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Unleashing the power of diversity

Today is March 8th, International Women’s Day.  This is a great time to share what we have done in Nokia to press for progress (#pressforprogress) in gender balance during 2017.

We have developed several key success factors as goals for gender balance during the second year of our 5-year plan. As you know, our ambition is to have a gender balance that reflects the world around us.  We also endeavor to maintain a workplace where both men and women have an equal opportunity to succeed in every function and at every level.

Gender balance starts from being “gender aware.” To that end, our first objective was to increase this awareness.  We are proud of our efforts in 2017.  This past year we trained 2300 leaders and employees on best practices to manage and grow diverse teams.  We also provided granular data to company leaders and set ambition levels so they could understand how their specific unit was performing.

Our second objective was to help ensure that we have leadership commitment. The commitment starts with our CEO Rajeev Suri. In March 2017, Rajeev signed the United Nations Women Empowerment Principles, which states that “Nokia is committed to doing its part to eliminate the disparity between men and women in technology companies.” In September 2017, he also signed a letter of cooperation with UNESCO to promote gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s leadership. We believe that we have set a strong foundation for leadership commitment with the right tone at the top.

Our third objective was to inspire every one of us to identify great ideas as to how we can actually advance gender balance. In 2017, Nokia leaders and employees put forward several innovative ideas, a few of which I’m excited to share here as they were deployed notably to empower women and school-age girls who will contribute to our future talent pool:

Empowering employees

2017 participants of “Inspiring Women Leaders
2017 participants of “Inspiring Women Leaders

We gathered 50 women from each of our business units globally, into a one-year leadership journey following our Nokia recipe, which blends executive sponsorship with skills development, coaching and networking. Of the 2017 participants, 30% have already moved to roles with broader responsibilities!

Our Chief Customer Operations Officer Ashish Chowdhary sponsors a Women Forum of 12 Sales leaders in business networking, coaching, career counselling and executive mentoring. This initiative is now being replicated in one of our customer teams.

In Mobile Networks, several leaders have sponsored a Talent Development Program for 20 women across diverse roles and diverse geographies, encompassing networking, reverse mentoring and sponsorship.

In the US, our employee network StrongHer piloted a “Decoding Nokia Financials” workshop to enable 36 StrongHer members to further develop their business acumen in corporate financials and understand the connection between their work and Nokia’s financials.

Empowering women and girls

Greenlight for Girls event at the Nokia Campus in Espoo, Finland
Greenlight for Girls event at the Nokia Campus in Espoo, Finland

Every year, girls (and boys) are welcome to join STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) events organized by Nokia in collaboration with Greenlight for Girls and Skool. In 2017, events were organized in Europe, Australia, the US, Africa and Asia.  A total of 1,810 girls aged 11 – 15 years could experience what it means to work in science workshops empowered by 635 Nokia volunteers alongside Deepti Arora, Nokia Chief Quality Officer.

Sasa Nijemcevic, Nokia VP, GM Network & Service Management Business Unit launched a “Ladies Learning Code” initiative to build a partnership with a federally registered nonprofit organization in Canada aimed at promoting collaborative, technological learning among women and youth.  In January 2018, the NSM unit hosted the first of an ongoing series of day-long technical training sessions for 50 women, together with 10 mentors.

Greenlight for Girls event at the Nokia campus in Bangalore, India, with Deepti Arora, Chief Quality Officer
Greenlight for Girls event at the Nokia campus in Bangalore, India, with Deepti Arora, Chief Quality Officer

 I am deeply convinced that we are doing a lot of very good things which can inspire other innovators to create their own gender balance initiatives.  I have no doubt that we will deliver results in the short-term.  Indeed, we can all make a meaningful difference by leading the progress at all levels.  Everyone should look around themselves and ask what more they can do with powerful questions such as “do I understand my own unconscious biases? Am I engaging in the right behaviors?  Am I interviewing diverse candidates for each and every job opening?  Am I mentoring high potential women and men?”

All these things, among others, are critical to moving our company and industry forward, by enabling every employee – whatever their gender, gender identity and/or sexual orientation, whatever their generation, and whatever their cultural background –  to be respected and valued.

Share your thoughts on this topic by joining the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks using #pressforprogress  #diversity #teamnokia  #StrongHer

Barry French

About Barry French

Barry French is Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Nokia. Areas of responsibilities include: heading marketing, communications, industry analyst and government relations, regulatory affairs, and corporate social responsibility and sustainability.

Tweet me @bhfrench.

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