What do world class marathoners have to do with my hope for parity?

  • Posted on March 3, 2016

This is a guest blog post written by Avanade alum, Eddie Pate.

I love Avanade’s 2016 International Women’s Day (IWD) theme.  We initially said, “Pay it Forward—A Pledge for Parity,” but realized the phrase (Pay it Forward) may be too US centric and decided to tap into one of Avanade’s core values, Everyone Counts, to intersect with the Global IWD theme of A pledge for parity.

So, we landed on Everyone Counts—A Pledge for Parity.  What does it mean and why does it matter? For me this is powerful, timely, and very relevant considering how often and prominent gender is a point of conversation in and around the global corporate space.  Our use of Everyone Counts is a clear statement that we understand that every single employee—regardless of (and because of) his/her diversity—is critical to our success.  Everyone does count and needs to be included so we can truly be as absolutely creative and innovative as we can for our clients.  This sounds very “corporate-speak-like” but it is so true.

To me, A Pledge for Parity is a challenge to every single organization to step up NOW and ensure that access, equal opportunity, equity, and inclusion are, hands down, the fuel driving our day-to-day experiences at work.  We are acknowledging and stating, by using this theme, that we will do our part to make this an unquestioned reality in our company and push the industry we are in to do the same.  It is not going to happen overnight and, thus, the oft-used cliché…..it is a marathon and not a sprint.  I’ll continue to buy this phrase IF the person running our D&I marathon is Meb Keflezighi or Biruktayit Degefa and not me.  If you don’t know who they are…then Bing them!  The point is we need to speed up our marathon and not take 100 years to get it right!

How important is this? It is beyond measure in my book.  We are, as a society, as companies, as innovators, honestly settling for mediocrity simply because we are not tapping into or using all of what we are capable of or who is capable of it.  If we systemically (intentionally or not) hold one group down relative to another we are not at our best.  In fact, I say we should all have a dilemma every single day that we wake up to a workplace that doesn’t have complete access to all, parity for all, equity in all we do and where inclusion isn’t a given, understood, and fuels all we do.  In my mind, this is what Everyone Counts—A Pledge for Parity is all about.  Giddy-Up!

Now I urge you all to take the Pledge of Parity on the International Women’s Day website.

And don’t forget to follow Avanade IWD activities on Instagram and Twitter with the #AvanadeIWD hashtag.

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