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Intel’s Role in Building Diversity at the OpenStack Summit
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By Suzi Jewett
I have the fantastic job of driving diversity and inclusion strategy for the Data Center Group at Intel. For me it is the perfect opportunity to align my skills, passions, and business imperatives in a full time role. I have always had the skills and passions, but it was not until recently that the business imperative portion grew within the company to a point that we needed a full time person to fill this role and many similar throughout Intel. Being a female mechanical engineer I have always known I am one of the few and at times that was awkward, but even I didn’t know the business impact of not having diverse teams.
Over the last 2-3 years the information on the bottom line results to the business of having diverse persons on teams and in leadership positions has become clear, and has provided overwhelming evidence that says that we can no longer be okay with having a flat or dwindling diverse persons representation in our teams. We also know that all employees actually have more passion for their work and are able to bring their whole-selves to work when we have an inclusive environment. Therefore, we will not achieve the business imperatives we need to unless we embrace diverse backgrounds, experiences, and thoughts in our culture and in our every decision.
Within the Data Center Group one area that we recognize as well below where we need it to be is female participation in open source technologies. So, I decided that we should host a networking event for women at the OpenStack Summit this year and really start making our mark in increasing the number of women in the field.
Recently I had my first opportunity to interact with people working in OpenStack at the Women of OpenStack Event. We had a beautiful cruise around the Vancouver Harbor and then chatted the night away at Black + Blue Steakhouse. About 125 women attended and a handful of male allies (yeah!). The event was put on by the OpenStack foundation and sponsored by Intel & IBM. The excitement of women there and the non-stop conversation was so energizing to be a part of and it was obvious that the women loved having some kindred spirits to talk tech and talk life with. I was able to learn more about how OpenStack works, why it’s important, and see the passion of everyone in the room to work together to make it better. I learned that many of the companies design features together, meeting weekly and assigning ownership to divvy up the work between the companies to complete feature delivery to the code…being new to open source software I was amazed that this is even possible and excited at the same to see the opportunities to really have diversity in our teams because the collaborative design has the opportunity to bring in a vast amount of diversity and create a better end product.
A month or so ago I got asked to help create a video to be used today to highlight the work Intel is doing in OpenStack and the importance to Intel and the industry of having women as contributors. The video was shown tonight along with a great video from IBM and got lots of applause and support throughout the venue as different Intel women appeared to talk about their experiences. Our Intel ‘stars’ were a hit and it was great to have them be recognized for their technical contributions to the code and leadership efforts for Women of OpenStack. What’s even more exciting is that this video will play at a keynote this week for all 5000 attendees to highlight what Intel is doing to foster inclusiveness and diversity in OpenStack!