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This Technology Company is Accelerating Its Path Toward Greater Gender Parity

Heba Mahmoud, Sr. Manager, Diversity Initiatives, Consumer Technology Association

This spring, the Consumer Technology Association™ (CTA) organized roundtable discussions in Washington, D.C. and California, hosting diversity and inclusion (D&I), human resources and corporate social responsibility executives from more than a dozen tech companies. These leaders joined in an engaging and insightful discussion on how their companies are driving diversity and inclusion in their workplaces.

Sandra Martinez, HARMAN International’s vice president, global talent management and diversity, human resources, participated in one of the roundtables and shared how her organization is working toward greater gender parity. 

What is the HARMAN Women’s Network (HWN) and why was it created?

HWN is a robust initiative comprising HARMAN employees who are actively working to shape the company into an employer-of-choice for women. HWN is responsible for executing HARMAN’s global D&I strategy through our regional Women’s Leadership Summits –a training and professional development forum helping to prepare women for leadership. 

What strategy did you use to ensure that HARMAN’s percentage of women in its workforce exceeds the national average, and that it has successfully integrated more women in the senior leadership and management teams?

Workforce diversity and gender parity are strategic imperatives for the company. We've been purposeful about incorporating D&I into all aspects of talent management, promoting more women into leadership and using metrics and insights to create mechanisms for accountability from our leaders. Through HWN, we've trained managers on unconscious bias, crafted resources such as executive presence trainings and introduced best practices to accelerate our path to gender parity.

HARMAN partners with the 1,000 Dreams Fund to enable the next generation of leaders to achieve their individual goals. What is this partnership and how does it impact Harman?

The 1,000 Dreams Fund is committed to providing 1,000 girls across the country with scholarship funding. Our partnership with the Fund helps enable the next generation of leaders in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) related professions. We're encouraged that the Fund has provided over $200,000 in scholarships for young women pursuing STEAM education.

The partnership has definitely had an impact in HARMAN internally. Being able to act on awareness means the company has grown more purposeful. We can see the impact of our advocacy and support in the girls who are funded to continue their education in STEAM. This makes us very forward-looking; we're excited about what can happen in a future that is more equitable.

HARMAN held an inaugural Women’s Leadership Summit in 2018. What were the outcomes of that summit?

The Women's Leadership Summit was a three-day conference that brought together women at HARMAN and across the tech industry. We partnered with General Electric, Accenture and Univision to bring a variety of executives to the table to discuss best practices on how businesses can better build cultures that leverage and promote D&I.

Having a variety of voices in a room discussing best practices is incredibly valuable, and we came out of the Summit eager to continue having these industry-wide conversations. Our meetings with policymakers and their offices are another outcome; we know that culture-building is not just within the workplace, but across society. It will require public and private partnership and lot of work to build the necessary pipelines and bridge gaps in representation.

Learn more about how CTA is advancing diversity & inclusion in the technology industry.