Diversity, equity and inclusion are keys to business success, speaker says
By Robert Grace
Diversity, equity and inclusion all rely on “I” to make sense. So says Wesleyne Greer, a trained chemist who now helps companies build strong sales teams via her Houston-based company called Transformed Sales. She was the lead outside speaker, kicking off Day 1 of the ANTEC Insights 2021 virtual conference program on May 5.
Greer, who began her career as a chemist with Total Petrochemical in 2006, focuses her efforts on the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) industries.
She opened by posing the question: “Why should we care about diversity?” It’s because diverse companies and diverse teams tend to be more innovative. “Those are the ones with outside-of-the-box ideas. That’s what we need. We need diversity so that we have a difference of opinions. Companies committed to diversity, equity and inclusion are more profitable.”
She noted that while blacks and Hispanics account for roughly 25 percent of all employed people in the general population in the U.S., they account for less than half of that –just 12 percent –in the STEM fields. “That tells us that we are not doing a good job of having a diverse environment,” said Greer, who is African American.
Of all the STEM disciplines, we’re missing the mark in engineering. “[Here] we have the lowest number of ethnic and racial minorities”––just 5 percent black and 8 percent Hispanic, compared with 12 percent Asian and 73 percent white, according to the Pew Research Foundation.
The Pew study also compared the job-related pay of college-educated workers with a STEM degree, with whites representing $100. Comparatively speaking, Asians in the field earned more ($110), while Hispanics and blacks earned less (92 and 87 percent, respectively).
Inclusion, meanwhile, involves making everyone in a company or group feel recognized and supported. It’s vital, she stressed, to be open, empathetic and understanding. Ask questions of your colleagues and listen to their responses, she advised.
So, Greer asked, how can you help to create an inclusive culture? “Hire more diverse people. Make sure you’re not tolerating disrespect. Stand up for people. Don’t be that person who sees something that’s going wrong and not do anything.”
Also, change has to come from the top of an organization. “People don’t leave companies,” she said, “people leave managers.” Every person has a role to play, Greer added. “Challenge yourself by saying, ‘I will do something’.”