• Cat Graham

Springing Forward… to a More Diverse and Inclusive Work World

Updated: May 31, 2019

by guest contributor Stacey O'Hara Clark, Global Head, Juniper Foundation/ Diversity & Inclusion

Stacey O'Hara Clark

Next week, Juniper is hosting the Watermark Innovation Conference at our Aspiration Dome. Juniper women will join colleagues from across the country to learn and gain inspiration from some of the brightest innovators of our day.

This event will cap off a busy few months of activity around diversity and inclusion for us at Juniper. On February 23, many of our employees and executives attended the Watermark Conference for Women at the San Jose Convention Center. As part of our participation, we invited students from STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) organizations we support, like 10,000 Degrees and Cristo Rey High School Work Study Program, to attend the event. Then on March 8, we hosted the first-ever International Women’s Day celebration at Juniper.

Spring always feels to me like a time of renewal, of recommitment—and these events have spurred me, and I hope many others, to look forward with purpose.

These gatherings enable us to celebrate the contributions of women, but they’re also platforms for mobilization—to get everyone, regardless of gender or race, fired up to be part of the change we all know needs to happen. After all, it’s understood that companies with more diversity and more women are better companies to work in than their counterparts—and that they perform better.

Yet despite that awareness, there’s still a long way to go. Today, for example, fewer than 5% of CEOs are female. In 2015, women held only 12% of the world’s board seats and women of color held less than 0.4% of CEO positions.

Those are just the numbers. They don’t describe what it feels like when you’re the only female in the meeting, when you’re asked to take notes, or when people assume you don’t know about the business or the technology.

So, I savor gatherings like the Watermark Innovation Conference—for the inspiration and opportunities they engender and the community they help build. These gatherings matter. But what matters even more is what we all do—in the following days, weeks, and months—to continue the work of women supporting women, of everyone striving together for a more diverse, inclusive work world.

Let me offer a few ideas on how we all—both men and women—can make a difference.

If you’re a hiring manager, make sure a female is on the interview panel, especially for director and above positions.Advocate for more qualified female candidates.If you’re hiring an intern, target an under-represented, underserved female student and help build the pipeline of women engineers and critical thinkers.

So, I’m looking forward to the Innovation Conference. I know I’ll come away feeling renewed and inspired, as I have been all spring, to work even harder to make Juniper more diverse and inclusive.

What will you do to make your world a more diverse and inclusive place?