Enhance Company Diversity and Inclusion Practices Because It’s The Right Thing To Do

Automatic Summary

A champion of diversity in the workplace: Interview with CEO Tammy Mazel Shahar

Hello, says Tammy Mazel Shahar, the CEO of Incredibuild—a company well known for championing diversity at the workplace. Through our discussion today, we will explore why diversity is significant, and how it can shape the success of a company. Exploring a myriad of ideas, the CEO discusses her personal experiences, observations, and the proactive initiatives her company has taken to create a more diverse work environment.

Madagascar Roots and Life Lessons

At the beginning of our chat, Tammy draws a striking comparison between her birthplace, Madagascar, known for its diverse ecosystems and animated population, and the concept of diversity in the workplace. Growing up in various cities across the globe, she got an early glimpse of the true essence of diversity. As you’ll soon find out, this exposure to different cultures and viewpoints was instrumental in shaping her approach to leadership and workplace diversity.

Career Path and Personal Insights

Tammy's career took her from a non-technological unit in the Israeli Army to marketing coordinator in a semiconductor company, where she fell in love with technology. As she grew in her career, moving through sales, support, customer success and finally landing in the CEO seat, she became aware of how underrepresented females were in boardrooms and in the general tech scene. Her personal journey ignited in her a passion to bring about a change in this scenario.

Embracing diversity at Incredibuild

Under Tammy's leadersship, 75% of Incredibuild's management team is female, a striking contrast to many other companies and industries. Numerous initiatives like the creation of a children's book to inspire the future, to the focus on hiring the best talent have driven this change.

The Ripple Effect of Diversity

Drawing from Tammy's insights, we can understand the importance of the 'ripple effect' in driving workplace diversity. The concept of the 'ripple effect' refers to the impact of a single action spreading out and influencing others. It starts with diversity at the top, creating more opportunities for diverse individuals at all levels within the organization.

  1. Awareness: Highlighting the stark gender skew present in many organizations is the first step towards changing the status quo.
  2. Top-down Approach: Having a diverse leadership team has a ripple effect, leading to more diverse hiring across different levels in the company.
  3. Bottom-up Approach: Education from an early age to promote the inclusivity and equal representation of all individuals.
  4. Being a Role Model: Setting an example to be emulated by younger generations, helping them envision themselves in impactful roles throughout their careers.

Looking Ahead

While progress has been made, more work needs to be done. Each individual has a role to play in promoting diversity in their backyard, in their communities, and in their workplaces. With small steps from everyone, larger leaps can be made towards a more diverse and richer working environment.

Let's all step forward to foster a culture of diversity and inclusion where everyone feels valued, heard, and recognized. The price we pay for diversity is worth every effort.

Q&A Session

Following her enlightening talk, Tammy invited questions from the listeners and also shared links to resources, like the children's books Incredibuild has produced – "Sophie's Crystal Ball" and "Sophie The Entrepreneur" – reinforcing the importance of planting the seeds of equality and diversity early in life.

Tammy's story serves as a reminder that every step we take towards promoting inclusivity and diversity can lead to significant change. Whether you are a budding entrepreneur, an established CEO or a HR professional looking to promote diversity, see Tammy’s experience as a testament to the immense benefits of embracing diversity in the workplace.

Video Transcription

Hello, everyone. Um My name is uh Tammy Mazel Shahar and I'm the CEO of incredible. And in the next 20 minutes, I'll talk about um diversity in the workplace. And I think the question, why is it important?I hope it's not a question that we need to answer anymore. I think we all understand that diversity is what makes companies successful uh in terms of bringing different people of different colors, genders, opinions and all around that and how much it brings creativity, success besides just being, you know, uh something that reflects what should happen in society in general.

So, um I will share my screen and we will start and at the end, there will be some time for questions. Um I hope everybody can see my screen. Let me know. OK, so um I'll start, first of all with a slide and you might ask yourself, why am I starting with Madagascar? Uh Besides being a movie I really, really love. I was actually born in Madagascar. Uh and it's a mega diverse island. Uh One of the beautiful things about Madagascar, it has all of the most amazing types of animals, but also a lot of different cultures. I was born there because I'm, I'm part of a family that my dad was in the foreign affairs. So, pretty much I grew up between Madagascar Paris, Cairo, Jerusalem and many different cities. And I think that kind of started something in me that told me that the world should be a diverse, even though I didn't even know the world, the word diverse when I was uh, so young. So a little bit about myself. Uh I'm 53 years old. I live in a is I have three Children you can see on the left, two of them are soldier. I don't know if you know, but in Israel army is compulsory.

It's part of our um the way that we finish high school, we do army, both uh men and women. And later we start our career. Um in my free times, I mentor girls in youth uh uh villages in terms of uh showing them technology and how to build apps. And this is a very fulfilling position. And when I have some free time, which I actually do very, very early in the morning, I get up and run. I've done a few marathons. Uh Now I run a little bit less but I enjoy running. Um a few words about my career and how I got to incredible and where diversity caught me. So, yes, I started my way also in the Israeli Army in a non technological unit. And when I came out, I went to learn business administration and I stumbled really by chance. And because I knew languages because of my childhood, I told you I speak French and English and Arabic. And Hebrew, I started as a marketing coordinator in a semiconductor company. And I fell in love with technology, really fell in love and I started catching up by doing some courses a little bit in electronics, a little bit in software.

Uh but I grew from the business started to be a manager in sales and then support and slowly uh customer success. And then I joined the three M, you probably know very well known uh uh American company. They acquired a company in Israel in the Homeland Security Business. And I spent 12 years in that area. And again, I grew from sales management all the way to being the president and CEO of the company. That was my first position of CEO from there. My move to Cyber, a Cyber company called NSO, which I think also has a little bit of a famous maybe reputation. We can have a discussion around that some other time. And I landed in incredibly, which is in the DEV ops. So all my life, all of these industries were semiconductor, homeland Security, Cyber and DEV ops were so much dominated by males. I used to be the only women in the room in management, in meetings. And I think that in my early stage, I didn't know the power I had in my hands to make a change. I think I learned it a bit late and now I'm doing a lot about it. But I think one of the thing we will talk about is how to create awareness, even where we were very young. And we start uh we can do a lot to change the awareness and our development never stops.

We continue to develop and I think we can do a lot about it. So one word about incredible. So at least you know what we are um incredible is in the DEV ops. As I said, it's a company that's been around for around 20 years. We have 215 employees uh based in Tel Aviv, but offices in uh uh China, Japan uh us and some employees in Spain, France and R and D in Ukraine. So we're very uh global in a way which helps in terms of culture, uh what we do. Um And I'll explain it in a very non technical way. I'm not sure exactly uh all of you uh which industries you are. But basically as you know, when we code, we code in a certain language like C++ or C# or whichever, but computers don't understand that language, they understand binary zeros and ones. So the, the, the process of compilation, switching the translation of a language like C# or C++ two binaries called compilation. And it's a very heavy, heavy process and it takes a lot of computer resources and a lot of time and our technology knows how to take such a very big process, cut it into smaller process that can be done in parallel.

And then we use the grid of the company or the cloud in the most uh efficient way to take a 12 hour process and make it one hour. So it, it saves time, it saves money and it allows company to add content to have more quality. And just, you know, a few examples, we are working in the automotive industry, for example, for companies which are developing software for Digital Cockpit uh in the gaming industry with companies like Epic in accelerating their game development or in the uh financial uh or embedded.

So that's about incredibility. But the incredible thing about incredible is this in our management, there is 75% female and we're talking about VP of R and D of product customer success finance hr not only the what we call legacy and I'm very proud of that. I think that when I joined Incredible, after so many years of being in a very male dominated areas, I said things can be done differently and I had to hire the whole management as the company was very small when I joined. And when I started interviewing, I had male and female, I mean, you know, no bias to here and there. And I always choose the best people ever for any job. I believe you have to choose the best leaders and ever compromise. But sometimes they were both male and female that got to the same level of expectation and something toward me lean towards choosing a woman. In this case. In other cases, women were just simply the best because they are. Um And I think this explains a lot of why we see so many industries dominated by male because I think that when you have that choice of choosing between two people that have exactly the same qualifications, sometimes a man would kind of say, oh, you know what, I feel more comfortable, I have more in common, maybe I'll hire somebody who is a male.

And for me, it was so much natural to hire females for those positions. But the amazing thing is that it will create a ripple effect and I will talk about it because the ripple effect is exactly how we start spreading it. The more and more you have women in high position and in, in stronger management position. Uh it starts to do the same because we hire what we feel most comfortable with the best, of course. So in general, this is in management, uh in management positions, in general, we have around 50% women and in the general employee count less than 40. So it shows a little bit that it starts from the top and goes to the bottom because you have them in top positions, then they hire and then they hire and that is part of the ripple effect that I speak about. And it's very, very, uh different if I look at the Israeli industry, uh to see so many women in, in one management, especially in such a technology company. But we decided also to do more. And when Women International Women Day came, we said, OK, are we gonna bring another great women to give us a wonderful uh story over life? No, let's do something different. And we said, where does the, the everything starts?

It starts in kindergarten when we're very small kids and we dream what we want to be when we'll be big and we see what we have around us. Usually we have a lot of great heroes that we read about. We don't have a lot of heroine which are technologist. So we decided to write a book, a children's book, which is completely free and I'll send it later in the link, you can download it, which is called Sophie's Crystal Ball. And Sophie is a little girl dreaming what she wants to be when she grows up. And the opportunity are to be an electrical engineer or to be a Q A engineer or a software, all technical positions, explained with beautiful color and making it really appealing. And since that, every year on women's day, we launch another book in the series. The second one was Sophie the entrepreneur. And the idea was to say, ok, you know, technology doesn't only been mean to be a software engineer. You can be a product manager in hr a customers success, but talk about the entrepreneurships and how to take it forward. And it's amazing what these books did. We translated them already to French into Spanish, to English and so forth and they're spreading around the world and of course, they are free. But it's a little bit of saying, OK, if we want to change the future, starting it with us is great.

But we also need to start with the small Children and to see that they have the ability to dream because you, you, you can't be what you can't see, right? And if you can see something and feel it, then it becomes part of who you're gonna be. So when I look about the ripple effect and how to create the diversity, I think the first thing is awareness. Um I just came back uh in April, I was in the US in a conference called G DC. It's uh one of the largest conferences for uh uh gaming. And I was invited to a CEO event. The CEO event was organized by one of the funds I walk in 2023 San Francisco USA. I walk into a bar 200 white men that, that's, that's still the situation. And I think, you know, once I used to feel uncomfortable and support and now I talk about it immediately, I laugh about it with the, with the uh organizer. And I say, hey, I think, you know, you missed here a little bit and it could have been different and, and, and even part of the inside partners and Fortissimo, which are investors. I always talk about it and I mention it in every room I walk into, I think that bring the awareness is the first step for people to say, hey, something's wrong here. It can be a world where I come into and there is no women.

What does that mean? Awareness creates change. The second issue is to go top down as I spoke, if you have more women in senior positions, they're more likely to nominate more women and start bringing them around them. And this is what happened and incredible. And I think that it works really, really well. The second part is bottom up creating that education from a very young age for people to understand that this is something that they can be um that they have something to relate to that they can look into. Um And the last one is to be a model and not the model that you see in the newspapers or in the magazines or in Instagram. But a model that young women can look and young girls can say, hey, I looked at my mom and my aunt and my friends and the friends of my mom, they're all in senior positions, doing amazing stuff. Definitely. This is something I wanna be and it's a responsibility that we have not just to keep it in the workplace because in the workplace it's wonderful. I have really done a lot of great stuff in incredibility. And I think diversity is not only between women and men. We have it, it in terms of gender, in terms of the uh uh gay and uh community. Uh we have it in terms of religions. We have Jews and Arabs and Jews and Christians and we really did a full diversity.

Um And I think it only makes incredible stronger, but I feel that we have a responsible, a responsibility to go out and do it also in the community if it is by volunteering or finding a way in schools uh in a uh in different type of uh of uh of uh of areas where women gather that you can have that discussion.

I think that this is the only way that we'll be able to have the full ripple effect. Uh because I'm, it's sad to say and I don't know if any of you read lessons in chemistry. It's a book which is now on the uh New York bestseller list and I just read it and it's about a women chemist called elizabeth.in the 19 sixties that is trying to make a name of herself where at that time, no chance for any feminist to succeed. She's treated horribly ripe, is taken away from her, but she, she endures and she does amazing stuff. It's an optimistic book, read it. I think we've, we've gone a long way. But still if I told you the story I told you about the US and I can tell you that I came back from Japan where I had 11 meetings in three days in Kyoto, Tokyo and Osaka and met amazing people in companies like Nintendo and Sony and Kami and Bandai Namco, not one woman, one. So I think we still have a long way. And global companies and everyone in his own backyard can do a lot to change that. And I think we should each find something small if it's the awareness, if it's the nomination, if it's the modeling, small steps of all of us together can make a big change. And I think the price is very high.

It's a, it's a price that it's all worth fighting for and that we should all kind of take apart. So this was a little bit about uh me, diversity in credibility and the ripple effect. Um I hope I gave you a little bit of a view. Uh And I'll be happy, of course, uh uh if you have uh any uh questions and I can tell you that we will share with the chat or later with the participants, also the links, the links to Sophie and the crystal ball for you to see. Uh and in general, any information that you would like for me, I'll be happy to supply later on also, privately. So great. So let me know in the chat if there is any remarks or questions. So I see that someone says he loves the concept of the ripple effects. I think it's definitely something strong and I love it that, you know, we always say that a ripple is something very, very small or one drop is something small. But exactly when you see that effect, when you throw it on water, you can say that every small step can take us very far. Great. So thank you, uh very much. It was a pleasure talking to you and uh as I said, through linkedin or directly you can send me, uh and I'll be happy to take it.