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Diversity: more important than ever

Vernon Velasco



Women in Lenovo empower other women to lead and challenge the stereotypes of the male-dominated tech industry. (From top left, clockwise) Lenovo Philippines’ Yvette Reyes, Tier 2 Channels Lead; Bence Bianzon, Enterprise Channels Specialist — Data Center Group; Anna Abola, Marketing Communications Manager — Commercial and Corporate; Mutya Syling, Operations Manager; Nanette Malvar, Key Accounts Manager; and Pia Marie Go, Business Development Manager — Sales Services.

With efficiency at a premium, it’s more important than ever for companies to consider how they should attract and retain an effective, highly skilled workforce. A diverse and inclusive culture is the core of such a high-performing team — but technology remains a male-dominated industry, with old-fashioned assumptions sometimes taking the place of critical business thinking. However, pioneering companies like Lenovo are challenging these assumptions and seeking to establish workforce parity in the company culture both for top-level business leaders and those working their way up the corporate ladder.

“And why not?” said Mutya Syling, Operations Manager at Lenovo Philippines, stressing that tech needs, now more than ever, more women.

“When men and women work as a team, this creates a lot of synergy,” she said. “The key is bringing a high-performing group of people together with diverse backgrounds, talents, and experience, not giving special treatment to one or the other. Work performance will always be the measuring gate.”

Lenovo is a global company with complex operations, and its future success will depend on a workplace that champions diversity and inclusion. This involves the provision of an inclusive and safe working environment, as well as competitive compensation, employee benefits, training and career development, and high regard for employees as the company’s most valuable strategic resource.

Anna Abola’s over 20 years of solid marketing management experience, as well as her 10 years in information technology (IT), has merited her an important role in delivering the company’s business growth: helming the marketing communications management of the Commercial and Corporate segment.

“Through diversity, a company can gain a wider range of perspectives, which is crucial in responding to the needs of customers effectively. Different outlooks arise through different experiences lived by women and men, and bringing these together creates an impact on the business and culture of a company,” Abola said. “In my case, I’d like to think that I’m able to bring new ideas on the table which in turn help drive innovation and strengthen the Lenovo brand in the Philippine market.”

Abola believes in developing a culture where both women and men belong and feel empowered. A deliberate effort to foster the development of women in IT at all levels, she said, can help break the cycle and encourage younger women to pursue a career in IT.

This is also true for Pia Marie Go, Lenovo Philippines business development manager in sales services, who enjoys the industry’s fast pace. She said being in IT enhances people’s ability to solve interesting problems and go where they see opportunities for growth.

“I value things like flexible time around child care and elder care, extended maternity leave, and the ability to work from home,” she said. “Organizations that promote diversity encourage a creative and collaborative environment. Including both women and men brings energy to the organization, and empowering people can help the company grow and succeed.”

Meanwhile, Bence Bianzon, Lenovo Philippines enterprise channels specialist in Data Center Group, said that in her three years at Lenovo, she saw that more and more women are joining the organization. She added that it helped improve Lenovo’s brand image as well.

“It might be challenging to be a woman in this field, but it is fulfilling to become a part of it. Seeing other women thrive and excel, and live their dreams doing meaningful work that they love, should help serve as an encouragement to others to further fight for equality and equity,” she said.

Spanning 180 markets around the world, Lenovo employs over 63,000 people, of which women constitute 36.2 percent as of FY 2019/2020. In addition, 27.4 percent of technical roles and 18.5 perccent of executive roles worldwide are held by women, exemplifying progress in its global representation of female executives. Lenovo also earned a spot in the 2020 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI), having been recognized as one of 325 companies worldwide committed to supporting gender equality through policy development, representation and transparency.

This heritage allows Lenovo to integrate different cultures and promote inclusive policies and programs not only among its workforce but to the technologies that it brings to the wider society as well. For instance, Lenovo Philippines Channels Lead Yvette Reyes, in the conduct of her role, has a unique opportunity to promote this philosophy among channel partners.

“I am always honored to be able to showcase how our products and services help create a more inclusive digital society and provide better experiences and opportunities for the people who use them. People can expect Lenovo to continue this path now and in the future,” she said.

For its part, Lenovo instills in all team members the critical role that technology plays in ensuring that no one gets left behind. Lenovo Philippines Key Accounts Manager Nanette Malvar sees her role in the organization as more than a bridge between the company and its external partners — she is an enabler of connected communities.

“Technology opens up worlds of possibility for everyone and it’s our responsibility in the IT industry to support access to tech tools that have the potential to change the world. We can’t do that if we only limit ourselves to what we know or understand to be acceptable. If we are to succeed in this mission, fostering diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the business is crucial,” Malvar said.
Lenovo’s vision is Smarter Technology for All — and there is no “all” without inclusion.