Cultivating Cultural Change

Some of the greatest challenges for gender diversity are cultural. At some Jabil sites, innovative and creative programs have been developed to help change local cultural barriers for gender equality. Two sub-regional winning projects from this year’s Deliver Best Practices Competition have undertaken the challenge of surpassing cultural barriers for female empowerment. The Social and Environmental Responsibility submissions from Penang, Malaysia and Guadalajara, Mexico demonstrated two very different yet effective means of educating and empowering women along with inspiring gender awareness throughout their sites.

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Penang’s “Women Wellness” project led by Reanuga Subramaniam utilizes awareness training modules to enlighten and enhance female workers’ knowledge on sexual reproductive health rights which includes educating employees about sexually transmitted diseases and HIV. The focus on education at the site stems from the fact that 55 percent of the workforce at Penang are women and the local culture avoids talking about the issues of sexual reproductive health. Additionally, the team believes that women are “the key members of the community to institute the knowledge because they are not only Jabil employees but also mothers, daughters, sisters or aunts in the family, and our awareness education can multiply the impact.”

So how did Penang implement this education program? The team organized a Jabil peer educator program with training provided by the Penang Family Health Development Association. Starting with the direct labor female workforce, these peer educators work with fellow employees at peer education sessions where employees participate in small group activities to apply knowledge from training modules, and afterwards receive a souvenir with a take away message as means to further spread awareness.

The results of the program have been fantastic. The team reported a constant increase in employees coming forward to be part of the training program, awareness activity such as the site’s annual World Aids Day has seen an increase in participation, and more importantly the team has seen a 10-30 percent increase in knowledge of various sexual reproductive health issues. This has led to a 200 percent increase in employee participation of internal health programs for breast examination and Pap smear exams. However, the Penang team’s work still continues as they move to educate all Penang employees, including men, and even aiding other Jabil sites with implementing a similar program.

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A Guadalajara team, led by Georgina De Loza, created the project “Women Empowered” as a means to address the leadership gender gap, where only 15 percent of leadership positions are held by women.  Guadalajara’s approach was educating and enhancing women’s leadership skills in order to prepare them for their next leadership position. Not only is the project intended to close the gender leadership gap, but to address the cultural gender stereotypes and gender biases. According to the UN only 32 percent of women are part of the formal workforce in Mexico, which influenced the team to increase gender awareness with their project and encourage the spread of gender diversity within the community.

As a response to these issues in gender diversity at Guadalajara, the “Women Empowered” project initiated policies, events, and networking to address some of the root causes for the lack of female leadership. A flexitime policy was enacted to address work-life balance issues. The professional skills development concern was addressed through a development and mentorship committee and by encouraging prospective female leaders to participate in the site’s leadership development program, Jabilider. In regards to female self-confidence to take the next step and to address the culture, the team provided networking and development events and worked with their senior management to encourage female skills development. To achieve these programs, Georgina and her team worked with numerous female development industrial groups such as the High Tech Industry Women’s Commission (COMIAT in Spanish) and IBM’s Women In Action group.

The results of their work has led to a 7 percent increase of internal applications for leadership positions from women from fiscal year 2015’s first quarter to its third quarter. Twelve women were identified as top talent, three of whom have reached their next position in their area, two are now managers, and one is an assistant manager. The attendance for the Women Empowered events and programs reached 95 percent of women in indirect labor. As for the community, the team has worked with Intel as sponsors for the first Latin America Summit of Women in Technology by IEEE and multiple non-profit organizations that focus on social and economic development of women.

These two outstanding projects have educated and inspired the empowerment of women to take action in the careers and their health. Together these teams are combating former gender stigmatism and creating gender awareness in their sites that spills out into their local communities. In the spirit of continuous improvement, both groups have plans for further expansion of their gender diversity awareness programs at Jabil and into the community.

‘Jewel’ of the Jabil Joules: Beth Walters Named 2015 Business Woman of the Year Finalist

Beth Walters
Beth Walters

The Jabil Joules program is one of the many successes Beth Walters, Senior Vice President of Communications and Investor Relations, has achieved during her career at Jabil. Having been with Jabil for more than two decades, Beth has served as a mentor and leader, creating global programs and initiatives that focus on employee participation and engagement while continuously increasing Jabil’s success in the marketplace.

On Friday, August 28, Beth was recognized as a named finalist for the 2015 BusinessWoman of the Year Award by the Tampa Bay Business Journal. This award, which is broken up into 10 categories, recognizes the top woman executives in the Bay. Beth was one of four finalists for the technology category, and one of 50 finalists chosen by a panel of judges that considered more than 200 nominees.

To read a detailed recap of the event, visit Jabil’s blog.

Joanne Moretti Named a Gold Winner in the Women World Awards

Joanne Moretti and Jabil Executives alongside San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo at the ribbon cutting of Jabil’s Blue Sky Center

Senior Vice President, Sales Enablement and Marketing Joanne Moretti has been named a gold winner in the Women World Awards in the manufacturing category.

Please join us in congratulating Joanne on this impressive recognition!

To learn more about Joanne and the award, read this story on Jabil’s blog.

From Around the Web: Working Women – A Guide for Men

(photo: Thomas Angermann)

Jabil Joules champions the business benefits of gender balance, challenges organizational barriers and endeavors to expand the representation of women in leadership and operations. Enjoying the benefits of these goals require commitment of both women and men in the workplace.

A recent Wall Street Journal article, Women at Work: A Guide for Men, argues that the abundance of available advice for working women has hit an unnecessary high and that women don’t need more career advice, men do. The author, Joanne Lipman, takes a stand that men misread women in the workplace daily, albeit not intentionally. Her perspective has unsurfaced polarizing opinions from readers of the article, as are shared in the comments section of the online posting of the piece.

In her article, she “sets out to discover what frustrates and perplexes professional men about the women they work with.” Lipman declares that she isn’t blaming men, instead, her “aim instead is to demystify women.”

We’ll explore her list, below.

  1. She’s not “sorry,” she’s not “lucky” –  and she’s not asking you a question.
    The first of Lipman’s list of guiding points for men when working with women is to understand that men and women communicate differently. A woman is more likely to add qualifiers and apologies to their sentences. Additionally, “when complimented on her work, a woman is more likely to downplay it, saying she was ‘lucky.’” Lipman’s argument is that men need to recognize that women don’t assert themselves in meetings as frequently as their male counterparts and men need to forwardly ask women for their opinions and to include all members of the team.
  2. She’s ready for a promotion – she just doesn’t know it yet.
    “Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, in her book ‘Lean In,’ cites an internal Hewlett-Packard study that found that men apply for a job when they consider themselves 60% qualified for it; women won’t raise their hands until they feel 100% qualified.” Research shows that women can be a bit more reluctant to take on increased responsibility through a promotion and Lipman recommends men seeking qualified women to fill an available position should reach out directly to the woman and encourage them to apply.
  3. She’s pretty sure that you don’t respect her.
    Lipman’s third guiding principle is that “for most men in a room, respect is a given.” Lipman argues that for women, they must prove that they are qualified to do the job, whereas people assume a man is qualified. To combat this fact, Lipman highlights that for women, it’s important for them to feel as if their boss has their back. Lipman shares that women “value gratitude and recognition more than men.”
  4. She deserves a raise.
    The article asserts that “men are four times more likely than women to ask for a raise –  and when women do ask, they typically request 30% less than men do, says Carnegie Mellon University economics professor Linda Babcock.” Lipman appears to agree with the advice books on this one and encourages women to ask for “what they deserve.”
  5. That’s actually not a compliment.
    The fifth point of Lipman’s details “benevolent sexism.” This includes comments that may seem complimentary but “unwittingly reinforces negative stereotypes.” For example, calling someone an accomplished woman leader instead of simply an accomplished leader. Lipman argues that adding the gender qualifier, although it may seem innocent, can remind women of stereotypes that undermine their cognitive performance and confidence.
  6. Don’t be afraid of tears.
    Managers were quoted in the article stating that without even realizing it, they were easier on female directors when it came down to performance reviews, because men “didn’t want them (women) to cry, to feel bad.” According to the article, men can appear scared to give women honest feedback, resulting in a disservice to the women. Without constructive, honest feedback, women aren’t given the same opportunities to grow as their male counterparts.
  7. Children group up.
    Although women with young children may intentionally take a step back from their careers, Lipman shares that men should keep talented women with children on the list when future positions become open. A women oftentimes wants to step back up into their career as their children age but may be sidelined by their offspring.
  8. She’s your boss, not your mother.
    The Wall Street Journal article states that Georgetown University Professor Tannen “has found that men consider strong leaders to be those who hire good people and get out of the way. Female leaders are more likely to try for collaboration, treating others as equals and checking in frequently.” The result of this opposing mindset is one of miscommunication, followed by resentment.

Lipman’s article ends on an optimistic note, stating that many companies are taking note of the unconscious bias of men and that men are joining the conversation of how to increase gender balance.

We want to hear from you:
What do you think of Lipman’s “Guide” for men?

Why More Women Should Seek Out Mentors

Do you ever feel in need of guidance, but don’t know where to look? Getting advice in the workplace isn’t always easy, but finding the right person to ask for help can be invaluable.

In one of our previous blog posts, “Four Steps to Reduce Burn Out,” we looked at some simple ways to stay on track and achieve our goals. Among them, finding support ranked at the top. But how do you parlay the support of co-workers into career development?

Find a mentor.

A 2011 LinkedIn study surveying 1,000 female professionals in the United States found that women rely on their network not only for job hunting and recommendations, but also for career advancement, collaboration, keeping up with industry trends and professional guidance.

The value of mentorship lies beyond garnering positive recommendations while job hunting. Seeking the advice of a mentor allows you to grow your skills in leadership and learn from their experience. The study showed that 82% of women think having a mentor is important to professional and personal growth. Despite these benefits, however, 1 in 5 American women report never having had a mentor.

So, if you want to find a mentor, where do you begin?

1. Have a goal.

Who comes to mind when you think of the word “mentor?” Your boss? Your co-worker? Your college professor from six years ago? When you begin searching for a mentor, the first thing to ask yourself is, “What is my goal? What do I hope to gain from this relationship?” Is it insight? Advice? Expertise? The better you know what you hope to learn, the better you can choose someone to guide you in that direction.

“Target people who have skills that you think will complement and help you enhance your own,” said Sandy Botcher, Vice President of Northwestern Mutual’s Disability Income department.

2. Be aware.

A mentor does not have to be a supervisor in your company. Not all great mentors are sitting a few feet away from you. You should constantly be on the lookout for people with the skills you’d like to improve upon or learn. Is it leadership? Problem solving? Public speaking? The ability to foster new talent? Or maybe the ability to adapt to change easily? Look around. These skills may be emulated in your neighbor, friend or even a relative.

3. Be proactive.

In the 2011 survey, LinkedIn learned that 67% of women who had never been a mentor were never asked. Mentors aren’t going to come find you. You have to be on the lookout. Seek out new opportunities to grow and network with other professionals in positions you aspire to fill in the future.

4. Don’t forget about the Internet.

There are a variety of resources available online for professional and personal growth. From Jabil Joules and Jabil’s blog to an alumni search on LinkedIn, use the tools at your disposal to connect with other professionals.

5. Pop the question.

In general, most people want to help others learn and grow. But you won’t get anywhere sitting idly by. Show initiative! Be excited! And ask them! Remember, the worst they can say is “no.” Even if they are unable to take you on as a mentee, they may be able to connect you with another mentor.

If you feel too uncomfortable to ask for a mentor directly, use your network. Ask a co-worker or a mutual friend to make introductions on your behalf.

6. Remember.

When you begin your relationship, be open and set goals. Remember that a mentorship is a two-way relationship. Take it seriously. Respect their time with you, be willing to work hard, and show that you are grateful for their help.

We want to hear from you:
How do you approach mentorship? How have mentors helped you grow your career at Jabil?