As seen on CRN
By CJ Fairfield
Solution provider executives talk about how bringing women, people of color, military veterans and employees with diverse backgrounds on board is giving their company an advantage.
Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging is a journey. And whether MSPs built their foundation upon DEIB principles or are just starting out, they are now taking actionable steps to provide an inclusive space where everyone feels welcomed.
Tanaz Choudhury’s entire organization was built with DEIB in mind.
“My purpose is not only maintaining that for the organization, but also ensuring that more people are involved with the concept of it,” Choudhury, president and CEO of Tanches Global Management, a Houston-based IT solution provider, told CRN.
One aspect of DEIB that she prides herself on is hiring employees of all ages.
“I think that demarcation of age brings different thought processes to the table, which can then help improve processes and workflows, hence creating efficiency,” she said.
She also likes to have employees on board who have a unique professional background.
“Last year, we brought in an intern who was esports-focused,” she said. “We brought him in, went through the grind with him, taught him the ropes of administrative and business processes, and now he’s heading our esports department.”
This year she also hired a young woman who comes from a refugee family.
“It’s those type of things [where] you can make a difference in your own little way,” she said. “When you belong in a certain place or you belong with a certain idea, that gives you a sense of place, and we’re all looking for that. It’s a human need.”
For its part, solution provider NWN Carousel is at the beginning of its DEIB journey but has hit the ground running.
Andrea Morrison, chief people officer at the Exeter, R.I.-based company, came on board in July 2022 with the goal of instilling a focus on inclusion.
“The key factor is to ensure that everybody who’s in your company is in the journey together,” she told CRN. “And when you actually bring everybody along in the journey, there’s opportunity for everyone to be able to contribute.”
NWN plans to do more work to attract women to the company externally and internally through networking events and training.
“We’re providing voice, we’re providing a platform for the women of our organization to actively continue to lead,” she said. “It was organically there, and now we’re just amplifying it.”
She’s also passionate about hiring more veterans.
“I would say that we have leadership gaps within the organization, really that first-line leadership, and that is where military leaders excel,” she said.
And to attract more people of color, NWN has started discussions with AfroTech, a tech, investment and wealth-building platform for the Black community, as well as the National Society of Black Engineers.
“We’ve got a lot of learning to do, , we’ve had a lot of listening to do, and I think we have a lot of opportunity to make this place even better,”she said.
Vennard Wright, president and CEO of Wave Welcome, an Oxen Hill, Md.-based MSP,is deliberate in hiring diverse talent. He said his goal is “to make sure that we are building whole IT professionals that are capable in the long term of becoming C-level executives.”
His company is taking steps toward that goal through Tech Prince George’s initiative, an initiative that’s goal is “to identify and develop students in Prince George’s County (Maryland) who have demonstrated a sustained aptitude and interest in IT and to cultivate their educational and career growth so that they become future contributors to the economic success and viability of Prince George’s County,” according to its website.
Wright is working with the program to ensure that large tech employers in the area are offering competitive salaries. He also is collaborating with local universities so that what they’re teaching is aligned with what is needed in the field.
“The goal is to really make sure that we’re doing things on a regular basis that are helping to move those indicators in the right direction,” he said.
As CEO, he calls on people directly and disperses assignments because he said he understands the value in bringing different opinions to the table.
“Even if we are not specifically saying ‘diversity,’ we can still work on making sure that it is a level playing field for everyone,” he said. “I’m not a fan of giving one person an advantage over another, but I am a huge fan of making sure that everyone has a fair shot.”