Recently, President Trump shared his opinion of four lawfully elected female members of the US House of Representatives, throwing gasoline on the fire named diversity. The social justice warrior outrage was swift in support of the American women, regardless of their familial ancestry. I try to leave politics to the lunchroom gossip or the weekend brauhaus session, but I feel that now more than ever I have to share my opinion on diversity in all it’s forms, especially from my position in a leadership position at cleverbridge.
15 years ago, a group of friends decided to begin an adventure. Living half a world apart with different native languages, ingrained societal values and varied life experiences, we considered our cultural differences to try and uncover our innate strengths that could result in maximum performance. We didn’t recognize at the time that we were building the company’s foundation on the value of diversity.
Today, we sell to customers in more than 200 countries and have learned that each culture has it’s own uniqueness that makes it great. In order to achieve the highest customer acquisition and retention rates for our clients, we optimize the words used (language), the instruments preferred (payment methods), where value is stored (currencies), how governments are funded (taxation), and much more. Furthermore, call wait times (support availability) acceptable in the USA in minutes are unacceptable in Japan where seconds count. Regulations in Europe that require guaranteed customer data deletion (privacy) are not written in to other country’s constitutions. As the world shrinks through the connected consumer, business expectations rise and diversity is a must to understand them.
With offices in four countries, we learned the value of communication to better understand our colleagues around the world and the ones just down the hall. A few years ago, we formalized communication in our values while simultaneously also including a strong commitment to diversity:
Team Spirit — We nurture a diverse and inclusive environment where we’re encouraged to be our authentic selves.
Respect — By acting with respect, we’re able to learn from one another and uncover the unique value that each of us brings to cleverbridge.
In May, we held our first Diversity and Inclusion week at cleverbridge. While this should have happened a lot earlier, I am proud of the many successes that increase diversity at cleverbridge:
- Hired our first female executive
- Increased our female leadership team representation from two to four
- Discovered underrepresented talent through the Year Up program
- Organized a women-in-tech hackathon for first-time coders
- Career path opportunities, especially underrepresented groups
We can and will continue to do better. I personally want to find ways to remove bias from the hiring process. I encourage my direct reports to challenge their own assumptions.
Since inception, we’ve been a global company. We’ve attracted talented people with a passion for diverse cultures. We’ve experienced the positive employee experience of being their authentic selves. And we’ve developed a very strong client and partner network that is our strongest lead source. In short, diversity has led to a competitive advantage at cleverbridge.
Our original logo shows a customer walking confidently from one side of our company name to the other. The distinguishing feature of the logo is a sideways letter “V”, which represents the flexibility of our product, our solution and our company to meet the needs of the customer because we understand the customer. Diversity of ideas, experience and opinion clearly results in a better solution for our clients and a stronger cleverbridge performance.