Futureproofing against bias in tech | BRK1095
I want to thank. All of you for coming out to join us today I also, want to thank this very esteemed panel I am incredibly, lucky to be up here with these folks um most. Of who I, work with on a fairly regular basis, so I know them quite well and. I, think you'll get a lot out of the conversation, so we're going to I'm going to ask some questions but. Before I do that I'm gonna have each of the panelists introduce themselves and, we'll start with Tara and then once we're done with introductions, and the questions I asked we're gonna open up actually, for audience questions so why, don't we start with introductions. My. Name is Tara Roth and I'm a vice president, on the Microsoft 365, suite, and I lead an engineering team the, team overall is called customer success engineering, our, primary focuses. To really raise customer, satisfaction. Good. Afternoon I'm Jackie right I am the chief digital officer for, the u.s. business, and I've only been in this role a week and a half. She. Had another really, big role prior. My. Name is a. Partner, program manager, and I managed community, and education for dotnet and Visual Studio for the developer division, hi. I'm Melissa summers I'm actually with Accenture a, managing. Director within, our CIO organization. And I'm responsible for a variety of areas including. Eccentric. Comm and our digital workplace applications. Hello. Everybody I'm Rukia Jones I'm in Azure networking, I lead, the strategy, for the azure. Connectivity. Service providing. Enablement. Tools, and services, for 5g. Good. Afternoon my. Name is sue Bowen, I'm a partner director, of the customer and partner success, team in the, identity division, my. Job, is to lead, a customer, facing team and our job is to cut the distance between customers, and partners and. Work with the engineering team so we can all operate at cloud speed I'm, also the DNI, sponsor, for identity right, my, name is Donovan brown I lead a team of cloud advocates, all right so covering, DevOps offs modern ops and IT lift, and shift, for. The cloud avocation team and. Someone remind me I didn't introduce myself. My. Name is Anne Johnson I lead cybersecurity solutions, at Microsoft, that means that Brett snow will tell you that he's responsible to Microsoft, secure I'm responsible for keeping our customers and partners secure, and, I'm, also the executive sponsor for Microsoft, gleam. Joining, me today is my, diversity. Dino this is cyber. Cyber. Goes everywhere with me speaks at conferences. And. Tweets, a lot so, but. Is always joining me so let's start with a question actually for Melissa, we'll, get going with thee with, our partner who has graciously joined, us today so. We know that Tec is an ecosystem and, it's a community and no company, like Microsoft or Accenture is an island, so can you talk a little bit about how, we partner, and how we work with other companies outside.
Of Our own company, to drive diversity and inclusion, sure. So one of the things that I'm most excited about at Accenture, is our apprenticeship. Program, four. Years ago we partnered with the City Colleges of Chicago to. Bring, in, students. From there to, work for a year in our IT department. And have the opportunity, for a full-time role at the end of that we. Brought in five students, four, of them joined, us full-time, after that year and since. Then the program has really taken off we now have 300, apprentices. Across North America for Accenture from a variety of partners, one. Of the other things that came out of that effort, not, only amazing, success stories every time you hear any of those students, talk about where, they've come from what they've learned and how they've added to Accenture. We, started, what's called the Chicago, apprenticeship. Network which partners with 25. Different companies. In the Chicago area many of our clients, and your clients, to. Offer apprenticeship. Programs to, those, students, throughout, Chicago. That's. Fantastic it's one things I know is particularly insecurity we find that we have to fill that pipeline right to fill job roles and when we fill it if we can fill that pipeline with Allen's torrance diversity, we're building for the future. Soon. So. You're in Houston you sit in an engineering, organization which, it historically, has not been an. Organization, that would be typically, there would be a lot of women in leadership roles, so. Can you talk a little bit about your journey into, being an engineering. With, an identity organization, and what you're seeing from both Microsoft and also our customers, and partners about, how they're bringing more diversity into traditional roles. That were not you know where there weren't a lot of women like engineering sure, well. I started with a computer, science degree and. Started. Out in a job where I got to do a lot of documentation, and flowcharts because I had a nice nice, handwriting. So, I'll, need us to say I didn't stay there long and, went. Through a variety, of, different. Companies and. Ended up at Microsoft, and. It. Was interesting because I actually. Well. I guess I took a DNI course and I have a word for this I actually, assimilated. Myself, into, engineering, I stopped, curling my hair I stopped, wearing, makeup stopped wearing heels you, know just became, kind of looked and talked like a guy and. You. Know it I've had a good career, maybe. It could have been better but I'm super, happy where I've gotten. What's. Interesting though I think is as. We've had some incidents in, Microsoft. And at with such as leadership we now have the opportunity to talk about them and to become better I. Realized. I was part of the problem because. I had grown up learning how to sort of be in a man's world in engineering, and we. Decided as. It as a leadership. Team that that wasn't maybe helping us deliver the best work from our employees. So we just decided to do something about that, so. We do things like we, actually have our top, objective. And key result for the year or for the H. As we call it the semester, half. A year is actually. About what. We do in order to make sure that people can be, their best at work and do their best work, we. Have a story, as we call it which in engineering, is the way we wrap around feature. Work and talk about it and monitor it we. Actually have a story for diversity. And inclusion and we create. Conversations. Around that as part of our monthly check points as we call them for all of our engineering, projects, so. Little. By little it's happening, and. You mentioned how does it how, is it happening elsewhere in. Partners and customers. I'm. Still usually the woman in a room last. Year I was at a conference, in Europe and I was the only woman from, Microsoft, and all of the partners were men, but. I think, it'll change over time and hopefully what we do at Microsoft, and you certainly saw a number of women. On stage in. All. Of our activities. This this week will. Will create hopefully, an inspiration, by having more women leaders in Microsoft, thank. You Scott. I'm gonna try to take you out of your comfort zone a little cuz I follow you on twitter so I know a little bit about you that maybe the rest of the audience doesn't, as. I know I get the same reaction when people say they follow me on Twitter I'm like okay. But. Two. Things one is I want, you to talk a little bit about unconscious. Bias you know I've been in tech 30 years in order for me to survive much like so I assimilated, a little but I also assumed, that there was more unconscious, bias than direct bias because that's kind of a survival, technique right if you if, you assume that everyone's doing their best and really making their best effort in a lot of the biases unconscious, it gives you some survival, skills so.
I Watch hawk you, talk a little bit about how, we overcome, how we call out and overcome some of that unconscious, bias but, then I want you if you're comfortable I know I said let me try to push out a comfort zone you could be not comfortable doing it I. Want. To I want to pull. The thread a little bit about covering. Because. We talking bias about physically. What we can see and represent, but a lot of us actually are covering, something that can't be seen and represented, and it, leads. To bias and I know from a medical standpoint you you you have you know may have had some challenges there so so. The, first thing that I feel when I think about bias is that it. Is something, that is unconscious. But if you don't act, intentionally. If you don't sit down and question, it just in the same way that you wake up in the morning and you look in the mirror you say alright this would be a good day or I'm gonna be intentional, about what today is it, doesn't matter how old you are or how long you've been trying to you know be woke or wake up you. Always have these moments I caught myself literally, last week having. An unconscious, bias towards a younger person, because. They were you. Know I was. I had been coding longer than they've been alive and I. Was. Feeling myself a little bit and I real and I was like what you can't tell me but, then I realize that their fresh perspective, is as important, as my experience and, I in the moment caught myself to check myself and, realize that I'm in developing, an unconscious, bias against, younger. People in tech and I'm gonna try to flip that and turn that bias into a strength and, try to call call. For those young people mentor. And sponsor them so that I can get a fresh perspective. As. Far as the context of covering you. Know there. Are invisible. Things about us whether it be someone, might be a veteran and they might have PTSD, or they might have an issue or some kind of medical issue you could have a amputee. But, I'm a type 1 diabetic and I have medical, implants, in multiple. Locations and. My. Privilege, is that I can just go like that but. I also need to let my bosses, know about that so that I can enable them to make me successful when I travel overseas or. Across time zones and do things that are difficult for me as, a diabetic, and while it might seem like a small thing I, have had moments where someone. Would see my my, implants, and come up and say my son or my daughter is as diabetic and I was worried about their future but I saw that you just did a keynote demo while. Simultaneously checking, your blood sugar and managing all your tubing, it's, nice to know that you can be out there and you know representation. Of all kinds of matters I, think. That's fantast and I agree with you representation. Matters, to. That Jackie. Tony, towns Whitley he's a leader at Microsoft frequently, will talk about bias and she says I can't cover anything I'm a black woman she. Said it's all there so. That. Being said that kind of leading you there what. Do you and I really if you have like three things you, think we could do today to make a difference 5 10 or 15 years from now yeah. That's, a big, question noted question there so, yeah you ever you can see that I am a black, female in technology. What. What you also mean, may or may not see is that I'm also an introvert and coming. Up here is a big deal for me so. I think. And, I'm a thinker, you know I take a long time to put stuff out there so all of these things I think, that what the first thing is about having, a social conscience and I. Think. Focusing, on your organizational, for, social, conscience. Is really important because you naturally think about we versus. I and so, one, is what's the social conscience of your organization. How can you as you think about what you're doing make sure it's a we thing not, and I think um, the. Second thing for me is about self-awareness. As an individual. If. You're self-aware you. Will know as, Scott mentioned he he had a bias, towards, the young person, you. May have a bias or something conscious, org but your self-awareness helps, you become, more inclusive so, that's that's the second, thing and the third thing for me is being, empathetic, as an.
Individual, As an organization, as a team, and I think if you you know you we may think about prescriptive. Structural. Types of activity. To do things but this all stems from who. You are the, ethos of who you are your social conscience your. Self-awareness and, your. Empathy I, think. That's incredible. And I think the way you started, with you're a nurturer and this takes a lot I'm. An introvert people, don't realize that after this week I'm gonna go hide for about two days I want no human contact um. I'll be with my dogs but I think that in tech there are a lot of introverts, so. When you see people and, this is I'll talk just once thinking about where I can be a little difference. A biased, I see people in the hallway that I know that I've seen on stage or I've seen online and I expect them to be that same effusive. Hey and great to see you and I get sometimes, I'll get a little offended when they they're, a little awkward but you know what I'm horribly, awkward so we, have to remember that people aren't always there public presence, too and I think that that being that self-aware, and having empathy is, incredibly, important, there, Tara. You. Know your role in customer, success engineering. Obviously, it's very important, our customers are successful, but. I also, infrequently. Concerned about the, bias we're building into tech and. There was even yesterday, there, was a medical I, can't remember who was right now but I was reading an article that. There was a medical piece of software that was written and using machine learning that they found out was biased no surprise there but, how do we future-proof, against, that how do we actually future, proof against bomb in the tech not just the humans but actually in the technologies. That were producing. So. I like, you were talking about I lead an engineering team called customer success and our, primary focus is to include improve, our customer satisfaction I, want to tell you just a little bit about an event we've got coming up because I'm very excited, about what, our engineering, team is doing under, such his leadership we've been focusing a lot of our time and energy on changing. The culture and how we work together and, one, of the things that we talked about in, the leadership team was also taking, that same idea and applying it to our products and so we as, a leadership, team each, picked, what we are calling a customer, hassle, that we think can improve, inclusion, in our products, and trying, to take it from an internal, focus in how we work to having, our products help showcase our, values, and so.
Each Of the leaders chose. A hassle. To work on the gentleman that leads the security, team picked a hassle related, to how can we improve the bias and understanding, of how we're looking at security, of M 365, the. Hassle I chose is about adding. A feature hopefully. I'll see if this this, happens but during, our fix heck learn event in two weeks my, intention, is to lead a B team where we help. Under others in our organization, understand, how to pronounce somebody's, name so, I don't know yet how we're will integrate it into the products or how we'll actually build it but the idea is I want to create a more inclusive set. Of products that our customers can. Utilize so, those are just a couple of examples of the ideas but I'm excited that the security, leader really was taking the bias focus. Seriously, and in, creating, a B team around that. Excellent. Okay, oh we talk a lot about ally ship and. I talk a lot about Ally ship I say it's much more important, for a you, know a, man. To advocate, for women in tech that. It is at times for women to advocate for women in tech or it's much more important, for me and by the way I have a lot of privilege as a white female to advocate, for Donovan. Or for pea or for Jackie right so, that Ally ship is incredibly, important. Can. You talk about how, we build, up those who give, practical advice, to our audience and how they can be great, allies, well. I'm glad you picked that question because I really like this topic. I think first half a lay ship is a new term that, we've started to introduce into the marketplace I think, it's in support of all of the DNI. Work. That's been done over, the last has, to say five years well. This kind of it's, an all-inclusive act. That we all can. Take advantage, of, often. Most people think hell I ship is just, those that are not in minority, state or, those. Are not underrepresented, and, yes, for the majority it is those types but. It also can apply inside, of your own, ethnic. Group as well for. Me I've, had great allies, over the years whether. It be females or males that. I've built relationships with, and, I really. Owe some, of the success that I have today to. Those leaders and you all know who you are. But. For an example and, allied for me is. A person, that is. Brave. First, off you must have bravery so. If you're a brave person or you like to act in. A brave manner this, is a way that you can showcase whether, it be in a meeting. Closed, meeting. Where. You speak up or maybe.
You Recognize, that Donovan, over here was talking and his. Comment, wasn't hurt his, idea. Was. Just skipped over these. Are times as you can kind of step in and say hey, Donovan you know I heard that you were saying. X you know y&z kind. Of bringing the conversation back, to what, the person was saying because often, in, those rooms, maybe, small or big. Minorities. Are often forgotten about or not listened to and, those. Are times that we need to make sure as allies, if you take that role that. You show up and be brave and kind of bring the circle, of the conversation, back another. Example, would probably be when. There is an, opportunity. That you hear about and, you. Heard through the grapevine maybe the person didn't. Talk to you and say that they were looking for a job but. You heard that someone, on the team was, going to be leaving the team. Now. An ally, in this case would, say well. And, just, talked about a role I heard, in a meeting we were in yesterday. And, maybe. I'm not friends, with Jackie. But, Jackie was looking for a role and this is just an example I. Would say oh well pull, Jackie to the side and I'm the ally in this case Jackie. Hey, not. Sure if, you're looking but if you are I heard that there are some opportunities over, in hands organization. That, is another way that you can act as an ally and if, you are closer, to Anne then Jackie might be then. You would say would you like me to give you an introduction into, and. Because. Ian's, looking for someone and I think your skills would be great. That's. A way that you can act as an ally, lastly. I think a great way to act as an ally where if you're, an introvert and you're, not very vocal and you don't want to speak up in those rooms we, also have LinkedIn which, is a tool that you can use to put recommendations. On so. If you found that in a meeting Donovan, myself. I showed up and you. Were impressed well. Send me a note on LinkedIn, ask, me if you can maybe, provide a recommendation, provide. Some insight that others might not see in. That meeting or in your office space so and. Those are some ways and I think that allies. If you wanting to become one these, are ways that you can do it whether you're an introvert or an extrovert I think, that's fantastic, and one of the things that you know we use a lot of teams here at Microsoft right if you have folks that are in meetings and they're on the phone be, the person in the room that's including them in the conversation because. It's incredibly hard, to be included in the conversation and, if, you are an introvert or maybe there are some ones used to being overlooked. You're not going to assert yourself especially. When you're on teams call so.
Donovan, I didn't just save you for last I saved you for lost intentionally, okay you've. Led a lot of different teams at Microsoft, and you've had the opportunity to hire and bring folks into the organization, so, I wanted, to ask you what are your best tips for recruiting. And and the way I define diversity inclusion is that everyone, has a voice right so what are your best tips for, including. You know across, a wide, spectrum of backgrounds. Whether it be educational, Association, AMA core other backgrounds, and then, really creating an inclusive environment so, people stay, I think we do a pretty good job on the recruiting I'm so sure that we're, always leaning in on that inclusivity, for retention it's, it's a lot of listening as a manager, that I've noticed that I have to do and it's. It's listening for things that aren't gonna be necessary, vocal you'll see it in their mannerisms, you'll see it in their body language in a meeting but you have to look for those things that if. They don't tell me that they're hurting sometimes, we just let them hurt they're, sitting there suffering in silence because, they don't have that the, power to go and say that something is wrong so I'm constantly, looking for any indication that, could be a sigh it, could just be a look down it could be anything that I need to go okay I'm gonna go double-click on that later but I don't want to embarrass them or call them out in this particular meeting but I need to go why you feel that way what, could I do in the next meeting to make sure you don't feel that way because at that point I think that person, felt excluded for, whatever reason, overlooked, ignored and, I need to make sure that I start stamping that out and as a leader I start to vocalize, the fact that I don't appreciate that type of behavior and this is the type of culture, that I want to build on the team that I'm going to lead and I'm. Very passionate when I see me on stage I'm the same way in a meeting right if you say something that I don't I mean I'm gonna lean in and you're gonna know that I mean what I'm talking about and I think it's important that my team understand, that that's the passion that I want my team note to, exhibit. And that we're gonna encourage, that in everybody, even if they disagree and. I've noticed that hiring, was interesting, for me because we, all have biases, as we've all described, and, you kind of have to lean into yours if, I have a negative. Reaction to someone that I don't even know when I see them I have to question myself one like why is that, why are you prejudging, this person, and. You don't think that they're fit for this role and you haven't even spoken to them yet right that's not fair to them and I, think I did a pretty good job because my team is really what pretty well diverse my first team I built had an Asian and a young woman and we've had different sexual orientations, on the team and I was like I just want the best right. And, if you're the best I don't care what color you are I don't care what legend you are I'm just gonna let all that go away and just say can, you solve this problem for me and luckily, for me it was a woman that could solve it there was someone who was sexually. There, their, orientation, is fluid and I just didn't care I was like that's not what I'm here to talk about it's not where I'm focused on I'll focus on this problem and you're the best person for that and the, team becomes, more diverse you get perspectives, that you wouldn't otherwise get, if, I went off and did what my manager asked me to do was to go build a team of Donovan's that's literally what I was told to go do we want a team of Donovan's I was like that would be horrible right one is enough and, a whole team of me would be way too much what I actually want to do is go build a team that makes Donovan, better and, that's people who know what Donovan doesn't know who, have had experience, that Donovan doesn't have and that's what I was looking for when I built my team it wasn't a race it wasn't a religion, it wasn't a gender it was diversity, and thought it, was their diversity and experience, and lo.
And Behold that ends up being a very colorful, group of people physically, and emotionally, as, well fantastic. I'm, gonna tell a quick story that's. A really heartening. Story about something, about the Microsoft culture I want to do a little bit of housekeeping and let the folks that are running the clock know the clock isn't running so I don't know how much time we have on the panel, and. Then I'm gonna open up the floor to questions while they fix the clock I'm gonna tell a little, bit of a story and, then we'll open up the floor questions, because that'll guide B of actually how many we, have for questions. But. So. I had a a woman, approached me a few weeks ago who I know well and is in one of our engineering organizations. And she's. An Asian Indian woman and, she. Was really frustrated, about an experience she had in a meeting where, an. Asian. Indian man came in the room and he shook hands and said hello to every other man the room and he ignored her and then. He sat down and, she. Called me and she said you know I'm really unhappy with this experience, but not only that she was looking for guidance right she said it happens frequently that, the Indian men in this organization, ignore the Indian women and didn't dismiss. Us and dismiss our comments, and ignore us and, I was like wow I said okay not a you know something culturally, I I obviously, don't experience, and she said and she had you know she's, not been in the u.s. very long and she said well this is just very cultural, and that's why I left India and I was like okay she was quite upset and. I said well let me let me lean, in as an ally here and help you not just as a mentor and give you some coaching and mentoring which I did and told her that I felt she should actually go the person when she relaxed, and calm down and had a conversation with him and just, said you know here's why I felt, what you did was. Was, hurtful, to me and let him know cuz maybe he doesn't even realize that he's bottling, those behaviors right this is my you, know trying to give everyone the benefit the doubt but, I also the hardening part was I called, the, senior, engineering, leader in that organization, who I happen to know and I said hey and. I said I just want, you to know that. This woman in your organization. Experienced, this this. Is how she reflected. Upon it and this is why she thought, it occurred and she also thinks it's a systemic problem in, your organization. And his. Response and I was like okay I said I'm you know trying not to walk across a line too far here's it's not my organization, but his response to me was so heartening, thank, you for letting me know I was. Unaware I'm. Really. Disappointed this, experience, happened I, will. Address it throughout my organization. He, said I'm actually going to have a meeting and talk to my leaders so tell them this is unacceptable, and he did, and then he followed up with me, and I. Was like that. Is the way to truly. Be an ally, on his part right I was showing some Elijah PI just letting him know this but, he not only committed, to taking action he, reflected, on it he internalized it and he took the action, I was like wow that, is the type of things that's gonna take if we're gonna change the culture and that unconscious.
Bias Because I do think this may have been a reflection of just some, ingrained, behaviors, right you we all are a reflection of how we grew up every single one of us what's inside of us is a reflection, of our life experiences, how we grew up in the experiences, we've had thus far we all have biases, I have my own right, and we, all need to be that self-aware, and show empathy and then act on those biases, but, we have we, have 30 minutes left so I would love to take questions and, then I do have questions I can continue ask the panel but I think you'll all get more value out of this you, have a really. Broad range of experiences, on the stage a great group of people and I believe you can ask open, questions so, I'm gonna open up the floor. Hear. Me oh I. Have, a question I'm, really interested in what you spoke. About about women, in power and, taking. On sort, of the, traditional powerful. Role which, is more of a masculine role than feminine, role. Historically. Women haven't, been very empowered, now, that, they're merging, into, this power space it's, true that we, don't have a lot of role models we don't really know how to be powerful, women and. I saw a statistic that said most women in tech have been called a the, B word at. Some point. And, some. Of us. Have. Experienced. Women. Who actually do. You. Know treat. People unfairly, have. Taken, on a really. Toxic. Masculinity. And, I don't blame, them or anything I'm empathetic. But. It's. Not good for any of us right, so it's so. I'd like to talk. To you about or, ask you to talk about sisterhood, in tech and how, we can help women, learn. Good. Managerial. Behaviors, and avoid, the, negative ones which, I do think exist, but I don't, think it's necessarily. On purpose or willingness. So. I'm willing to start, kind, of take that risk and step out there happy. To, jump in I think a little bit of that is a generational. I'm. Comment, I think, if your your my generation, which by the way is forgotten I've learned repeatedly, that nobody cares about Generation, X I'm good with that by the way um, but, if you're my generation, and up there. Were less roles for women so. We were quite competitive and we wanted to be look if a woman's gonna get that job it's gonna be me so. We weren't always as supportive, of other, women, unfortunately. We. Just weren't we were assimilating, into a culture that was very competitive and we wanted to make sure that if that job elevated, job came up but they were only gonna consider one woman for the job or the promotion or whatever and that glass ceiling was there boy, it was gonna be me that got it right and, I. Will tell you that it's taken, it was probably about 15 years ago in my career that it took me this realization. Of wow you, actually have achieved more, than you ever thought you deceive in your career and you actually have a responsibility, to help all these women beside, you it behind you get, to a good place and it. Was a wake-up call about something, I won't go into the super specifics but something very specific that happened that, took me there but. Once I went there we went all in and I, realized, that by actually, embracing. And encouraging. Other women, and. People, of color and, people that were that, there they didn't identify you know with with their birth gender and people that you know just were whatever. For whatever reason vulnerable, and marginalized it actually helped me as a human bro and, it also helped me as a manager because I became more, empathetic, but, it took a lot of learning, and a lot of to, get there and. I do think there's a more generational, because as I watch the women who are say you know 15. To 20 years younger than me they behave very differently than, I behaved at that age they are much more embracing of each other but, I will I will give it over to the to the panel for thoughts, I'll. Agree with you and I'll, give you a specific example to. Microsoft. For. Those women who've been at Microsoft a long time it. Was tough, there's. No doubt about it, I worked. With a senior. Technologist. Female, at Microsoft when I first started at Microsoft, and she had a really bad reputation and I. Took her to lunch one day and I. Said to her. It's. Okay you're, at the top now you don't have anything more to prove and, she burst out crying and, she. Started crying as she started, to tell me how, difficult, her, story was and how, she this imposter, syndrome she's, had for the longest time and it. Wasn't until, somebody. Reached, out to her to say something that she really became, vulnerable and opened, up and changed, who she was so, from a generational, perspective I, agree, with you I think, when you think about the younger.
Generation. Of, women I think. They naturally. Have more, camaraderie. Because. The, barrier. Perceived. Barrier, in the, beginning is not there now, I would say that they don't they they don't see senior, level people women, of power in, senior level positions more readily but they're there challenging, they will challenge the status quo more, so than we stepped we did it in our generation, I also. Think it's important, for the, Allied ship to. Continue, in a way that breaks. Down barriers and, for. Each one of us up here I'm sure. We. We, take it upon ourselves to, do, that. So. I agree, with and I would, build. On that and that I call. It I guess putting your own oxygen mask on before you assist, others, at. Some point though you just, need to help others and you. Need to lift other women up and I'm stealing, a phrase from Melinda Gates she's just written a book called the power of lift and she talks about it in terms of how to help, women in humanity, because, it'll make the world better and I think helping women in tech, or in any business will make the entire business better and, part of that is we, have these inclusive, meeting behaviors at Microsoft, and one of them is be brave and so, we all in my leadership. Team we all adopted, one and so joy. Is joy, Chik as my manager, and she. Knew that mine was be brave and hers was make, sure every voice is heard and so, I could I could never hide in a meeting if I had a thought, and I she could tell by the look on my face that I wasn't gonna say anything then she'd call on me and. After, a while I realized that I was probably my, biggest barrier, because, I was playing it safe and you, mentioned survivor and I think there's there's two modes of operation you're, in survival mode or you're in growth mode and if, you can get out of Survivor mode and into growth mode then all things are possible and you. Mentioned in the the question that was asked was how do women help women, what. I think is really encouraging that there's there's, hope and there's prosperity. Ahead is I now see men helping women far. Beyond just the, beginning, of a lie ship but they're starting to do it in the community, of a team and I'm, gonna be brave and I'm gonna talk about something that we're actually doing here at ignite. It's. Very common, that we might have a woman, in engineering working, the booth and, someone. Will come up and say, can. I talk to someone in engineering, and the. Woman will say yes I'm. Here and I, say no I want, to talk to someone technical, and then. The woman I'll say I'm technical. And, you. Needless, to say these conversations. Get super, awkward and, women. Are very demoralized, by that and. What happened on my team is the men on the team went that's, not okay so. They developed the system where if the. Woman, just wouldn't get. An audience with the person asking the question the. The man would come in and answer the question and then walk. Away because. If they stayed there and took over the conversation, then the woman was forgotten. So. We, built on that and and this isn't any credit of mine this is what my team came to me last week and said we need to do better at ignite we need to make sure that the women who come to ignite have, an opportunity, to show what they're, capable of, contributing, to the event and so, we came up with the whole protocol, of how to move. A person maybe. Even. To a person early in career so that they have an opportunity to participate and how, to actually work, as a team, to be able to lift. Everyone, not that's on the team and so. That's me the power that we will get as women is when everyone realizes, that we all win together and, we, do those kinds of things I would, love I. Would. Love to hear I'm, gonna put either Donovan or Scott on the spot your, thoughts on on this. So. It wasn't on the same topic so if that was a. There's. A buddy of mine named Antoine.
Simmons. A and, Ju, a and and, he has, a talk that he's given that you should go and Google, with Bing for, that's. Called lending, lending. Privilege and I think that that's one, of the things that that men. Can do in a situation these situations, is to to. Lend our privilege if. We are asked a question say oh in fact this, is the right person that you should speak in and then just step back I, think. That's great and Melissa before we take the next question I want to hear your comment even if it's a totally different well, so not completely different you brought up the point if there aren't enough people and enough role models right, higher-ups so one of the things that we did I'm one of, unfortunately. Just a couple of managing, directors within our internal. IT, organization. And so one of the things that we did as part of our women's, network was started. A speaker series where we invited. Managing. Directors from throughout the organ, throughout Accenture, to come and talk about kind, of their career, journey you. Know how they went through the organization, or what, other organizations, they were a part of and this, started as a way to provide. Those opportunities for. Our female, employees to see people in role. Model positions, but what we've really seen is like the whole organization. Has, really, embraced this, and we have, you know all sorts, of allies saying hey I have a relationship with this woman we. Why don't we have her come and talk what you could interview her I could interview her like that sort of thing and its really taken off it's been really great to have all of our employees be able to benefit, from these different career journeys I think, also the fact that we continue to have events like this I was in one of these earlier, because. My life perspective, is drastically. Different sigh here these stories and it hurts my heart because I was raised by a really powerful woman, so, I don't see the struggle, because, she fought those fights so I never, looked at as a woman less than my mom's badass, right it's like that's the only way I ever saw my mother as she was she just got stuff done so to me I'm like yeah we're all equal right because look at what my mother's done but, then when I hear this I realize like everyone's not equal and I need to hear, that everyone's not like your mother right, and stop and thus not assuming that everyone here is able to do what your mother did because it's not fair to have that expectation of everyone and it's. Good to hear that no Donavan that's not true for everybody I think it's good to have this and, I think it is I think the one thing I would reflect on we're talking about future perfect so I want to come back to with. This comment is it, doesn't matter what your level is by the way you could, be the most senior executive. At Microsoft, and still experience bias. You, could be a subject matter expert in your field and a senior woman at Microsoft, and still experience bias, there. Is a woman at Microsoft, who is a very senior leader a subject matter expert. Unbelievably. Capable, and talented and but. She not, only she is sure woman she speaks English very heavily accented because she's not a native you know English, speaker, and she. Gets talked over in meetings in a way that is beyond disrespectful and I don't even think people realize they're doing it I think it's the double of of. Part. Of being a woman part of a cultural, thing that she's not as assertive as some of the people in the room but also because, of her accenting, so, there are other people now we have a group of two or three of us that bring her make sure that she her voice is heard we've gotten together as we all notice it and so we're gonna make sure if we're in the meetings with her because we're not always in the same meetings that her voice is heard the, other thing I would say another example, of really good behavior is I have a man on my team who came to me one day one of my managers and said look I'm not just being ever again another, unless, there's a woman or a person of color on the panel I'm, not I said I'm turning them all down.
The. Story you told a moment ago about the woman who the, gentleman didn't shake her hand that. Happened to my mother right before I was having knee surgery the. Doctor comes in shakes, my father's hand he shakes my hand does not shake my mother's hand my, mother politely, said I can also shake hands too how. Do we get women to just go ahead love your mother exactly. Right then, but then I'm hearing this story and I realize like all women don't say that right and then the doctor literally caught his bison apologized. And he actually gave my mother a hug trying to overcompensate, but it was just it, was just interesting to see my mother and again, it's just I'm, biased I suppose because I think all women are just gonna say hey you, missed me it's, in it's it's important, for all of us to hear that that's not what's happening we won't and I actually I'm gonna call out somebody in the audience because I want to carry on that story it doesn't just happen to women like my chief of staff is somewhere in this room I don't, know where he is but if he'd stood up make. Him stand up. So. I want everyone to see my chief of staff okay. It's important to the story we. Were in a customer, meeting and, it was a customer so it's you know it's it's, a little less comfortable than if you're at Microsoft, and the, customer refused to shake his hand coming in the room and, we. Thought well maybe just missed him we're giving again the benefit that he said to me he texted, me he said well I was kind of awkward I said well maybe just missed you there were four or five people in the room, refused. Literally, refused to shake his hand walking out of the room, so. I will tell you that bias doesn't, just exist against. Women, and as an ally I wish, I had said something in the moment but I couldn't think of the right thing to say to balance, that customer. And. All. I said to myself is I'm never going to bring, him into a meeting again with that customer because I will refuse to put my chief of staff or anyone in an uncomfortable situation but. Let's go to our next question. Spent. 2013. To 2017, as, the mayor of DeKalb Illinois I'm sorry can you start the beginning again my, father spent.
Four. Years as, the mayor of DeKalb Illinois and one. Thing that he learned in visiting a mosque was. That from a religious, perspective and. I'm. Not an expert I'm. Telling a story or relating, a story I heard was. That certain, Muslim. Men might. Not feel comfortable from, a religious, perspective, shaking. Or touching another woman and he said that one way that they would greet. Was by putting their hand over their chest and bowing. I, wonder. If that's something that maybe, in these cases of man. Not shaking a woman's hand it could be religious, and potentially. Something. That should be taken into account comments. I'm, gonna let the panel go and then I'll say something about it I've. Been very blessed to travel extensively and, filled. A couple of passports, and I, have, found that whether, it be religious. Where someone. Hijab'. And doesn't want to shake hands they balance that or is, a germaphobe, and fist bumps or elbow. Bumps or whatever, everybody's. Got a style and there. Will be a moment where you go like this and a. A complete, rebuff, of course is offensive, but oh you, know I've got a cold or Oh I don't shake hands or I don't shake I've been somewhere spoke, to another speaker said I don't shake hands with men well, nice, to meet you and you, you move right on that's about inclusion, because what inclusion is, is the, opposite, of exclusion. So we exclude, no one and you, roll with it being rebuffed certainly. Is inappropriate, but rolling. With their their, style of their culture makes a lot of sense it. Does and that's that's all I was gonna say is in order for us to be inclusive we actually have to include everyone which means there are certain, there. There are Japanese men that won't shake a woman's hand there are Jewish men that are very traditional that won't shake one's hand there are Muslim men there virtually at will and I recognize, those when I'm in those cultures and sometimes I will ask I will say you know is it appropriate right because I may not always know by looking at them. Have. A game plan before you. Or. And ask your if you're traveling, when I go to two, places the Middle East I'll ask my companion. Peers at Microsoft, what is the appropriate culture. Because you also can't assume just because someone is Muslim, or Jewish or Japanese they're not gonna shake one's hand they're certain more traditional, so that's, part of being inclusive right is and then when I say, that in a meaningful way because, I'm just gonna put this out there I hear. From a lot of white.
Men That they don't feel included. And, I say part of being inclusive, is you are inclusive. And that includes, that everyone's, voice is heard. And I, Drive that a lot with my team because it's incredibly, important, that everyone, feels like they have a voice if you're not including. The. White man any more than you're including, me. Then, you're not being inclusive, and that's you know if you're not including the religious person they're not being, inclusive so you have to be respectful and that's that empathy when I go back to Jack I love it it's the empathy all right next question please can. I just add one thing is so, for, someone who is, a black female and has, interacted. And had many negative, interactions, one, way for me my coping, mechanism is, to assume positive intent, because, if I assume positive intent, first then. I will seek to understand. Versus. This visceral reaction, of darnit. It was because they didn't like me and all sorts, of things so for me part of it my psyche is about assuming, positive, intent and I think that's really really important. Hi. I work for a federal agency and I. Was. Two. Years previous, two, years in row I was on what. We called our employee, engagement, team, where, we were tasked with evaluating, the, our, agency. Scores for the federal employee, viewpoint survey. And. We. Were to help our, organization's, leadership, with. Providing, them recommendations in, helping, them implement programs, for improving, improving, our employee engagement, scores, and our overall fabs. Scores. At EVs, is federal employee viewpoint survey so. What. We found was for several years our employees. Who identified, as having disabilities actually. Had lower levels of employee engagement, even. Lower than the government-wide, average, and if you've ever looked at the government-wide average, for, employees. At federal employees is consistently, low and it's pretty bad if we were lower than that so. One. Question I have for you all is, do. You either have programs, or have recommendations. For improving. Employee. Engagement for, employees, who have. Oh identify. As having disabilities. Satya. Has a big, we've, been. Accessibility. A priority at, Microsoft, lately and I remember I'm color blind so, it's one of those disabilities you can't even see but, it affects me in, a every, day right I don't know what likes color the lights, are I'm. A big DevOps guy if you know me and our, agents. Would go offline or online and the only way you would know if that they were either green or red so to me I never knew if my agents were online or offline and then when I challenged the engineers like Don if I just hover over it there's a tooltip like and I'm supposed to just know that and. Then now it says online offline clear as day you need to have both of those type of things so that Microsoft Satya also has a child of disability, and I think that's, something. That in he knows, this intimately. And now we have entire teams that are talking about making sure that our products are accessible, and I remember I was in a room, and, I was talking about how hard it was for me to use it and another guy in the back says well I'm completely blind make your products even better than that and I took that personally, I was like you, got it and I went back and that's why I found out that we had all these initiatives cuz I was trying to figure out how I could make it better and got tied in so it's, something that we do is very seriously at Microsoft, there's a national. Average and Satya, has deemed that we're gonna meet above. Average and we're, all trying that and on every product team that I know of it Microsoft, to make our products more accessible, oh heck oh that when Satya, first started as CEO that was one of the first things that he really pushed us on as an engineering team we had I think fallen, behind and, when you were looking at the customers. And what they were choosing they weren't choosing us because, of our accessibility, features and so we, poured. A lot of energy into creating, scorecards. Across our entire division, to make sure that we upped our game and now, it's so awesome to see us winning these large contracts, and it's because of some of the accessibility features that we even open-source the library we've open sourced our toolset we started to centralize, on a control, library, because every. Team was doing it differently developers. Weren't looking at that as quality, so we've changed their mindsets, right this is something that you're thinking about upfront not trying to bolt it on later and now that we have this common controls.
When You drop it into your product you already have accessibility, because we design it into the control itself right so it's allowing us to do this on a much more broad, scale as well because we're making it taking it serious. To make sure that we do touch, on what the young lady's question was specifically, to employee engagement as well we've got specific, hiring programs, around autism we, do I've had people who on my team who are dyslexic and these are simply accommodations. That one should make if, someone needs this particular font because they need that or they want an extra pair of eyes to review a PowerPoint, deck I don't, think of that as being a weakness it is simply an accommodation, that one would need whether. It be a wheelchair, ramp because I simply want to get here or I could. Use an extra pair of eyes because I might have gotten these numbers wrong or these words wrong in this PowerPoint we, are happy to accommodate and we try to do whatever, we can Melissa. Do you have a point of view from Accenture so. I actually have the honor of running our accessibility, remediation. Program within. Internal, IT so we're on a journey, we're. Aiming, to have you know many most, of our interactions. Be accessible, and it's amazing. To get the feedback from our from our employees, we're you, know we've been able to put something in place that, they. May have had to ask someone for help you know at the beginning of their day which is kind of demoralizing. Right like I just want to get going and get started so, you, know there's a variety of work streams that we're working on just a couple weeks ago some, of our leadership was here meeting at the EDC and they met with Jenny and it. Was a really. Really exciting discussion, and I expect, more partnership, around, both of our companies around the accessibility, journey yeah, Jenny Lafleur who's our chief accessibility officer will is really, driving it at Microsoft from a hiring and that's what I was going to point out Scott was the hiring programs from how we're building inclusive solutions. And it's personal for me I'm completely blind in my right eye most people don't know that so for me it's it's a very I take it very probably told her that story once because I've covered it the covering topic my entire life because I felt it was a weakness and finally I feel like there's a safe space I can talk about it anyway, next question please hello. So. I've been reading a lot about growth, mindset, and so you've referred, to it for, being brave and Tara, you mentioned, about creating. A great culture, one of one of the things that I've. Been. Reading about is. Actually about Microsoft, and Satya himself, as, a great example of a CEO. With a with a growth mindset and so I was really intrigued when you mentioned the leadership team coming, together to create a great culture. Can. You expand, more on that what are you trying to do and how do you change culture, across such a huge company yeah, so. It's something that really I think has started with Satya he has changed, the, way that we really talk. About inclusion. I think it started out more as a diversity, angle. Where it was more about our hiring practices and making sure that we had some of the basics, and now, this year I think there's been a little bit of and a good shift to more of an inclusive focus. We're really trying to make sure that voices, can be heard people, can come in and do their best work and so, that's been a huge transformation I think for the company and just have seen a lot, of just. A lot of conversations, being open up between, employees, and making. It okay to have those conversations, there's. Also a lot of scrutiny there's, surveys. So the previous question was about some of the surveys that had been run we have surveys at Microsoft, as well one, that is done annually, that we called the poll and then, every month there's also a pulse survey getting, sent out and as leaders we look at that data and we look at places where we have challenges. Or where we have great things happening and try and learn from those best. Practices but, I think really to, me it comes down to opening, up the ability to have conversations. Amongst. The employees and really bring it to the surface so. That people feel, like they can bring, their their, authentic, self and do their best work and some of the training, that we have like, the mandatory training that will have at Microsoft, we have this diversity, and inclusion and, unconscious. Bias actor, training is unbelievable. The. Training it's training you want to engage in and then you leave there so much more, feel, like you're empowered, to go do the right thing I remember, one of them that I took the woman said so how many of you have an accent and a few people raised her hand she said everyone in this room should have raised your hand because.
You All have an accent right but we don't see it that way and it's like just that one little thing like well holy I need to rethink everything that I think I know about everything because it's true everyone in this room has an accent and that, type of engaged, training. Wasn't just watching these videos these are people, coming, to you acting out skits not, shaking people's hands and saying what did you just see in that scene and let's go have a really good dialogue over it and it's been fantastic, fantastic, training we're also doing the values training we're good. It's. An important point in terms of learning. As an organization. As an individual. And culturally. And and, I would say that you know the great thing about it is as Satya. Himself, becomes, more, aware, learning. And growing in, terms of his role he's doing that we are doing that with him so, we are growing as an organization, we're learning about ourselves we're having a social conscience, we're understanding, that, everyone's, different, and when you start to have those conversations, you engage people more because everybody. Feels that they can be part of the conversation. And. We've reflected that we were doing all these trainings, like dialogue cross differences, which is a sackter, training and a lot of other trainings, but we weren't explained, to our employees by so, we're all now going through a values, training what are the core values of, Microsoft. That we actually espouse, to when we all need to reflect so these other trainings, layer on top of that it's an every single person in the organization is going through the values training between now and January, it's an incredible, exercise we. Have time for one more question. Hi. I. Think. That, there's, a lot of more. Awareness about, the. Need for inclusion, and diversity some. Time to the point of negativity, where. People can assume, that by. My color I'm one thing or, and. There's. A lot of that written and I, have I feel like I've, been in the workforce over, thirty years I have. A 24, and and 25 26, year old boys that are, now men I'm supposed to call them men and. The. Thing is that I sometimes. Think, we've been having the same conversations. The, whole life and even in this narrative, we say it's getting better it's. Gonna get better and. What. I say, is my, kids grew. Up with a working, mom and. A working dad they. Saw. Us lead, I have. Friends, of every. Diversity. So. The, question, I have is how, they, come out ready, to tackle the world in a new way, and, I. Think there's a lot of people in this room how, do we make it not be that, I'm dead. Okay, and another. Forty years and we're, still talking, about this, and I, guess what I'd say my final question would, be what. Do you tell your 22, year old self.
That. We could change the world so we're leaving it in a place where we're, talking about something more important, and in a way like that's really shared, across, all of us like hopefully, we're on space by then or something and we're worried about climate change on Earth from space or some. Big tech things so what would we do, to make, it so next year, we're in a different place what would you tell your 22, year old self. I'm. Gonna give that to the panel and I'm going I'll do the final that's a wrap. I've. Got 11 year old and 13 year old sons, and. They. Are mixed, but they are also black, so. They. Are trying to understand what that means. And my, little 11 year olds I was, walking, in the mall and he. Was upset, because he didn't get the nod. He. Sees another black man I go. Daddy. He's not giving me the nod. Is. That because I'm mixed it's like I think it's probably cuz you're short. If. We assume best intent, and. We roll with that then, I think we'll probably be okay I don't think that it's gonna be over in 50 years or a hundred years but, I do know that I tried to watch some movies from the 80s and 90s and. I just can't do it anymore because they're so cringy, with. Workplace, sexual. Harassment, and uncomfortableness. And that, is within. My lifetime and, I assume that there will be things that we will do and say now if not even on this stage that would be cringy, later and I don't think it is simply something that we can dismiss as political, correctness I think it is simply the, way when you say political correctness I think treating, people like nice human beings so, I would just tell your young sons as I tell mine that it, gets better assume. Best intent. Be kind to everyone if you make a mistake apologize, I would. Also add start with yourself so. What. Can you do yourself to make it better and not assume, that someone else is gonna do it your. Own oxygen. Mask on as I said earlier. What. Else we. Have a bride you, know this wasn't over up this is a tough one for me that. Was a really good question by the way I was just having a conversation with someone the other day about. The, same thing and, it. Was I was talking to so go I did this Real Talk thing with this lady and and, then I told her I was just like wow I heard her do this same talk, ten. Years ago, it's, amazing, that she's talking about the same thing again. You, know I'd like to think that in, a way especially. For you. Know my diverse set that. Things are getting better but, when. I think they are something. Just happens and it just feels. Like it's not okay. And I'm. A real talker so I don't really but. I think, I think you're right I agree with my colleagues, here is, that it starts, with, yourself. And, it starts with, you. Trying to understand, a different point of view in, a different perspective you, don't have to agree with that perspective you. Don't even have to like it but I think that's what makes, the. World so beautiful um, is that we, all bring different different. Flavors different types. Of, motives. As to why we do things and, I was just explaining, the other day that it's. Just surprising to me that just of 2014. We, just started. Doing, you, know crash tests, and vehicles, with, female crash dummies. And. I'm in 5g so we looking at all these things and trying to figure out how, do we plan for the future the right way. But. When, you look back at your life and, a lot of times people like I'm not diverse because, I'm a majority, well you are I guarantee, you there's someone in your life that's either, disabled, that's. Been biracial of some way that is, married outside of their race and you. Bring diverse, perspective, whether you know it or not because. You are if, you are not experienced, and that yourself, you are around people. That have it so, therefore you have perspective, I have, cousins I grew up with that were deaf or hearing. Impaired let me say it that way and. It's. Not that I know what it's like to be that but. I know what it's like to build technology, that, provides greater. Usability, for, those people and, that gives me that verse perspective, not just because I'm a color so. I think when, we start looking at things a little bit differently and trying, to really. See how this DNI thing relates. To us as human beings I think, we can then push it further so I'd say start with yourself and look at your you, know look at the people that around you that are closest to you yeah, and I thank. You by the way I do, think the start with yourself is brilliant, advice and I have to wrap we're going to run over time but I want to say something there, were over a thousand, people registered, for this session so, that gives, me hope, for. The. Fact that. 25:57. I have an 18 year old daughter by the way that she's going to live and work and be in a very different world that I was in when I started in tech over 30 years ago a thousand.
People Registered, to attend this session and, we had to turn people away so there's, hope there and I, always hang on to, hope I want. To thank the panelists, I really want to thank Melissa, gets the brave award for sitting on a stage with a bunch of Microsoft, E's. And. I want to thank all of you because you give me hope you've sat here you've been of ten if you've listened I the folks I can see are engaged thank, you so much for being here have a great rest of the night.