gonna step on and become a part of it, unless you saw some value in it. What did you see in it? And what are you hoping to get out of it?

0:24:34.2 LM: For me, it's really about the vision that EAB and Seramount have to keep the conversation fresh and bold. I think that many of us find ourselves in spaces and places being asked to predict the future about where the work is going, where the conversation's going. To your point, we have employees who have appropriate high expectations on the employee experience that we are going to deliver for them, and we want to be able to get out in front of that and stitch the ecosystems and the sustainability through our organizations in a meaningful way. So that it is both the humans that are doing the work, but also the systems and structures that are holding us accountable for who it is that we want to be, because when you are... When you are a large organization like Microsoft, it is not only the HR function that pulls this work over the line, it is not only the business leaders who are committed who pull this work over the line.

0:25:49.9 LM: It is having globally integrated data analytics and aren't we so lucky at Microsoft to have the most world-renowned data analytics team, but not everybody has that, right? And so I think that we all talk about the best practices and how to solve the problems, we need to do more of actual sharing, actually getting down to, but how do you do this and how do you do that? Rather than sort of talking at it solving from within it together, and I think it's a shift in the conversation that EAB and Seramount are wanting to welcome in, knowing that it's gonna be a little bit messy, knowing that this is not a space where I think any of us think we compete, we don't. That's what I love about the profession.

0:26:41.1 LM: It doesn't matter who in the D&I profession reaches out, I will share whatever I can knowing that we are not perfect, but we are all striving for the conditions and the outcomes that are shared, but I think we've got more to do in the practical pragmatic problem-solving that are gonna move big rocks. You have a ton of empathy for organizations who aren't as well resourced, aren't as well funded as a Microsoft or some of the other large organizations, and I feel a real obligation for us to help in any way that is useful, so that we can build the future. Goodness knows, and I also have so much to learn from organizations who don't have 45 years of infrastructure behind them, sometimes changing the ship that has been built for a long time is harder than inventing from new, and so the innovation and the insights that are coming from the creativity of smaller organizations really inspires me.

0:27:53.2 SB: Well, that is almost... You've put a bow on exactly what we would like for this collaborative to accomplish in the coming months and years, and you reminded me when you talked about having the opportunity to share, because in the DEI space, we don't really compete. When I was CDO at Merrill, one of the challenges we had was it was so easy for an investment banking for the metals and mining bank, or to say to me, Well, there are no women in metals and mining banking, so I 'can't get anybody. So you want me to get my gender diversity up, there are no women that really are in this space, and I had no way to challenge him, so something that a group of us CDOs, and you know who you are, it was the Anna Dorothy McCarthy's, the Anne Erni's, the Mona Lau's, and the Melinda Wolfe. We got together and we decided informally that we would share data about the gender mix within our investment banking teams, and we were company A, B, C, D, E, and we shared the information.

0:29:06.1 SB: So I was able to go back to my metals and mining banker to say, Guess what, we are sixth out of six, so five other banks who are our competitors have figured out how to do this better, like shame on us. So I won't accept that excuse anymore. So this is this notion of there is generosity that is available, and to your point, there is a lot that smaller companies can do innovatively because they can be so nimble, it isn't about turning a big ship around where those ideas can actually be transformative for other larger organizations, so I think that you captured that really beautifully, so thank you for that. Martha, I see that you're back on the screen, so you must be giving us some kind of time warning, so take it away.

0:29:53.0 MB: I am. I am, I will actually what I wanna do and I promised I would hard stop us at 12:30 wherever we were. So we could take questions from the group, I will just pop my screen up once again before I turn to Q&A. And please if you have not see if you can give me a thumbs up, if you can see my screen again. Thank you. For folks on the line, if you have not yet, put your questions into the Q&A box, please do. And while I'm letting folks submit a few more questions here, I will actually just... We mentioned the Collaborative a couple of times, but to highlight the work that we are doing in the Collaborative... Yes, Lindsay-Rae is a partner, we have 19 other fantastic founding partners that are going on this journey with us to surface new and innovative ideas to solve some of these heuristic, most challenging systemic problems that you all face.

0:30:45.1 MB: And we're doing them in a couple of ways, that we are bringing from Seramount, we are bringing our very rigorous research approach to service the ideas and bring them to our partner CDOs and small group collectives where you all can really workshop the ideas, pressure test them, and then think about in that third circle there, how we actually bring those lessons back inside your organizations. A lot of what we help our partners do is build consensus to do the work they need to do internally, and then as Lindsay-Rae and Subha have both so nicely highlighted that this is not a world of competition, we want to bring our collaborative partners forward as thought leaders to raise the game overall.

0:31:22.9 MB: So again, a couple of highlights there in numbers one through six, but a group of dedicated CDO years working together with our foundational research to solve some of these challenges. So folks, if anyone would like to learn more about what we're doing in the Collaborative, or think they might have a voice they would like to share, we're popping up a poll here, please feel free to fill that out, we'll leave it just for 30 seconds or so, get those Q&A into the box there. We'll give you all a moment to answer here, and then I have one more slide and I have some good questions for you. Lindsay-Rae and Subha. I hope you're ready.

0:32:00.4 LM: We're ready.

0:32:01.8 SB: Alright.

0:32:01.9 MB: Subha, this first question is for you. And I think it's a great one because we hear this, it's from somebody in the financial industry, but they have asked how can organizations bring their advisors along? And I think this actually extends so far beyond finance, because I talked to a lot of folks that are in very traditional organizations, and there are individuals, whether it is advisors or partners and law firms or folks like that, that they need to bring along on this journey so what is your advice for that?

0:32:28.3 SB: So I always thought to myself when I became an advisor that that was probably one of the best careers for women, because the ability to help shape your date and time based on when you were available and if you had young children and so on, there is so much flexibility that can be built in. The challenge there was, you had a series of leadership managers running, whether those branch offices or divisions that had come from very traditional backgrounds or where they had stay-at-home spouses, and it allowed them to demand a certain kind of engagement on the part of the advisors, that has completely changed. So I would say to you, the ability to recruit young women to really consider a career in finance has to come early, and as you look just like in science and math, you have to start early earlier. You need to go to middle school girls to encourage them to start to have an interest in this, because I think it could be a phenomenal career. That's on one side. On the other side, when you really look at communities and the communities of color that need these financial services, there is an inherent trust that comes out of being able to approach someone from your community to do business with them.

0:33:57.9 SB: I always used to say, other things being equal, if I went to an Indian doctor who was a potential wealth advisory client, and he had... Whether it's a white male, but let's assume a non South Asian financial advisor competing for the business, other things being equal, I will win the business every time because of the cultural connection and the trust that gets built. With that kind of advantage in each of these communities whether it's Hispanic or black, or so on, there is an obligation to go seek out people that are interested in wealth advising and bring them along in it, so that they can start to be those conduits to doing business with their communities. But I would tell you that you have to change the mindsets of the leaders and managers, and as you're getting that next generation of younger people getting into those leadership and management positions, you're gonna start seeing the openness towards wanting to be able to recruit from those communities.

0:34:58.9 LM: Subha I would add to that, that one of the things that we've learned, in probably the last seven years in tech is there is such opportunity to invite people into tech for their second career, or if they've never considered it, so it has to be an and... Yes, front end of the funnel. Yes, we need to invest in education and skills and good role models to open the aperture early, but I'd love us to more and more think about how do we continue to give folks opportunity because we are in the land of being learned alls. We are in the land of having multiple careers and wanting to do work in lots of different shapes and sizes and ways. And so, you know, as we think about broadening the skill sets and mindsets for not only generational inclusion, but also industry inclusion, I think there's lots of opportunity for each of us to think about, how do we connect to engage with and re-imagine our workforces, and at Microsoft, we have a program called Leap.

0:36:07.8 LM: We bring people into the program, it's 12 weeks of coding camp, if you will, that then leads to internships and full-time offers, not only for Microsoft, but for other tech employers, about 60% of them joined Microsoft and the other 40% join our competitors. We didn't invent the model, there are lots of other models that came before us in this particular motion, I think if I find the mental model of where it started, it was probably 15 or 20 years ago as folks were re-imagining and re-entering women into the workforce who've been on leave raising young children, but it's those kinds of things that we can repurpose and innovate around for different outcomes.

0:36:57.8 SB: But you know what, point well taken by the way, that was initiated in the financial services industry, and it was Lehman and Merrill, that actually began that return to work program, typically for women that went on maternity leave and had stepped away and wanted to find a way back in, and it's still well and alive. It is still well and alive, and your point is... Your point about making sure we're not losing out on probably a population where it's a second career, that is really an insightful thought in terms of where else we can go to for talent.

0:37:40.1 MB: You both made great points about rethinking your workforce, in some ways, there's a good question in the chat here about how are you rethinking the structure of your team, so as your role as CDOs evolves, how are you evolving your team? We hear this from a lot of partners on the need to upscale their teams because they are taking on more and more of the ever-expanding so creep that you all face in your terrain, but how are you rethinking structurally, and this question was for you, Lindsay-Rae. The folks on your team, have you made major shifts in the model, in structure of your team, and how are you thinking about engaging those folks?

0:38:16.0 LM: Yeah, I think more and more, we have to continue to understand the need for us to have discrete thoughtful community-based conversations, and we need to acknowledge global conversations and intersectionality, and so increasingly we are thoughtful that the expectations around identity are as broad and wide as humanity itself. And so, for example, we're not gonna create a Microsoft employee resource groups for every single slice of identity. What is the scalable motion to be able to thread through a regional lens, a global lens, a more robust conversation, the feathering of humanity as opposed to always taking it from a singular lens or a US lens. One of the appropriate criticisms we get is when we have historically talked about women, we haven't talked about all women, and we haven't always been as inclusive as we need to be around LGBTQI plus identities and about women of color, women in the military, women who have intersectional identities.

0:39:39.9 LM: Similarly, we haven't been as proactive in broadening the aperture around the global circumstances that as somebody who's lived and worked all over the world, and I know Subha you have too. These systems and structures that create have and have nots, are pervasive around the world, they have different language, they have different architecture, but fundamentally they are the same because colonialism has impacted the world in similar fashions. And so I think those are the ways that we're thinking about challenging how do we get scale? How do we build core and common content from an end user perspective? I think sometimes we get really excited about the gorgeous-ness of our stuff and we just wanna ship it to the workforce and to the HR function as a whole, without thinking about all the things that are landing on their desks and so we have work to do as centers of excellence to really partner with our colleagues in talent and in compensation, and in recruiting, so that we're being more customer-centric ourselves to make it easier to execute in a world where there's goodness gracious, there is so much to get done.

0:41:04.3 SB: That Lindsay-Rae brings new meaning to this notion of teaching people how to fish as opposed to fishing for them. And the other dimension there is generational, think about how this next generation, whether it's millennials or Gen Z, how they are thinking about work and life, and whether they show up as a part of your DEI teams or part of your talent pool that you're drawing from for your organization, really understanding where they're coming from becomes very important in considering the construct of DEI going forward.

0:41:45.3 MB: Great points. We'll take one more question. I know we wanted to stop here at about quarter two and keep everyone on time for their day, but I do think this is a great question, and you've made a good point, Lindsay-Rae earlier of saying despite the scope and scale of everything that you have access to at Microsoft, you recognize, you have a lot to learn from smaller companies because very often they have to be more nimble and more creative with their resources and how they achieve the common goals you all share. There's a question in the chat, specifically, what advice would you offer to a smaller or mid-sized organization that is finalizing their strategy in programming, so they have goals and intentions, but they are lacking prioritization and a concrete strategy, so where would you go on advice for how to do that prioritization?

0:42:29.5 LM: You are... Whoever you are, you are asking the question that we all wrestle with.

0:42:34.0 MB: Million-dollar question.

0:42:36.2 LM: On many days, I think it feels like an impossible mountain to climb and yet... And yet we do when we have to. I think first and foremost, one of the things that we've learned is that accountability and transparency, at least for us at Microsoft is core, and so having the data analytics and a perspective on what it is you're going to do with the data that you have, and how are you going to bring the broader workforce along based on what you're learning? I think that for us, it's been a pretty substantial journey, and the fact that we have intentionally embraced spaces and places in our data that are not pretty, does help individuals and employees have confidence that we are looking at all of the stuff we're not just picking and choosing and serving up the data that maybe looked better than the data that doesn't.

0:43:38.8 LM: That we are being more transparent on purpose, so I would pick data, transparency and accountability as one bucket. The leadership conversation that Subha started with us on is critical, what is the legacy that your leadership want to have, how are they prepared and willing to engage. I will say that that is one of the, perhaps one of the most substantial reasons that I came to Microsoft, it does have big bold ambitions, but it doesn't only sit with Satya Nadella, it is shared across the entire leadership team in such a powerful, genuine way. You can get work done when you have a leadership team that are unified in their commitment, their ambition and their boldness on this topic, and so I would put leadership as bucket two. And then how is it that you wanna create shared language and shared understanding, this space is so complex, and yet, if there's anything I've learned at Microsoft sort of the confetti of activity while gorgeous does not accrue to outcomes, always.

0:44:48.0 LM: And so one of I think the most important functions that the experts inside a DE&I team can provide is the path forward on shared language and shared understanding, and so how do we talk about the work, how do we want to engage in conversation and how does it stitch through to the cultural agenda that you have for the organization so that you don't end up in compliance land, you from the beginning, architect yourself as a critical player in the culture transformation conversation out of the gate, as opposed to sort of starting somewhere else and having to get your way back, so data, leadership, and then shared language and shared understanding would be the three that I would pick.

0:45:42.0 MB: Thank you. Thank you both. This has been a fantastic conversation. It is only the beginning. We all know this is a very long journey, we're excited to continue to tackle these challenges and these questions with you Lindsay-Rae and the rest of our partners. Again folks, if you have questions, things we can help you with and follow up, please don't hesitate to let us know, we are all excited to tackle this together. So thank you all again for your time. Have a wonderful weekend.

0:46:05.5 LM: Thank you.

0:46:06.0 SB: Thank you.

[music]

0:46:15.0 Speaker 1: Thank you for listening. Please join us next week when our guests share findings from a recent poll of student success leaders who indicate in no uncertain terms that they are ready to embrace data and analytics as the foundation for everything they do to improve student retention and graduation rates going forward. Until next week. Thank you for your time.

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