Men Who Open Doors

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FountainBlue’s December 11 When She Speaks program was on the topic of Men Who Open Doors. We were fortunate to have such inspirational, passionate and diverse men for today’s When She Speaks program on the Men Who Open Doors topic. They spoke passionately about why they are committed to the cause of including women and those with diverse background, and the business benefits for doing so. Each panelist was nominated by awesome women leaders who benefited from their support. In general, these men shared many common qualities.

  • They are authentic, passionate and driven leaders committed to driving the business and empowering their people.
  • They have a wide range of perspectives and wisdom, earned from deep and diverse experience.
  • As inspiring and committed leaders, they are continually involved in participating deeply and giving back passionately.
  • They are each exceptional leaders, extraordinary fathers who put their people first – in thoughts, words and actions.
  • Their focus is not just on the individual women and men who would benefit from their support and sponsorship, but also for the product, for the team, for the organization as a whole.
  • Although they are respectful of those in charge, they are creative and resourceful in making their point and shifting the needle forward to create more impact.

Although they represented different companies and role, they each spoke to the business imperative of embracing diversity within their teams, their organizations.

  • Leveling the playing field will help put the best candidates in the best roles.
  • If the focus is on shareholder value, then having a diverse workforce consistently reflects improved shareholder value.
  • Having diversity of thought is a great cure for Groupthink, which is clearly and consistently a barrier to innovation and even problem solving and decision-making.
  • Doing the right thing builds culture, builds trust, builds credibility.
  • Speaking authentically for choices made around doing the right thing builds confidence and loyalty within and outside the organization.
  • Women are generally more engaged and committed to an organization and role, as reflected by corporate surveys. (Perhaps men feel equally passionate and committed, but may be less likely to show it with actions/commitment/tasks.)
  • The injustice of a double-standard is a blow to corporate culture.
  • Complex problems need to be solved by diverse teams. 

Below are some best practices shared to help companies open more doors for women and those with diverse backgrounds.

  • Giving everyone a chance to succeed and perform will raise the waters for all. 
  • Hiring gritty go-getters is many times better than hiring someone who checks off all the qualifications boxes.
  • Err on the side of asking uncomfortable questions. Pushing our assumptions and biases in a respectful way is a critical part of fostering change in a good way.
  • Consider using return-ship programs to recruit women who might be interested in returning to the workforce after taking a life-detour for example.
  • Sympathy and words are not enough. Actions will speak more loudly.
  • Alignment of thoughts, words and actions is an imperative if you want others to genuinely below in the commitment to the diversity cause.
  • Consider leveraging an internship program with diverse candidates and hiring graduates from these programs.
  • Hire the best candidate, the best athlete for the role.
  • Put your neck on the line if you need to. Making a stand for a candidate who delivers will speak volumes for yourself, for the candidate, and hopefully for your bottom line.
  • Build the self confidence of all your candidates, whether they are from diverse or more standard backgrounds.

The bottom line is that these men truly open doors for others in all senses of the word. Their integrity, their passion, their results shine through, inspiring us by example, and highlighting successes worthy of replication.

Please join me in thanking our panelists for FountainBlue’s December 11 Men Who Open Doors program, our hosts at Coupa Software and our nominating professionals.

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue 
  • Panelist Chris Allexandre, Senior Vice President & Executive, Renesas  
  • Panelist Ronald Goossens, Senior Director of Marketing, ASML 
  • Panelist Gabe Perez, VP Coupa West Sales, Coupa Software
  • Panelist Sajid Sadi, Vice President of Research, Head – Think Tank Team, Samsung
  • Panelist Nathan Sheranian, Senior Director Human Resources, Freshworks 
  • with opening remarks provided by Sheryl Chamberlain, Director Alliances, Coupa Software, Board Chair Coupa Empower
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