Dell has a long-term diversity program that has always impressed me. The company recently partnered with Intel, Jet Blue and Marie Claire on a unique event that embraced the women-only theme. The “Power Trip,” as the effort was called, brought together female executives and entrepreneurs from a wide variety of industries for a group experience that included a transcontinental flight for concentrated networking.
What Dell Does Differently with Diversity
Dell’s effort stands out to me because the focus is on women who have proven themselves capable and qualified, but need additional help to advance. The program I’m most familiar with is the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN). This effort is global and regularly brings together women who stand out for their achievements.
The conferences mix women who are building their own companies with girls aged 13 to 18 in order to provide mentors and role models to help these girls become “future-ready,” and develop solutions to global problems. The next DWEN event is in Cape Town, South Africa, in June, and women interested can apply to attend here.
A more recent effort is Dell’s “Power Trip,” which brought together accomplished women from across the country to inspire their peers and to communicate the importance of technology.
The overall focus of the event was to teach women how to be future-ready and more competitive. Some stats that were shared showed that working from home could be as productive as being in the office, potentially supporting a stronger work/life/family balance. Technology topics contributing to the work-anywhere trend were discussed in panels, including:
- The Internet of Things and connected devices of all kinds are new behaviors and a growing globalization in a variety of industries.
- The myth that productivity is highest in the office has been rejected by more than half of employees.
- Security policies and productivity expectations are still at odds, and IT has a continuing role to play in solving the conflicts.
Attendees included Lisa Green, head of industry, fashion at Google; Yasmin Green, Google/Jigsaw head of research; Elizabeth Hamren, head of marketing at Oculus (a Facebook company); Tracy Lawlor, JetBlue VP financial planning & analysis; Sandra Lopez, VP for Intel Wearables division; Gwyneth Paltrow, founder of goop/actor; Tyra Banks, founder of TYRA Beauty Model; Drew Barrymore, mother, actress, author, entrepreneur; and Kimberly Bryant, Black Girls CODE founder and CEO. Credit for this event goes to Jennifer Davis, executive director, Global Client Solutions, Global Brand Communications, at Dell.
Wrapping Up: Dell Building Bridges with Female Executives
By pulling from a pool of women who are already successful and providing a concentrated networking opportunity for them, Dell helps create a showcase of successful women who can become positive examples to young women in a variety of fields.
For Dell, this is seed corn, because it stands out as a vendor that is interested in making real sustainable progress rather than just going through the motions. If you are a female executive, you should check this effort out and consider participating in the future.
Rob Enderle is President and Principal Analyst of the Enderle Group, a forward-looking emerging technology advisory firm. With over 30 years’ experience in emerging technologies, he has provided regional and global companies with guidance in how to better target customer needs; create new business opportunities; anticipate technology changes; select vendors and products; and present their products in the best possible light. Rob covers the technology industry broadly. Before founding the Enderle Group, Rob was the Senior Research Fellow for Forrester Research and the Giga Information Group, and held senior positions at IBM and ROLM. Follow Rob on Twitter @enderle, on Facebook and on Google+