VMware Cork - Force for Good Event

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October 03, 2018
A Force for Good – VMware Cork’s 5th Annual Diversity and Inclusion Event was held on Wednesday September 12th and was hosted by VMinclusion Cork, VMware Cork's D&I group. Over 150 people attended including onsite staff and visitors from local Cork businesses. The morning started with some light refreshments and networking before settling into the impressive line-up and an introduction from Karen Egan, VP Support, NSX and Executive Sponsor for VMinclusion Cork.

Emcee for the event and first speaker was Brendan Courtney, TV presenter, fashion designer and one half of women's wear label Lennon Courtney. Brendan is also a campaigner for age, gender, mental health, LGBT+ rights and housing equality kicked off proceedings with a short video showcasing several documentaries he has hosted to bring awareness to these. He then spoke about his own LGBT journey, the contrast of the support he received from his family verses some less than positive reactions at the time, becoming Irelands first gay television presenter, and overall how far Ireland has progressed culminating in Ireland being the first country in the world to bring in same-sex marriage by a popular vote in May 2015.

Caroline O’Driscoll, Partner at KPMG, Chairperson of IT@Cork and Co-Founder of IWish, STEM Conference, then spoke about responsible Leadership and responsible Technology Development. She believes in the power of technology as a force for good as she believes it will help us solve some of the most fundamental problems the world faces today. However, she raised concerns about the gender bias that exists today being coded into machines and then amplified through AI. She posed the question whether datasets used should be representative of the world we aspire to have or the world we have today. She therefore stressed the importance of having a diverse team of team at the core of technology development as all perspectives really do matter.

VMinclusion Cork were delighted to have Ray O’ Farrell, EVP & VMware CTO, as keynote speaker at the event. This helped emphasize the importance that VMware places on Diversity & Inclusion and how it is core to VMware’s values. Ray spoke about his own journey from Tipperary to the CTO of a Silicon Valley Tech company. He went on to focus on VMware’s vision of ‘Innovate in Everything’ and how diversity drives innovation, resulting in better problem solving and better company performance - ‘Gender diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform the median’ and ‘Ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform the median’. He also spoke to the importance of inclusion at VMware at every level and how every VP globally has a Diversity & Inclusion MBO - We need to not only model but be a voice for inclusion. At its core, this means actively inspiring a culture of inclusion.

Lastly, Aine Lyons, VP Deputy General Counsel, Legal Operations and Executive Sponsor for VMinclusion Cork focused on Inclusion in Action and explained how Uniqueness + Belongness = Inclusion. She also provided very inciteful and tangible examples that each of us can do every day to foster a culture of inclusion. Be mindful of the timing of meetings for global teams from multiple locations or ensuring diverse voices are heard and acknowledged. Aine also spoke to the importance of thoughtful allyship, with the foundation of allyship beginning with your understanding that we are all equals. Allyship is a commitment to action, not a label you can give yourself.
To finish the morning there was a panel discussion with all the speakers and they were also joined by Mary Kingston, Manager REW who explained the extensive efforts VMware Cork are leading around sustainability as a Force for Good and Jamie Knoblauch, Cork Giving Network, who shared how the Cork Giving Network is a Force for Good in the community with the Service Learning opportunities available to all employees. The whole morning was filled with passion and laughter with some thoughtful questions and answers through audience participation which really made the audience feel close and included in the event.

VMware Cork has been based in Ballincollig, Cork since 2005 and now has more than 1000+ employees across an array of different functions.

Claire O'Regan, Communications Coordinator
(021) 466-0000