The Sky Can Truly Be the Limit
Building diverse teams is key to corporate success, as research shows that companies with above-average diversity produce more revenue from innovation (45%). I’m fortunate to work for a company that has fostered an open environment where all employees have a voice and help each other grow professionally. But HARMAN’s leadership team also recognizes that the battle to eliminate unconscious bias is an ongoing journey requiring continuous effort. That’s why HARMAN’s employee resource groups, especially those that support minorities, are incredibly valuable, as they give employees an ongoing opportunity to be heard and engaged.
I’ve seen firsthand the positive impact these groups can have by assuming leadership roles in both the well-established HARMAN Women’s Network (HWN) and the company’s newly-formed DE&I Council. HWN has been fundamental in empowering female employees to challenge the gender bias that is so prevalent in STEM fields. The DE&I Council is working on setting measurable goals to ensure that all employees feel valued and that HARMAN’s workforce reflects the diversity of the many regions in which we operate worldwide.
While formal mentorships and other resources offered by employee resource groups are incredibly important, informal support systems are also key to promoting the success of women in the workplace. For instance, when I noticed my male peers presenting more frequently than their female counterparts at meetings, I mentored female engineers to prepare them to undertake more customer responsibility. Mentorship and sponsorship are critical parts of finally abolishing the glass ceiling for good.
While companies should continue to further their own DE&I efforts to level the playing field and develop promising talent, in order to break through the glass ceiling, women must, first and foremost, fight for and believe in themselves. It’s not always easy, but I’ve personally found it helpful to remain positive while assessing how to overcome a workplace barrier. I advise myself and my teams to speak up, take advantage of corporate resources, learn from coworkers’ differences, and push boundaries! For women who actively take these steps to further their professional development, the sky is truly the limit.