Throughout the past year, the need to address long-standing inequities and ensure fairness and opportunity for all has emerged as one of the most critical issues facing the entire global community. 

While certainly a monumental challenge, it has also presented leaders and organizations committed to embracing diversity and inclusion (D&I) a unique chance to make a real, positive and lasting difference.

Here at World Wide Technology, I'm proud to say our leaders and entire team of employees have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment and passion for diversity and inclusion

Our dedication to D&I should come as no surprise to those who know us. The truth is WWT has always been committed to building a diverse and inclusive workforce — dating all the way back to WWT's beginnings as a company more than 30 years ago by leaders from different backgrounds and experiences, whose commitment to each other helped create consistent and sustained growth. 

D&I underpins several of our core values, most notably embracing change. WWT's success and visibility on this issue gives us tremendous credibility and allows us to remain an industry leader when it comes to D&I. 

While we launched our initial D&I program two years ago, we undertook a series of significant actions in 2020 to accelerate and reinforce the strength of the program and ensure WWT remains a "Great Place to Work for All."

WWT sharing ideas at Global Headquarters.
Teammates sharing ideas at WWT Global Headquarters.

Earlier in 2020, the executive leadership team established WWT's key D&I initiatives and three specific outcome areas centered on Workforce, Business Impact and Community Engagement. 

When it comes to our WWT Workforce Outcomes, our goal is to attract and retain a workforce that reflects the communities we serve. Our priorities focus on increasing the diversity of our workforce, while promoting a healthy, diverse and inclusive culture.

It's vital that our D&I efforts positively impact our business and foster diverse business partnerships. As a result, our Business Impact goals include expanding the representation, development and adoption of diverse businesses across WWT and with our customers and partners, and to be recognized as a global leader for the promotion and advancement of D&I.

WWT employees collaborating in GHQ.
WWT employees collaborating in GHQ.

When it comes to Community Engagement, our goals are to make a positive social and economic impact on our communities, with our priorities focused on enhancing opportunities for employee engagement and encouraging our team members to use their annual Day of Caring, a paid eight-hour day that employees may take to volunteer and give back to the community, to support our D&I mission.

During 2020, dedicated, senior leaders for each of the three major outcome areas were empowered to drive positive change and identify measurable and sustainable goals for our company. 

We also created WWT's first strategic plan for D&I with input from throughout the company. Recognizing that we needed to bring in the best D&I expertise, WWT recruited Shannon Lassen, a proven and highly skilled leader, as our dedicated D&I Program Manager. 

Beyond our three overarching outcome areas, the range of D&I initiatives we've been able to implement in the past year is a testament to the hard work, involvement and professionalism of our WWT team. To provide just a few important examples:
Listening Tours
One of the first and most quickly implemented initiatives was our Listening Tour program, in which members of our executive leadership team hosted virtual seminars with WWT employees. During these sessions, candid discussions across a variety of topics resulted in actionable recommendations we have effectively included in our programs. 

WWT's Satya Gudivada created a video sharing what Diwali means to him.
WWT's Satya Gudivada created a video sharing what Diwali means to him.

Employee Storytelling
People are natural storytellers. Stories are how we inspire each other. Stories are how we teach each other. Stories are how we learn from each other. At WWT, it's no different. Many of our team members have compelling stories to tell about their personal experiences with racial or social injustice, and how they have overcome personal challenges. 

We launched the WWT Storytellers effort in September and its rapidly grown in popularity and impact across the company. During 2021, the program will expand to include in-person opportunities for our supply chain organization, along with additional incentives for employee participation.  

Employee Resource Groups 
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) were established to address specific challenges and opportunities for traditionally underrepresented groups. The seven ERGs we've successfully initiated represent the following communities: 

  • Blacks & African American
  • Hispanic & Latinx
  • Asian & Pacific Islander
  • Disabilities Enabled
  • Veterans
  • Women

The ERGs, each with their own group lead, senior executive sponsor and steering committees, are committed to creating awareness and education, driving business outcomes and supporting our recruiting efforts. 

WWT hosted the National Minority Supplier Development Council in January 2020.
WWT hosted the National Minority Supplier Development Council in January 2020.

Supplier Diversity 

WWT continued to invest in our established supplier diversity program by expanding the growth of diverse suppliers within internal business organizations and by strengthening diversity programs with strategic customers. The partnerships resulted in the expansion of custom services programs to foster the growth of diverse suppliers and increase diverse representation in the workforce. 

In 2021, WWT plans to replicate similar innovative programs with other customers, bolster our supplier diversity development program and proactively target additional investment in under-represented minority groups.   

D&I Training
Working closely with leadership and the Employee Development Team, a presentation specific to D&I was created for WWT's Integrated Management & Leadership presentation (IML). This presentation integrates seamlessly with the current IML content, expanding on topics specific to bias, empathy, listening, learning and acting. The D&I IML is currently being facilitated and presented to our ERGs, executive team and their direct reports, with plans to train managers in the coming year.

WWT women participating in an ideation session.
WWT women participating in an ideation session.

So, where are we headed in 2021?

Bottom line: We will continue the momentum we developed in 2020 and ensure D&I remains a foundation of our company's values. We'll further expand the recruitment of a diverse workforce, build on our Sales/Supplier diversity efforts, enhance our Listening and Storyteller programs, and commit ourselves to the full implementation of our D&I Strategic Plan. 

WWT has a tremendous opportunity to be a recognized global leader in diversity and inclusion and to set the standard for our industry. We want to be known for the strength of our values, the positive impact we have on our communities and as a truly Great Place to Work for All!