For over a century, International Women’s Day (IWD) has recognized the social, economic, cultural, political and professional achievements of women around the world. At HARMAN, we also have a long history of championing women, especially those pursuing careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM).HARMAN is intentional in addressing the issue of gender parity through corporate initiatives including targeted interventions, leadership summits, and the HARMAN Women’s Network. Externally, HARMAN participates in strategic partnerships such as the one with the 1,000 Dreams Fund on the HARMAN inspired- New Face of Tech.
This year, as a result of health precautions implemented by HARMAN, the live events that the HARMAN Women’s Network chapters originally planned were impacted but that didn’t stop us from celebrating IWD. This year, we joined in the IWD celebrations in our own unique way – from hosting virtual events featuring guest speakers and donating to charities that serve women to hosting recaps of conferences for women in technology and sharing best practices across continents. In fact, we extended our celebration throughout the month of March by hosting virtual fireside chats with some of HARMAN’s leaders in the United States and India. In honor of International Women’s month, we highlighted some of the insights and key takeaways from these virtual interviews…
Mentorship Stems from Authentic Leadership
At HARMAN’s headquarters in Stamford, CT, Sandra Martinez, Vice President of Global Talent Management, Diversity & Inclusion, Corporate HR, spoke with Sandy Rowland, Chief Financial Officer, about what this year’s “Each for Equal” theme means to her personally and how it affected her professional journey. As she looked back on her career, Sandy noted that it wasn’t just one particular moment, one particular person, or one particular experience that prepared her for the opportunity to sit in a C-suite position. It was the culmination of many individual moments, whether it was a team member who involved her in new projects or someone who made sure her voice was heard during meetings that left a large impact
Sandra and Sandy also explained how leaders at HARMAN can help accelerate the progress to gender equity by being an ally and advocating for colleagues, especially those that have been historically disenfranchised. They emphasized how gender equality isn’t an individual issue but rather a collective one, and that small shifts in behavior and small shifts in decision making on everyone’s part can have an exponential impact on an individual’s career. Everyone is impactful in their own ways, whether they are in a mentoring partnership or simply networking. Sandy highlighted that we must be authentic to ourselves to connect with team members, encourage collaboration and identify solutions that will benefit everyone, not just women.
The Importance of Embracing Allies
In India, HARMAN’s Rajalakshmi, Sakthivel , Senior Director of Software Platforms, and Vikas Bajaj, Vice President of Cloud Development and HWN Chapter Leader, also discussed how the “Each for Equal” theme is a step forward to closing the gender gap. Vikas and Rajalakshmi reiterated that achieving gender parity relies on support gained from employees across all levels acting as allies for one another. To do this, team members and colleagues must sponsor talent at an early stage and make continued, sustained efforts to help them develop the skills required to succeed in their professional journeys. Rajalakshmi pointed out that it is common for some women to underestimate their potential or abilities, and that, if leaders and peers act as allies and provide support and encouragement, we will be one step closer to closing the gap.
“The underlying purpose driving International Women’s Day is not just a one-day or one-month affair,” said Rajalakshmi. “We need to practice this alliance mindset to promote equality continuously throughout the year and in all of our conversations, actions, and initiatives.”
At HARMAN, we know that equality isn’t just a women’s issue, it’s a business issue. Despite the progress made in recent years, businesses across every industry must continue to drive change and improve gender representation, especially in leadership roles. For more information about our commitment to diversity and inclusion, visit: https://jobs.harman.com/diversity