Driving diversity and inclusion in telecoms

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At the recent ITW Global Leaders’ Forum (GLF) meeting in London, Verizon’s Eric Cevis called for the world’s wholesale carrier leaders to come together to solve one of the telecommunication industry’s most pressing issues – diversity and inclusion. Eric proposed that the GLF sets up a working committee to focus on improving diversity and inclusion across the board – just as it has previously done with topics such as Security and Fraud. The objective is to identify 2-3 core initiatives that the organization’s members can work on collectively, with its thinking to be showcased at the GLF meeting at ITW in Atlanta in June 2020.

The ITW Global Leaders’ Forum (GLF) is a network of leaders representing the world’s largest wholesale carriers, who come together several times per year to discuss strategic issues and to agree collaborative activities to drive the next phase of industry growth. The organization’s mission is to be “the voice of the global carrier industry providing leadership and direction to interconnect the digital world”. This encapsulates the ultimate aim of the GLF, which is to enable consumers and enterprises to communicate and transact for any service or application, on any device and any infrastructure, in any geography, thus enabling the globalization of business and the closure of the digital divide.

Eric comments: “Given that the GLF brings together leaders of the global wholesale industry, it is the perfect organization to take action on this topic. We need change to be driven across the industry – and who better to drive that change than the people at the top.”

As Eric said in London: “A more diverse, gender- and age-balanced workforce is critical to the success of all established businesses around the globe today. Why? Digital technologies are dramatically changing how, where, and with whom the business of business is conducted. And they are also changing the skillset required to conduct business. In the context of an ageing workforce, and a shrinking labor pool, this presents a real challenge. The GLF’s own data calls out a significant increase in the level of challenge we all face when acquiring and retaining talent. If we don’t take action, this issue will only get worse.”

For Eric, the issue is simple. “For me, diversity and inclusion is not about counting heads but making each head count. There are many dimensions to who we all are. As individuals, we need to be able to apply our whole self and know our unique perspectives matter. As a company, we need to harness the power of all these different backgrounds and ways of thinking, and create an environment where all people are empowered to grow and contribute, to innovate and drive positive change.”

Eric concluded: “Embracing diversity and fostering inclusion is more than the right thing to do – it’s a business imperative and a competitive advantage. By valuing diversity and inclusion across the business, we will strengthen our culture and be better positioned to serve our customers in new and better ways.”

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