Inspiring Diversity at HP

 

 

A few weeks ago, I lectured at HP on diversity and gender equality in the global IT world for their Inspiration Day 2013, which was themed ”Putting our differences to work.” I had an absolute blast, it was an awesome group of people, and the other speakers were great too. My talk focused on how to work with diversity as an organization: what it looks like right now in the IT industry, crucial arguments for diversity in IT, and best practices for becoming great at diversity. (HP is already doing really well in terms of gender equality, with 45/55% men and women in Executive management in Sweden).

Another great highlight of the day was meeting HP’s Managing Director of Norway, Anita Krohn Traaseth. Her talk was entitled ”Confessions of a Managing Director,” and she was hilarious. She focused on individual-level actions that people can take to drive their own success, and she talked about her own success story. Her career started when she applied for a job at IBM with absolutely no experience and no degree in engineering, both of which were requirements. Instead of responding to the job ad with a resume and cover letter, she wrote a fake press release as if they had already hired her: ”As expected, IBM has hired Ms. Krohn Traaseth and welcome her to our team. Her long experience and creativity will be a welcome part of our team…” and so forth. Actually, out of 10 ”qualifications” for the job, she only had one: a good attitude. But that didn’t stop her. She didn’t get the job, but the hiring team found her response so interesting and creative that they invited her to a weekend for the executives at IBM, and she went, and got hired for a different role. Done!

Of course Anita now has 17+ years of experience in management and IT roles, so a lot has changed from that beginning. But she’s still obviously really creative. One of her first actions when she assumed the MD role was to invite everyone in the company to have an individual, 5-minute meeting with her. She asked them 3 questions, including where are the biggest bottlenecks in the organization, and what’s the key to keeping the culture. The input of her colleagues helped her decide strategy.

I love meeting women who are crushing it in IT, and that’s why I wanted to share this story with you. I also really enjoy working with organizations that have creative people working to promote diversity. HP has lots of both (the pic above is me with Malin Löfstedt, the mastermind behind this great event), and that’s why it was such a great day. For all of you who want to learn more about Anita, check out her blog: http://tinteguri.com/ And remember – diversity and creativity go hand in hand!

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Publicerad den 3 december, 2013 av Alice Marshall
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Alice Marshall
Gender Equality & Diversity Consultant
Alice Marshall is a gender equality consultant at Add Gender. She wrote her Master's thesis at Stockholm University about best practices for gender equality in the IT industry. She is the only gender equality consultant in Sweden specializing in IT. She is very interested in gender equality and diversity as a strategy to make businesses more profitable, innovative and fun to work for. Before completing her Master's degree, she worked for Ernst & Young and Harlem Village Academies in New York.

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