Diversity Woman Magazine

SPR 2018

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

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Upfront > d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m S p r i n g 2 0 1 8 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N 7 The Language of D&I Y olanda Conyers, vice presi- dent of global human resources and chief diversity officer for Lenovo, has a challenging role—leverag- ing diversity and inclusion in a global company with a Chinese heritage. Since 2007 Conyers has broadened and created the We Are Lenovo culture to better serve and reflect its global workforce. Lenovo, the world's No. 2 PC maker, operates in 160 countries. When Lenovo recruited Conyers, she was on sabbatical after serving as execu- tive director of worldwide procurement at Dell. "e opportunity to help Lenovo integrate Eastern and Western cultures captivated me," says the Lamar Univer- sity (Texas) computer science major. She found the opportunity a profes- sional challenge, and it also resonated with her personally as a way to make a difference. "As a child, I remember be- ing bused from my all-black neighbor- hood to a predominantly white school," she says. "In addition, my father was a seaman and traveled around the world on merchant ships. He was wise from his travels, and he taught me to embrace the unfamiliar. at's why I sought out leadership roles, from run- ning for student council vice president in high school to this role as Chief Diversity Officer." Conyers spoke to Diversity Woman about how she's helping Lenovo's 50,000 employees "embrace the unfamiliar," in order to help drive the bottom line. Diversity Woman: You cowrote a book, The Lenovo Way. What is the Lenovo Way? Yolanda Conyers: e book chronicles Lenovo's journey to becoming a global company and leveraging diversity as a competitive advantage. Lenovo is a Chi- nese heritage company that made history as the first Chinese company to acquire an American company, IBM Personal Computer Division. It's also my personal story, navigating living in Beijing for three years and blending the best of Eastern and Western business cultures. DW: What are some of the unique challenges work- ing in D&I for a Chinese company? YC: Firstly, defining diver- sity for our Chinese col- leagues who were unfamil- iar with the role of a CDO. e cultural differences still can be challenging to understand and overcome. For example, during my first three months in the job, I inadvertently of- fended one of my Chinese colleagues by "requesting" a meeting in an email, not realizing that to request something of a peer or upper management was offensive. After under- standing this difference, I was able to reestablish the relationship. To this point, we've done a lot of work educating our employees about how to work across different cultures, and e Lenovo Way, our own culture, has established business norms and ex- pectations for how we do things at Lenovo. DW: How has Lenovo made diversity and inclusion a competi- tive advantage? YC: Different perspectives have helped us expand our business outside China and beyond PCs to smartphones and servers. By leveraging different perspectives, we've created better products. For example, different engineering teams in multiple countries came up with differ- ent takes on our convertible tablet form factor. We introduced all three of the designs to give consumers more choice than our competitors offer. 5 Minutes with Yolanda Conyers The CDO for global computing giant Lenovo impacts the bottom line by blending East and West

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