Diversity & Inclusion: A Mid-Year Update

By: Jackie Darling, Senior Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Human Resources

Since my last article, we have read many inspiring stories of personal development, experiences and achievements from Jabil Joules around the world. These real-world examples emphasize how diversity of education, background and experience brings real value to the workplace. Joules who have shared their stories have also demonstrated that an inclusive culture of being able to be your true self matters.

Inclusivity Leads to Innovation

Increasing awareness around inclusivity leads to greater innovation, team performance and employee engagement, demonstrating how we all individually yet equally contribute to Jabil’s success. So, for the last six months, we have been exploring and researching what Diversity & Inclusion means at Jabil. We have been thoughtful regarding what matters to us and what we need to focus on. This will serve as the platform for all future initiatives and efforts designed to increase diversity across the organization.

Our Plan
Singapore Jabil Joules

Therefore our approach to Diversity and Inclusion is focused in three parts: first, we need to keep elevating the conversation on our diversity and our differences, which we can do by learning about each other, eliminating bias and respecting differences. Jabil Joules in Huangpu demonstrated this by being recognized by the Toastmasters International President for their commitment to diversity and empowering their employees.

Second, it’s about valuing our culture and how we work together, leveraging the value of our uniqueness to help drive our teams to success, which Joules around the world exemplified in the way they came together in fun, creative ways to celebrate the inclusivity of International Women’s Day in March.

Bandung Jabil Joules

And finally, let’s remember integrity plays a role in the discussion since we must continually measure our progress and be accountable both in and outside of Jabil. Nitu Sinha spoke to this in her article about empowering women to join the manufacturing industry in India and the business value of gender diversity.

Going Foward

With that, I’m excited to share that in the coming weeks, we will launch a Diversity and Inclusion website and look forward to being able to offer more on how we will build initiatives in support of these three areas of focus.

We continue to be surrounded by examples of success inside our community, and it would be great to hear more of these stories. My ask of you is to share your story, so I can hear and understand your experiences. Think about what helps us to grow and consider what barriers might exist that challenge us? Please send me any examples via email (jackie_darling@jabil.com) and continue to share with Jabil Joules.

Jabil Leader and Former Girl Scout, Alma Brings Math to Manufacturing

For Director of Mergers and Acquisitions Finance Integration, Alma Letona, mathematics has always been one of her strengths. Alma attended a middle school with a science and technology magnet program, where she found her passion for studying math and carried that with her through a Master’s in Business Administration with a focus in forensic accounting.

Along with her high educational and career achievements, Alma is also a proud representative of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America and fondly remembers attaining several badges for completing math-focused projects. “One of the great things about the Girl Scouts is that it gives a unique and personal environment for girls to tap into things that really interest them,” she said. “I definitely think that exposure at such a young age had a significant impact on my personal and professional growth.”

Putting the M in Manufacturing

Reflecting back on her career journey, Alma hadn’t considered using her passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), more particularly math, in the manufacturing industry. “One of the benefits of going into finance or accounting, though, is that every industry needs these roles, and the pace of this role matches the high-demand and versatile setting found within a manufacturing company,” she said.

Leadership Success

She joined Jabil in 2015 and is a successful leader, having built a team of strong project managers, who are seen as the leads for Finance Integration for the Mergers and Acquisitions department at Jabil’s headquarters in St. Petersburg, Florida. Alma attributes some of her success to the leadership skills she was exposed to at a young age, saying, “Being a Girl Scout really fosters leadership qualities and promotes ambition to excel at so many different things.”

Inspiring the Next Generation

Alma had a chance to share her experiences and passion with current Girl Scouts, who visited Jabil’s corporate office to learn about science, technology, engineering and mathematics in action. The youth were attending “POWER IT UP Powered by Jabil”, a week-long summer camp aimed to expose girls to the possibilities of STEM.

“Have confidence, take chances and recognize failures
as just an opportunity to learn and grow.”

The young girls also had the chance to interact with Jabil employees and previous Girl Scouts, like Alma, who told the campers, “Have confidence, take chances and recognize failures as just an opportunity to learn and grow.”

Reciprocation is Key

As a Jabil Joule, Alma emphasizes the importance of surrounding yourself with encouraging, supportive and ambitious people. She also reminds us how success comes from reciprocating those sentiments to others. “I was able to build my career here at Jabil because of the empowering leadership in the organization, so as a director, I hope to be that same inspiring force for my team.”

Jabil and the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida POWER IT UP

Jabil St. Petersburg sponsored the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida’s “POWER IT UP Powered by Jabil,” a week-long summer camp aimed to educate and empower girls 9 – 13 years old to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The event was sponsored by Jabil’s corporate Jabil Cares team, who worked closely with Jabil Vice President of Technology, April Butterfield and her team of design engineers to craft the STEM program curriculum. “April’s team was instrumental in formulating the creative content and presenting to the girls, but I also think the inspiration went both ways,” said Senior Vice President Beth Walters.

Jabil’s Design Engineering team brought fun design activities for the Girl Scouts

During the week, 30 girls learned about a variety of STEM-related subjects, including: solar energy engineering, supply chain, digital technology and more. Jabil employees visited the girls Monday through Thursday at the Girl Scouts Leadership Center, bringing new technologies and creating fun hands-on projects to test their STEM knowledge.

On Friday, Jabil St. Petersburg welcomed the girls to the campus to tour the different facilities and departments. Employees from the manufacturing facility and from the engineering, supply chain and communications departments demonstrated how STEM is applied to a variety of jobs at Jabil.

The Girl Scouts were able to see new, innovative technology in action

Ty’ana, a 13-year old Girl Scout who attended the STEM camp and who also excels in math said, “I always thought about a career in STEM especially coding. And after this camp, I think I want to work at Jabil because I saw things I can do with the coding, like 3D printers and holograms and cool stuff like that!”

Another Girl Scout, age 12, learned there are no boundaries when it comes to future technologies. “I like being creative and at the camp, I learned how cool a lot of STEM things are because there aren’t rules to what you can make!”

St. Petersburg employees demonstrated the fun of 3D printing

The employees had fun, too, with many of those who volunteered saying how they learned a lot from the experience: “This was good practice for me to be able to explain technical items in simple terms, which is important when it comes to speaking to a customer who may not know the mechanics of the product,” said Elise Sebak, operations intern.

“This was a great opportunity to educate the next generation on what professions are available and how they can get into them,” said Natasha Holton, site quality manager, who helped guide the Girl Scouts through the St. Petersburg manufacturing facility.

The Girl Scouts heard from a variety of teams, including: Engineering, Multimedia and Supply Chain

It couldn’t get more rewarding than to hear from Abigail, 12-year old Girl Scout, “I always wanted to be a teacher, but now I think I might want to work here with the cool technology and work with people in other countries.”

The employees who volunteered throughout the week felt as empowered as the Girl Scouts from the experience. “Days like this are inspirational when we get to spend time with kids, to see their interest and have hope for the future. It just cheers you up and reinvigorates you to tackle those problems that have been getting in your way with your projects,” said Michael Coots, design engineer.

Jabil Kuatro’s Olha Omelianenko Inspires Local College Students

Currently, women make up only about 30 percent of the information and communication technologies (ICT) field in Europe – an industry with about 7 million people (World Economic Forum, 2018). With similar trends across the globe, including the United States where women hold a little over 25 percent of information technology positions (NCWIT, 2018), females currently in the field are jumping into action to positively impact the future of the workforce.

Jabil Joules throughout the globe have taken this as an opportunity to connect and educate others in their communities to help diversify the workforce, and in Kharkiv, Ukraine, one of Jabil Kuatro’s employees is doing just that. Olha Omelianenko, software developer and design engineer, was invited to present at “Women in IT” organized by Hillel, a local technological college. The event featured a panel of women in Ukraine’s ICT community, from development directors to software engineers, who provided inspiring experiences and ideas on how the industry could benefit from more female representation.

Olha shares with the Joules community her thoughts on why it’s important to educate and mentor the next generation of female ICT employees:

How did you start your career?

Olha: Actually, it wasn’t a difficult decision for me because my whole family works in the technology field, so it was a very natural career path. However, not everyone has that source of inspiration. That’s why if someone has even the slightest interest in ICT, I am a proponent of just going for it. For all those women who don’t have that familial connection to the field, I say: don’t be afraid to start. Leave any negativity and stereotypes behind. It isn’t an easy thing, but when you are inspired, you can do a lot with that passion.

What lessons did you learn along the way?

Olha: I read a lot – books, guides, case studies – but I didn’t make a habit of practicing the things I was learning. That was my main mistake, and I still continue to remind myself of that. Practice, practice, practice.

How can women be successful in the field?

Olha: In my opinion, to stay ‘on top of things’ and pursue a successful career in technology, women should take a few things into consideration: One, reflect on the feedback given and when you’re not given any, seek it out. Communicate with your team, mentors and managers. It’s vital for anyone’s career to receive advice and knowledge from others.

That goes into the second point – never stop learning. Knowledge is power, and when you know how the world works – or at least your industry – you’ll be better off and better able to innovate.

You mention mentors, do you have one?

Olha: Yes, my mentor is the team-lead and principal engineer at Jabil Kuatro, Andrii Iakovenko, who always takes the time to offer advice and is committed to helping me develop in my career. He exemplifies how a fair leader acts and provides feedback to help me grow the professional skills I’ll need to be a manager someday.

What advice do you have for students and potential employees?

Olha: Once you’ve set your goals and researched what it takes, set that aside temporarily and begin practicing. Like I mentioned before, that was my biggest mistake – not applying my knowledge to hands-on projects. For students: try to write code for university projects or freelance projects. Creating your own original projects is also a good opportunity to practice your skills. Anything is better than doing nothing.

What advice do you have for Joules around the world?

Olha: Say yes to big and small opportunities, no matter what level employee you are, because it’s a way to promote yourself and work toward the top. It’s okay to face a challenge that is above your abilities because this experience is an opportunity to be inspired to innovate.

 

Original interview with Daria Bastanzhyieva, communications specialist, Jabil Kuatro.

Inspiring Others: Ying’s Journey to Director of Business Management

 

Ying Guo joined Jabil Japan in 2005 as a Customer Service Administrator and was promoted to Business Unit Coordinator just three years later, relocating to Jabil’s Huangpu site. There, she oversaw two large customer accounts, while also bringing on a third customer to the business, leading to her promotion to Business Unit Manager in 2012.

Ying continued to build Jabil’s successful automotive incubation business, adding two more customer accounts to her portfolio and becoming Senior Business Unit Manager just ten years after she joined Jabil. Through her guidance and leadership, Ying brought a total of six new customers to Jabil Huangpu.

Recently promoted to Director of Business Management at Jabil Huangpu, Ying reflects on her journey and attributes her success to the hard work and motivation that she saw from her mentors and leaders.

Mentors

“I do have mentors – and not only one but a few because it’s important to learn from multiple and diverse viewpoints,” she said. Ying characterizes her mentors as inspiring leaders, who care about their employees and motivate them to come up with new, innovative ideas. These are people who have created a collaborative, open workplace for their whole team to succeed together, and it’s the type of leader she strives to be at the Huangpu facility.

Passion for Business

Ying received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Business Strategy and is currently pursuing her Masters of Business Administration from the China Europe International Business School. In order to educate others, she believes it’s important that she, too, continues learning.

Along with an educational interest in business, Ying also attributes her choice in following a career in business to the examples set by senior leaders and executives at Jabil. She felt a connection to their styles of leadership and wanted to contribute to the inspirational work environment.

“I would attend meetings and listen to leaders like Alessandro Parimbelli and Mike Loparco talk about servant-leadership – a style that promotes sharing the ‘power’ with others, putting others’ needs first and helping employees develop – and realized that I wanted to support a team like that; it’s an empowering way to success,” she shares.