Gender balance is not just a women’s issue, it’s a business issue. As VP of the Global Partners and Alliances team at OpenText, I know first-hand the importance of creating balanced and diverse teams. I firmly believe that strong leaders have strong teams, and it takes a diverse set of voices, opinions and experiences to create a winning team allowing everyone to perform at their best. When we prioritize diversity and inclusion, we bring new perspectives to the table and enable greater innovation.
As the Site Leader at the OpenText Waterloo office, it’s my privilege to organize events and professional development sessions to increase employee engagement and provide growth opportunities. In celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD) 2019 in Waterloo, we planned a full week of activities for our employees.
This year’s International Women’s Day theme, #BalanceforBetter, encourages us to consider how we can build a gender-balanced world. We incorporated this theme into each of our events over the course of the week.
On Tuesday, we hosted an International Women’s Day panel to discuss how we can all come together to #BalanceForBetter. My co-moderator Nicolas Heldmann, SVP Digital Business Services and I had the great pleasure of chatting with our panel of incredible senior women OpenText leaders:
- Renee McKenzie, VP, Enterprise Business Systems
- Mei Dent, VP, Engineering
- Mary Ann Valad, VP Corp Dev, Integration Excellence
- Crystal Bonsi, VP Revenue Operations, Field Sales
- Cori Knorr, VP, Customer Experience
Some of the key takeaways from the event included the importance of networking, building trust and teamwork, mentorship and sponsorship, and how we can get everyone involved in the discussion—not just women.
The panelists encouraged attendees to take charge of their careers by leveraging their networks, and to not only take on new opportunities whenever possible, but to actively seek them out. They provided tangible suggestions on what can be done at the individual and organizational level to implement change, including considering unconscious bias in hiring practices, incorporating gender neutral language in job postings and creating flexible work environments that encourage constant learning.
Watch our video below to see more of what the panelists had to say.
In addition to the IWD panel discussion, we also held a free Zumba class on Wednesday to help put the art of integrating life and work into practice. On Thursday, we launched a positive affirmation campaign that encouraged employees to contribute positive notes to our affirmation wall. And we finished the week with a special screening of Captain Marvel, Marvel Studios’ first female-led superhero film.
It was an informative and inspiring week of celebrations! Our commitment to diversity and inclusion extends well beyond International Women’s Day, and this is only the first of many activities to create a #BalanceforBetter in 2019.