Years ago, over lunch I was recruiting someone to join our legal team. As we walked into Sun’s cafeteria, she stopped, looked around at the employees in the food lines and said “This place looks like the lunch room of the United Nations”. Her comment caused me to pause. To that point, I had never noticed the incredible rich diversity of the individuals surrounding me. In Silicon Valley, our industry and at Sun, diversity is generally the norm.
Our organization has a team of employees that focus on issues of diversity and inclusion. Participation is voluntary, but always large and enthusiastic. Their efforts have been recognized by awards from the MCCA and the CMP. The team has developed of variety of programs around mentoring, internships and recruiting. We are also an active participant in an array of diversity focused organizations.
Some of their ideas have been very creative. One I particularly enjoy helps to address the challenge of creating connections between members of a dispersed global organization. It’s something we call “Day in the Life”. Once a quarter, we pick an employee who describes, in a recorded presentation, the business, legal, and social environment in which he or she works. Personal insights are often provided as well. It’s an interesting way for someone working in the Bay Area or Bangalore to understand what it is like to work in Dubai, or Budapest or Caracas or…
My observation is that it takes a tremendous amount of dedication and focus to ensure that diversity is something that we don’t notice – it just is.