Rosalind Hudnell, vice president of corporate affairs at Intel Corp., recalls her first day of work 20 years ago at the $158 billion global technology giant.
“The first time I went into corporate headquarters, I was asked if I was the secretary,” says Hudnell, who also serves as president of the Intel Foundation, a 30-year corporate effort to fund and diversify education in STEM.
Accepting the Trailblazer Award at the 46th annual conference for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund in Chicago recently, Hudnell says, “I’m black, I’m female and I’m not an engineer. I am the exception and not the rule.”I’m black, I’m female, I’m not an engineer. I am the exception and not the rule. #womenintech Click To Tweet
Praising Hudnell for her groundbreaking work in diversity and inclusion in tech, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., president of Rainbow PUSH, says, “She is a transforming force.” He adds, “Intel is taking the lead in breaking the cycle, working to make the workforce look like America.”
In January 2015, Intel committed to spending $300 million on the Diversity in Technology Initiative, with the main goal to achieve full representation of women and underrepresented minorities in Intel’s U.S. workforce by 2020.
The initiative also includes the “technology industry at large. The scope of Intel’s efforts span the entire value chain, from spending with diverse suppliers and diversifying its venture portfolio to better serving its markets and communities through innovative programs like Hack Harassment, which aims to combat online harassment,” according to Intel.
Those initiatives are critically needed in tech, particularly with recent news in Silicon Valley of top leaders’ resignations at several companies due to harassment and discrimination charges.
Intel’s 2016 Diversity and Inclusion Report shows that overall, 74.2 percent of its employees are male and 25.8 percent are female. In non-tech positions, parity is nearly achieved, with 51.6 percent male employees and 48.4 percent female.
Last week Intel announced a commitment to spend $100 million with women-owned businesses around the world over the next three years in an announcement at the 2017 Global Citizen Festival in Hamburg, Germany.Roz Hudnell: Hold the door open wider. @Intel @RPCoalition #BlackWomenAtWork Click To Tweet
These fairness initiatives may also help improve the bottom line.
According to HR Tech Weekly, “Estimations are that companies in the USA lose $64 billion a year — the cost of employees leaving their workplace — due to diversity and inclusion issues (not to mention discrimination). Of that figure, $16 billion is attributed to the tech industry alone.”
According to a recent Kapor Center report, “Nearly 40 percent of employees surveyed indicated that unfairness or mistreatment played a major role in their decision to leave their company, and underrepresented men were most likely to leave due to unfairness. One in 10 women experienced unwanted sexual attention. Women from all backgrounds experienced/observed significantly more unfairness than men and unfairness was more pronounced in tech companies than non-tech companies.”
Additionally, the report continues, “Underrepresented men and women of color experienced stereotyping at twice the rate of White and Asian men and women; 30 percent of underrepresented women of color were passed over for promotion.”
Speaking to more than 1,000 attendees at the annual Rainbow PUSH business luncheon, Hudnell says in order to achieve diversity in the workforce corporations need to “share your data, set goals, step up and lead.”
Hudnell, who also received a lifetime achievement award at Intel for her impact on diversity and inclusion, manages Intel employees in 18 countries, says, “We get credit for the money, but the real commitment is to hire and promote more diverse individuals into jobs that matter.”
Describing herself as “incredibly resilient,” Hudnell says, “My mantra is that I march into a corporate setting every day and focus on the door. I’ve been working to hold the door open wider, but what I want is not a door, it’s a hangar, and it’s so big all who want to, can walk through it.”
She led the development of the 10k Engineer’s Initiative for President Barack Obama’s U.S. Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and served as a consultant on the documentary, “Girl Rising.” As a spearheading influence on the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, a global, award-winning program bringing leading-edge technology to underserved youth around the world, Hudnell also co-founded Intel’s Black Executive Council.
“What is my personal responsibility?” Hudnell asks. “I drive a diversity agenda, but where is my personal role? I question whether I have done enough. We can all question whether you make a difference.”What is my personal responsibility? Give, volunteer and give back. #womenintech Click To Tweet
Observing 50 years of social justice and diversity progress in society as well as in corporations, Hudnell says recent shifts “challenge us to find our souls.” She asks, “Is this our slingshot moment? We have to pull it back farther for the ball to go far.”
Hudnell is in a position to contribute to that forward movement. She serves on the Center for Talent Innovation Board of Directors, the Global Business Coalition for Education Advisory Board and the World Economic Forum “Internet for All” Steering Committee and is a member of the Executive Leadership Council.
Describing her leadership style as “highly relational, compassionate and collaborative,” Hudnell says every day at work she feels the spirit of her mother and her grandmother with her, and acknowledges their sacrifices for her to be in this position.
Real change in the workplace will happen not just in the workplace, but in people’s homes and communities, Hudnell says. And not just with their professional lives, but with what they do personally.
“We have to give back and donate personally,” Hudnell says. “Volunteer, give and give back.”
She adds, “Progress is like a muscle, you have to work it out.”