Ep. 6 - DE&I

Be the lone dancer




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Podcast guest, Vanessa Sorenson has more than two decades’ experience across the New Zealand tech sector. Having worked through the ranks of Spark over an 18 year period then moving to Microsoft New Zealand in 2017 as Enterprise Director and the for the past year and a half as Managing Director for NZ.

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Shifting the dial

From living in caravan parks to leading a multinational corporation, Vanessa’s unique upbringing has driven her passion for organisational change. As she put it, ‘Inclusivity is not about the check box, it is about diversity of thought of everybody’.

Vanessa joins us to discuss how Microsoft New Zealand is walking the talk for DE&I. From installing Maori macrons into their tech to partnering with Tupa Toa to increase Maori and Pacifica representation in the corporate sector, Microsoft is going all in. So, how can your company create an inclusive culture?

"I just see us walking the talk. I've never seen and felt such a movement in an organisation before... And I say that it starts with inclusive design. It starts with our teams and Redmond who, for testers, they bring people in with accessibility needs. If we can design and develop products for everybody, then that to me is what inclusivity is." - Vanessa Sorenson

Leaning in to learn

It’s time to change the way you hire and recruit. The under-representation of women and Indigenous people in the tech industry means companies are missing out on a massive catchment of talent with different ideas and thoughts. It’s time to move beyond putting everybody in the same box and hoping for a different outcome. It’s time to scrap your old business plan - it just isn’t going to cut it anymore.

"I think we have to change our lens around this stuff, but we also have to open doors." - Vanessa Sorenson

Tune into the podcast to find out more about what you can be doing to work with indigenous communities, cultural diversities and minority groups, and how you can start moving the needle on all facets of DE&I.

Any re-purposing of these insights must clearly cite Talent. If you have any questions or comments, please email marketing@talentinternational.com

How does your company culture stack up?

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Be the ally. If you see something that you disagree with, be the person that speaks out.

Vanessa Sorenson, Microsoft

Key takeaways

Know the data

It’s important to set goals, plans and know the data to initiate lasting change in your organisation.

Be deliberate

It’s more than just a plan on a page, you need to go fishing where the people are to encourage, delight and inspire them.

Take risks

Be the person willing to say ‘why not?’. There’s always going to be one person that starts the dance. Be the lone dancer. People will follow.

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