Diversity Woman Magazine

FALL 2013

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

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Upfront > Setting the Diversity Agenda A launched the Medtronic women's network. s a child growing up in Jersey City, New Jersey, Sandy Harris was surrounded by people of many diferent ethnicities. When her father would take her to visit his federal government workplace, what she remembers most strongly is how comfortable he seemed with people at every level of the organization. "My father is the type of person who acknowledges all people," she says. "Everyone—everyone—deserves respect." Today, Harris is the director of corporate diversity at Medtronic, serving its 45,000 employees in 120 countries. DW talked with her about her approach to promoting diversity. DW: Can you tell me more about the women's network? SH: Our strategy includes ensuring that we have a cross section of people, including at the senior level, representing the diversity of the markets and customers we serve. Te network leadership team is a seniorlevel strategic group focused specifcally on how we increase representation at senior levels: what needs to happen to attract, retain, and advance talent? 5 Minutes with Sandy Harris Diversity Woman: What got you interested in working on diversity and inclusion issues? Sandy Harris: I was fortunate, early in my career, to work for a company that really "got it." It was Xerox, back in the early 1980s. Tey did a lot of things right: they showed up on campus at the Multicultural House and did outreach. My manager, my frst day there, said, "Tere's this group, check them out." Who knew? It was one of the frst employee network groups focused on minority employees. And he provided me with a mentor who was also a black female. She helped me understand the unwritten rules. Te company made sure I had the resources I needed to get comfortable and be able to be successful. di ve rs i tywoma n.com DW: What's been happening with diversity and inclusion at Medtronic over the past couple years? SH: A lot of good work. We launched our global mentoring program. And we executed our frst all-employee survey focused exclusively on engagement and inclusion. It provided feedback to all people managers with fve or more direct reports responding to the survey. Tat was a big deal. Also, we formally DW: What is the greatest challenge in trying to promote corporate diversity and inclusion today? SH: Sometimes systemic change is slow. Because we do this around the globe, anytime we update a system or integrate something new into a system, we have to educate everyone about what that means, how that works. But when you do it right, it's worth it. Ten it's not this extra thing sitting over there. It's woven into the tapestry of your people, systems, and processes. DW: As you do this work, who or what inspires you? SH: Lightbulbs go of for people. Tis work can allow people to experience a sense of awakening to other ways of being, to other worldviews, to new possibilities. When you do this work well, it afects people's hearts and spirits. Katherine Grifn is a writer and editor in the San Francisco Bay Area. Fa ll 2 0 1 3 DI VE R S IT Y WO MAN 13

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