The Black Lives Matter Movement has forever altered the way I communicate with our global employees here at Quest. It’s also highlighted my duty to remove any obstacles that stand in the way of true Diversity and Inclusion for everyone.
But my initial contribution to Quest’s Global D&I began by passing the mic to our employees.
In the days following George Floyd’s horrific murder last May, our CEO Patrick Nichols and I created a special inbox called “We Are Listening” encouraging everyone, especially our Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), to privately share their thoughts with us. Nothing was off limits. Whether their stories involved Quest or focused on their personal experiences, we opened this forum with one thing in mind: to listen.
The emails poured in. I was overwhelmed by the courage, resilience, brilliance and candor of each person who wrote to us. I was also uncomfortable, upset and ultimately motivated to show our employees that Quest wanted to be part of visible change. Above all, our core values are anchored to ethics, integrity and respect — and we needed to ensure our commitment to the belonging of all.
For Patrick and me, the next step was obvious: Look to our employees for guidance.
With the full support of our Francisco Partners, Quest’s private equity owner, Patrick created our Quest Equality & Inclusion Council. To borrow a bit from Patrick’s words in a recent internal video to our employees, “we believe a company that organizes around equality and inclusion is a stronger, more successful company. We recognize and appreciate the importance of creating an environment in which all employees feel valued, included, and empowered to do the best work possible.”
That’s why our E&I Council mission centers on cultivating an environment that: 1) attracts the best talent, 2) values the diversity of experiences and perspectives, and 3) encourages innovation in pursuit of our collective goals. What’s even better is our E&I Council is employee-driven and led. So, while Patrick and I keep a tight line to initiatives (now in early stages), it’s up to our 44 E&I volunteers in four global regions and 12 functional groups to choose which priorities move forward and are broadcast to Quest.
“Action versus conjecture...Influence change...Change can come in many forms, small or large and those impacted can be internal or external. I joined the E&I Council, so that my actions and the actions of Quest can influence change,” explained member Michael Smith. “My goal is to work alongside fellow members toward the E&I Council's Community Partnership initiative. I hope that Quest can partner with communities and organizations, globally, to bring about positive change.”
Fellow member Selina Martinez’ words around her passion for the Council’s upcoming goals stuck with me as well.
“After the wrongful killing of George Floyd and the protests which ensued that made the country reflect on racial tensions, I was pleased that Quest responded not just with a statement but with the creation of the Equality and Inclusion Council to tackle some critical issues in the workplace. As a minority, I have experienced the negative effects of a lack of diversity and inclusion throughout my career, including here at Quest. I joined the Equality and Inclusion Council because I wanted to be a part of creating a more diverse and inclusive environment at Quest. I am very excited to be leading the Diversity Goals workstream where our goal is to pull data together to establish our baseline with regard to diversity numbers and set goals similar to other industry leaders. This data will help us highlight where we are not living up to our ideals and work on creative solutions to bridge the gaps we identify.”
And recently, I had the incredible opportunity to speak externally about our E&I Council as Quest’s roundtable executive participant at the Microsoft Inspire partner conference. Microsoft Inspire is where Microsoft partners from around the world unite to create connections, empower possibilities, build their businesses, and celebrate success. While D&I has always been a corporate priority for Microsoft, this year they hosted the discussion “Delivering Transformational Diversity & Inclusion Leadership” for partners.
I couldn’t have planned a better conversation moderated by our stellar Microsoft roundtable leaders Eve Stacey, VP of US Partner Go-To-Market and Carlos De Torres, VP of US Partner Development – ISV, Industry & Private Equity. Our dialogue delved into priority questions, such as “How do we work together to foster more D&I leadership in the tech industry?” We also shared our thoughts on the economic impact of inclusion and inclusive design as well as the global messages organizations should consider as each country and region may have different D&I challenges.
This truly was a rich and unique experience Microsoft provided to learn about “difference-making” efforts taking place throughout the world. I also took away helpful feedback and ideas from my fellow roundtable company participants, which included App River, PTC, 10th Magnitude, Blue Chip and New Signature.
I reached out to Eve recently and she 100% agreed these partner conversations must continue to ensure we’re keeping one another accountable.
“We were grateful to hear LuAnn’s perspective about Quest’s D&I focus, along with ideas from other partners about their own companies,” shared Eve. “With our commitment to listening, learning, working to understand, and doing better to increase diversity and create a truly inclusive culture, Microsoft values perspectives and insights from our partners.”
And here at Quest, we pledge to keep our open dialogue going — taking our cues from our amazing E&I Council and importantly, LISTENING to our employees because, like Selina shared, there’s so much more lasting work to be done.