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Building diversity within the workplace

Our Include podcast series showcases Microsoft partners and executives discussing the importance of diversity, inclusion and mentorship in the workplace. Here are some highlights from the series that capture how diversity is shaping business and technology today.

Multicultural business tips

For global companies, having employees from a diverse range of nationalities is critical. Yet this can increase the potential for hiccups in communication. Emails can be quite easily misconstrued and misunderstood across different cultures. Listen in to how Ray Meiring, CEO of Chorus Software, handles these kinds of delicate situations. He offers tips on how he has helped his company deprioritize emails and put more emphasis on web meetings and conference calls.

Diversity and your bottom line

Diversity isn’t just good for corporate culture, it also gives companies a more global perspective. In this podcast, Stephen Hall, CEO of District Computers, explains that the path to success starts with your company’s employees. Hire people with views different than your own. It’s not about checking a box, but ensuring you’re getting good insight from people with different views than yourself. This is one vital way to build this into your own team even before they start moving up to the ranks of leadership.

“Hire people with views different than your own. Not to check a box, but rather to ensure you’re getting good insight from those with different views than yourself.”
– Stephen Hall, CEO of District Computers

Discover what we have in common

How does Toby Richards, General Manager of Microsoft’s One Commercial Partner programs ensure every voice is heard? It takes time, but he likes to bring in large groups of 15-20 people to get ideas out in the open. His approach is actually quite simple. He hands out about 10 Post-It notes to each person in the room and gives them five minutes to jot down their top of mind thoughts on a particular business issue. Then, each member of the team has a few minutes to talk about their ideas and common themes start to emerge. Listen to how he synthesizes all this information from a diverse set of people.

Finding a mentor: it’s up to you

Many people with successful careers have one thing in common: mentors. But according to Dona Sarkar, Windows Insider Engineering Lead, you can’t sit around and expect the right senior-level people to find you. You need to figure out what you want to get out of a mentorship and where you need to improve. In this podcast, she also discusses the value of following up. Not just with a thank you, but also how you applied their advice and whether or not it worked. And it’s the best way to pick your mentor’s brain even further.

“I very much subscribe to building your own personal board of directors and a lot of those mentors for me have been peer mentors.”
– Colleen O’Brien, Azure Engineering

Attracting diverse talent requires new thinking

Listen to Colleen O’Brien, Business Manager on the Azure Engineering team and Sonia Dara of the Surface Commercial Marketing team explain the difference between having an advocate or an ally. The two also discuss the value of stepping outside of typical recruiting pipelines to reach diverse talent. Colleen and Sonia also dig into the parameters of mentorship and how Colleen has put what she has learned into practice as Sonia’s mentor.

The journey continues

We know these efforts require constant self-assessment and recommitment. That’s why Microsoft continues seeking ways to empower individuals and organizations around the world to do more and achieve more.


I love this!

I very strongly believe that diverse teams will perform much better! And for me it is about diversity in several aspects like; gender, age, cultural background, geographical background, faith and more. 

If you want to be a modern workplace you will need to embrace diversity. If you want to sell to a diverse audience you need to embrace diversity yourself. It is simply great for business and it is the right thing to do. 

And this is absolutely something also for the senior leadership team and the CxO suite - they need to be diverse as well and should lead the way.

There are so many reasons and I hope that we all understand that this is indeed super important.


Regards, Per