International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to celebrate women-owned businesses, or female leaders/employees and their impactful roles in a company. It’s also an opportunity to celebrate your female customers.
At Tinuiti, 60% of our workforce is women and 47% of them hold leadership roles.
As a vocal ally to their female colleagues, we sat down with Andrew Richardson, Vice President of Analytics and Marketing Science and Jennifer Garrison, Chief People Officer at Tinuiti to get their thoughts on International Women’s Day, the importance of gender equality in the workplace, and how other individuals can get involved.
Garrison is a strategic Human Resources Professional with expertise in employee engagement, total rewards/compensation planning, M&A, talent acquisition, employee experience, compliance, employment law, and benefits. She’s also known as a thought-leader, strong communicator, strategist, and advocate for gender equality in the workplace.
Q. Why is gender equality an important issue to you?
Garrison: Gender equality is core to how I think about the world. Not only is it inherently the right thing to do, I’ve seen the positive impact on my career, family and community when women have more seats at the table where decisions are being made. More than half of the CMOs we work with are women, which is so enabling and empowering for the women of Tinuiti. Women in leadership, both inside Tinuiti and externally paves the way for more women to become leaders, which gives all of us access to greater diversity of thought, innovation, and stronger solutions.
Q. What does the International Women’s Day slogan, #EachForEqual mean to you in your work life?
Garrison: #EachForEqual for me is so impactful to me because it means that every voice is not just heard, but granted equal validity and respect. It means that each person is seen and valued, which for me is at the core of how each person can shore up each other for a greater outcome than any person can accomplish alone.
Q. How do you and your team make sure that inclusion and diversity are considered when making decisions?
Garrison: Being in a people-focused role is something that I find very empowering, in that we are advocates for equality in every decision we make. Data plays a huge role in this for me — we are able to clearly measure the number of women in leadership, if there is any pay disparity or other barriers that are creating unconscious inequality. The data helps us evaluate any biases and determine the best solutions, whether that’s concrete changes to compensation or training for managers on how to make the best business decisions while eliminating bias.
Q. How important is it for women to lift each other up and what does that mean to you?
Garrison: Women must support other women. I’m a firm believer that one person’s success does not diminish or withhold another from their own. When we lift each other, we add power and momentum to everything we do. “If you want to go quickly, go alone — if you want to go far, go together.” We’ve already gone far as an organization in so many ways, and women supporting women only unlocks more of the progress of this journey. Our society can create an environment where women are naturally in competition with each other, and so the only way to push for equality is to actively combat it.
Q. What role do men play in gender equality? How do you feel they can become better allies to women in the workforce?
Garrison: I think gender equality is not just a women’s issue — it’s everyone’s issue. Men can be powerful allies for ensuring that we change our biases, our environment, and the dynamics of how business decisions are made. I think humility is key from both genders when moving toward equality.
Self-awareness of our biases, acknowledging our mistakes when we don’t get it right, and asking women to share how they are experiencing business environments and situations is a powerful way to start breaking down those barriers and changing the unconscious ways that businesses tend to minimize women’s ideas and voices.
As Vice President of Analytics and Marketing Science, Richardson is not only Tinuiti’s resident data-guru he’s also well-known as an advocate for diversity and inclusion. Over the past year, Andrew has more than doubled the size of his team with an intentional focus on diversity. In an industry where only about 30% of professional data-related roles are held by women, Andrew’s team is impressively 45% female.
Q. Why is gender equality an important issue to you?
Richardson: Inequality is baked into our way of life. Because of the historical (and still VERY real today) suppression of women, black people, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, and many more marginalized groups, we have to acknowledge that equality is a HUMAN issue, not a business issue. This is personally important to me because I have a wife and a daughter and I see the struggles they go through.
I want my daughter to be the generation that breaks the systemic gender, racial, and class systems that exist today. I also have a younger son and I must model behavior for him that shows how important this is as a human rights issue and that supporting women, advocating for women, and breaking down this system should be done and must be done.
Q. What role do (or should) men play in gender equality? In other words, why should men be paying attention to the message behind International Women’s Day?
Richardson: We live in a patriarchal system. Men need to understand and recognize that this system exists first of all. It is not opinion, but fact. we have privilege far greater as men, than what women have. This acknowledgment, I believe, is the first step that men need to take in supporting the women in their lives.
Beyond that, helping break down that system, but not doing it in a male savior type of way, must happen. Showing solidarity is paramount. Recognition is not enough. We must support women in our privilege. We must support women in taking the lead. We must challenge and call out others when they continue to engage in ways that suppress women, their thoughts and their ideas.
Q. At Tinuiti, you’ve become well-known as an advocate for diversity and gender equality. What advice do you have for other men who want to be more supportive of women in the workplace?
– Stop interrupting. Your idea or thought can wait until your female colleague is done with her thought or idea.
– Help practice amplification of the ideas brought forward by your female colleagues. Read this article for more.
– Educate yourself. Don’t rely on women educating you, but do your own heavy lifting.
Q. You’ve intentionally built a very diverse team here at Tinuiti. How does this impact your team from both an employee engagement + performance standpoint?
Richardson: We make a conscious choice to build the most diverse team possible. Gender, race, ethnicity, age, class, disability and other norms that can divide due to the structural inequalities in the world bring our team together. If we have a single voice, a single idea that is driven by mostly white men, what good is that hive thinking?
Instead, we celebrate our differences. We encourage our male employees to become advocates and join in on our gender-forward initiatives.