The importance of sound and meaningful policies around diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategies has never been as critical as they are today, says Heather Harrison, director of financial services with VMware Canada.
She made the comments Thursday at CDN’s Women in the Channel Recognition Luncheon, which not only honoured a select group of achievers, but also included a moving tribute to IT World Canada CEO Fawn Annan, who passed away in late May.
“It’s an honour to be here,” said Harrison. “This gathering is a testament to the power of unity, strength of diversity and the spirit that brings us forward as a community. At this event, we’re just not a part of a luncheon, we’re part of a movement. A movement that recognizes the pivotal role that women play in the dynamic world of IT and technology, and a movement that aligns seamlessly with VMware and its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.”
As part of its business model, she said, the company “looks at equity broadly, through multiple dimensions of the access, opportunity and advancement of all stakeholders. Our values expressed through an acronym Epic2 – execution, passion, integrity, customers and community – embody a culture that is unique in the industry. These values are a living dynamic part of who we are and how we operate.”
In terms of the event itself, she said “our presence in this room signifies not only our individual achievements, but our shared commitment to creating a landscape that is more equitable and more inclusive and more welcoming for all.
“To the inductees. I congratulate you. Your contributions are the ones that will shape the future. As we engage in conversations, forge connections and celebrate each other’s successes, let us also remember that every step we take, every connection we make, is a stride toward progress.”
In an interview with CDN, Harrison said the “importance of diversity, equity and inclusion, from my perspective, is that it really allows everyone to participate. We are able to tap into talent from underrepresented groups, it gives everyone a better seat at the table, and it allows for an organization to really deliver on their business goals.”
The annual recognition luncheon, she said “allows women to network and develop new friendships … It was also a beautiful, touching tribute to Fawn, who meant so much to so many here. She crossed paths with just about every person in (attendance) and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room when they presented the tribute.”
As for the selection of all those who were honoured, she said, “it must be very difficult to make those decisions. It’s also very inspiring. As we look forward to the future, there’s going to be new women rising up, assuming some of those roles, and it’s those that were acknowledged today who are going to be the inspiration for more women in the channel next season.”