Post by Kevin Peesker, President Microsoft Canada
As leaders, we know a defined diversity, equity and inclusion strategy should be an integral part of any organization. This past year has elevated why it is critical for businesses to play an active role in creating environments where people of diverse backgrounds feel empowered with the right opportunities, resources and platforms to thrive. The Black Professionals in Tech Network (BPTN) is a pillar within Canada’s technology industry and is making incredible strides to bridge the network gap that currently exists for Black technical and business professionals. We are proud to deepen our partnership with BPTN to support their efforts and be more deliberate in growing Black talent at Microsoft in alignment with advancing our culture of diversity and inclusion.
“BPTN is proud to welcome Microsoft as a new partner company. We look forward to helping them build the tools required to attract, hire, retain and promote Black technical and non-technical talent. This includes pipeline building and internal culture development,” says Lekan Olawoye, BPTN founder and CEO
As part of this partnership, Microsoft and BPTN will offer:
- Masterclasses: Microsoft senior executives will be participating in BPTN’s Masterclass events, which offer members insights on important topics within the tech industry. On February 18, Merrie Williamson, Microsoft Vice President, Azure Apps and Infrastructure, and Gladstone Grant, National Director of Solution Sales, MTC, will join BPTN for a session that dives into how diversity is an asset to product engineering. Registration for is now open: Diversity as a catalyst for Superior Product Development & Engineering
- Network Diversification Pods: Starting in February, Microsoft executives will participate in monthly learning pods to grow and diversify industry networks, and find solutions to bridging the current network gap between Black talent and career opportunities.
- Lean-in Sessions: With participation from Microsoft managers and its leadership team, attendees will gain insider insight into the Black tech ecosystem and will be equipped with SMART goals to create and maintain a more diverse and inclusive company culture and improve the company’s bottom line.
- Leadership Conversation Circles: Building upon the SMART goals and tools introduced within the lean-in session, these discussions provide the opportunity to reflect on the strategic impacts of their diversity, inclusion and belonging (DIB) goals.
As leaders, we need to be held accountable for change within our organizations. Microsoft’s 2020 Diversity and Inclusion report published this past October, provides a look at the company’s U.S. workforce, illustrating a clear opportunity to improve representation across all levels and roles, especially for Black employees. At Microsoft Canada, we also recognize there is still much to be done when it comes to creating a more equitable environment both within our own organization and the broader tech industry. As our CEO, Satya Nadella said, “In order to be successful as a business in empowering everyone on the planet, we need to reflect the world we serve.” We’re confident that by remaining open and transparent about where we are and the progress we would like to make, we can help contribute to a more equitable workplace for everyone.