Avanade leadership offers insights on International Women’s Day 2019

  • Posted on March 3, 2019
  • Estimated reading time 6 minutes
IWD Panel blog

As part of Avanade’s seventh annual International Women’s Day commemoration, we’ll be marking the occasion with a global broadcast livestream from Seattle on March 7, in addition to 64 related events in our local offices worldwide.


Leveraging the theme Innovate for Change, we’ve asked some our Executives to explain why Avanade invests so heavily in IWD as a lynchpin in our overall inclusion and diversity (I&D) strategy.

In this round, our participating Avanade Executives include:

  • Marie-Claire Latour, Client Executive; Inclusion & Diversity Executive Sponsor, Growth Markets
  • Dave Gartenberg, Chief Human Resources Officer
  • Pam Maynard, President, Products & Innovation; Executive Sponsor for Avanade’s Women’s Employee Resource Group
  • Mauro Meanti, Chief Operating Officer, Europe; Inclusion & Diversity Executive Sponsor

As Avanade Executives, why is IWD so important to us as a company?

Marie Claire: It’s no secret that embracing diversity and fostering inclusion is good for business. Numerous studies have shown that an inclusive workplace that celebrates diversity creates a conducive and safe environment for employees, enabling them to be productive and grow their potential.


Mauro: A lack of gender parity in tech remains a key topic for us and our industry. It’s an area where we really haven’t made as much progress as we should have in the past 40 years. I recently happened to stumble on a 1985 McKinsey report on “Women in the Workplace” and noticed how little has changed in comparison to their 2018 report on the same topic. Hence, the need to accelerate our push for progress.

Dave: IWD is important as an annual milestone to trigger thoughtfulness. It’s human nature to get swept up in the day-to-day demands of work and our personal lives, so IWD is an opportunity to step back and reflect on our progress in creating an environment where all our people can do their best work.

Pam: IWD allows us to explore and better understand what the key “pain points” are for women. Once we hone in on these barriers, we can devise strategies and initiatives to mitigate them. Our challenge isn’t limited to attracting female candidates, but also in retention. We want to create a safe environment, where processes and tools are in place for women to work flexibly and to be able to collaborate.


How are you supporting Avanade’s IWD commemorations and serving as an executive sponsor for inclusion & diversity?

Mauro: In addition to serving as the executive sponsor for IWD Europe, I am committed to increasing the push for greater gender parity. We’re already doing good things at Avanade on multiple fronts – interrupting unconscious biases, work-life balance and parental support, are just a few examples. I acknowledge there is much more to do and each of us is responsible for making sure women are treated equally and with the highest degree of respect.


Pam: While I’ll be participating as an Executive Sponsor for our global IWD event in Seattle, we must continue to raise awareness and keep up the pace of change through consistent action throughout the year. We have a range of initiatives to encourage more women to join Avanade, such as our mentoring for young women, and investments in STEM programs for girls from junior through university level. I’m very proud of Avanade’s STEM Scholarship, a global program giving university women a scholarship to pursue an education in STEM subjects, working with some of the most reputable institutions in the world.

Marie Claire: In my role, I am privileged to be involved in the breadth of passionate work that our teams do in the regions. This ranges from focusing on our key metrics to getting hands-on in our local gender diversity activities to build greater I&D in our people. On a personal level, I actively mentor women at Avanade and outside of our organization. As a mother of two girls, I am committed to contribute and help accelerate to the change we need. 


Dave: I’ll be in Seattle on March 7, so I am fortunate to be able to attend our IWD global marquee event in person. I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to spend time talking with others at the event about how we can continue to “Innovate for Change” at Avanade, and to learn from their different experiences and perspectives. I care about removing the obstacles that make it harder for people to show up and do their best work, which is why keeping our focus on achieving gender parity at Avanade is so important to me.

How are you “innovating for change” to help us achieve greater gender diversity at Avanade?

Pam: One of the biggest hurdles preventing women from entering the industry is undoubtedly the lack of female role models. It’s crucial that women are not only visible at a leadership level, but also throughout the interviewing process as candidates apply for roles within a technical consulting company. Being a role model is the role I value most because I know how important it is to women I’ve hired and to my own career journey. I tell my female team members that they’re role models simply by being women in technology. Every woman is an example to someone else.

Mauro: To innovate for change we need to increase our efforts and refuse to settle for a slow pace of progress. We have bold aspirations which require an extreme focus on hiring women both from universities and our competitors, as well as ensuring that our existing female colleagues remain with us. To get there, we need to make sure Avanade is a great place to work, thrive and succeed for women at every stage of their career.

Dave: While it’s the responsibility of each of us to create an environment that enables others to flourish, as the Head of HR, I’m the steward responsible for ensuring that Avanade is holistically aligning each of our processes to allow all of our employees to thrive. From ensuring we have parity in talent review decisions to removing bias in job descriptions and interview questions, my job is focused on creating a friction-free environment where everyone can have a fulfilling career at Avanade.

What do you say to Avanade employees, including men at Avanade, to stoke excitement about IWD and increase awareness of overall inclusion and diversity?

Marie Claire: Participate! All of us can drive change and make a human impact in our own unique ways. Organized by our talented people, our International Women’s Day activities give us the opportunity and platform to inspire each other, celebrate our culture of diversity and innovation, and ensure we all feel cared for at Avanade. In fact, our theme for this year’s International Women’s Day, #InnovateForChange, resonates strongly with who we are and what we do at Avanade.


Pam: I agree with Marie Claire – participation and engagement are critical to make IWD a success again this year. People of any gender should be inspired to participate in IWD events. I encourage colleagues to actively promote IWD using our Avanade social media channels as well as their own personal social media. Let’s spark both dialogue and action!


Stay tuned for part two in this three-part series throughout the month of March as we’ll hear from diverse perspectives across Avanade, including our employee resource group and affinity group network members.

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