How many times have we heard, “What can operators do to transform the industry?” However, almost never do we ask, “What can I do to transform the industry?” To create a meaningful transformational wave, I truly believe that each and every one of us must play our part, stop talking, and start acting. And the hard truth is that if people are not acting on their own beliefs, those driving beliefs are probably not that genuine.
For example, instead of simply acknowledging the lack of women in our industry, we need to take the necessary steps to change that. Likewise, we can’t just discuss how employees we have who identify as people of color, non-binary, or non-heteronormative; we need to bring more of these perspectives into the fold and create a working culture that fosters and champions diversity and inclusivity in all ways. We cannot wait for our companies to change, or for others to find a solution. We can each take responsibility to make it happen, and make it happen now. If each of us were to do one positive action a day to encourage a more diversified and inclusive work environment, it would not take long for our whole industry to be completely transformed.
Ask not what your industry can do for you-ask what you can do for your industry
I personally try to lead by example and focus on encouraging more people new to the industry or new to the workforce altogether (especially including young women and other underrepresented voices) to play an active part in creating the future. People who are starting their careers or shifting career paths can be fearless, brave, spontaneous, and dynamic. With their fresh perspective on the industry and working culture overall, they not only have the ideas, the creativity, and a great amount of energy to shape a better world, but also are problem solvers with great potential to imagine and generate transformation. As a result, I believe these people are the perfect catalysts to make change happen and speed up innovation.
I have recently taken the necessary steps to harness this potential power of fresh perspectives by creating a number of initiatives. One called The Inclusion Hub aims to encourage up-and-coming professionals and established professionals coming from other fields to join our industry. Our main objective is to connect with these future leaders and provide tools, resources, and encouragement to help them thrive, so that in turn, they can help us create the future through a fresh pair of eyes.
As part of this initiative, we organize mentoring sessions, networking cocktails, and round table events, all of which bring together new industry recruits and CEOs so that new and existing perspectives can come together to share knowledge, inspire and learn from each other, and build momentum toward a better, more inclusive future. Everyone leaves these event energized, hopeful, and eager to accelerate this cooperative, goal-driven spirit.
I am also leading the PTC Beyond initiative, which is a working group within the PTC (Pacific Telecommunications Council) Advisory Council. This working group is composed of more recently established leaders who are passionate about encouraging new potential leaders to join the PTC as well as our industry in general. To that effect, the PTC launched a By-One-Get-One Free (BOGO) offer for conference attendance spots to encourage companies to bring their new recruits to PTC’23. Additionally, the PTC Beyond group is working hard to deliver an action-packed program at PTC’23 that will specifically target new recruits through panels, round table discussions, networking events with CEOs, and much more.
Through these fun initiatives, we have learned one important lesson: when you take the time to give back, you receive much more in return. Whether that gift stems from meeting new, inspiring people, learning from them, or seeing the world in a more positive way you never thought possible before, it is a win-win proposition.
Let’s create the future together, one action at a time
In case you are not sure where to start affecting this positive change and making your work environment more inclusive and conducive to new ways of working, here are some examples of concrete and simple actions you can take on a daily basis to make a difference.
1 Educate: Evangelize our great industry and all the opportunities it can offer to new recruits (or new-to-working-life employees) and people who reflect traditionally underrepresented perspectives around you.
2 Support: Make yourself available to new recruits and people who reflect traditionally underrepresented perspectives in your organization. Be a go-to person for support, either to help them with their business challenges or just working culture and life in general.
3 Empower: Empower new recruits and underrepresented perspectives in your team to make a difference and be creative with their thinking. Include them in decision making and innovation, encourage outside-the-box ideas, and give them projects to lead without giving them prescriptive direction.
4 Amplify: Give women, underrepresented perspectives, and new recruits in your team a voice by inviting them into discussions and giving their perspectives equal time to shine, especially in the face of more established perspectives. Shine a spotlight on their successes, both internally within your company and within the industry as a whole.
5 Cooperate: Join forces with others who share a common goal to create a wave of transformational change.
6 Share: Share your expertise, time, and creativity to encourage and support new recruits and diverse perspectives and also convince more people to take action.
7 Champion: Encourage everyone to become champions of inclusivity and diversity and inspire others to join our industry and thrive.
8 Be inspired: Take time to listen to and to learn from the new recruits and new perspectives. They have the potential to contribute exciting new things and show us the future through entirely new lenses.
9 Connect: Help new recruits and people who reflect traditionally underrepresented perspectives connect and network within your organization and the industry. Facilitate their creation of their own support network.
10 Generate hope: Even and especially in the face of challenges, be a beacon of hope and passion for positive change. Even the smallest actions of allyship can make all the difference.
If each of us took one of these actions every day or even every week, just imagine how different our industry would become. We can transform our industry one concrete action at a time-not tomorrow, but today.