During a panel discussion at the Data Science for All: Women's Summit, Tiffany Perkins-Munn, Managing Director at Blackrock, provided some valuable advice for companies seeking to effectively break down gender and diversity barriers in the workplace. We felt it important to share these again here.

Tiffany first outlined the important questions that a company must consider at the key stages of talent acquisition and management:

  • How do we attract diverse and underrepresented talent into roles in which they are not typically seen? Companies need to avoid stereotyping in their expectations of who would be able to fill specific roles, get creative around how to recruit for these roles, and look for new sources of talent.
  • How do we help people from different backgrounds find a sense of belonging once we hire them? Employers firstly need to spend time talking to their employees, understanding what the real issues are, what's working and what's not working.  This cannot be superficial - it needs to be done meaningfully
  • How do we ensure every employee is given professional development? This has to include fair promotion and career mapping once individuals are in the role, and connecting them internally.  It also means equipping them for what they want to achieve next, whether they do it with you or elsewhere.

Tiffany also offered 5 critical actions that organizations need to take to move in the right direction towards more diversity and inclusion:
Be intentional and purposeful around making sure you have gender, racial, ethnic diversity across your slate of senior roles

  1. Develop a transparent and standardized hiring process so that people without personal connections are not disadvantaged
  2. Hold people-managers accountable for the experience of their team members - that means managers really need to understand who their people are and care for their personal and professional development
  3. Help employees develop high quality connections, and orchestrate a way that people are organically and intentionally meeting and being connected
  4. Make sure there is intentional sponsorship of individuals from diverse backgrounds.  There should be a bi-directional sharing of information and helping each other, but the sponsor is really the one who helps others move up the corporate ladder and creates an actionable plan to make it happen.

We’d like to thank Tiffany again for sharing her concrete and actionable advice with us, and all the participants at the event.