There is now enough drive and enthusiasm in the IT industry to embrace diversity and inclusion in all aspects of an organisation, according to Intel's head of global supplier diversity.
Megan Stowe's role is to ensure that the chipmaker works with and invests in an inclusive supply chain, backing businesses founded or operated by women or people from ethnic minorities.
Stowe told CRN that she hopes that diversity will eventually be the default, and roles like hers won't need to exist.
"From a supply chain diversity standpoint, I want my role to become redundant because it's just a part of what everybody does," she explained.
"I would love everybody to be able to have the same opportunities in life. I think everybody needs to be equal given equal opportunities, no matter of gender, race, religion or background.
"I think if we have enough people who are passionate about it and enough people who are trying to change it - which I believe we have in the IT industry - I think we can do that."
Including diversity in the supply chain - businesses that are majority-owned, operated or controlled by either a woman, someone from an ethnic minority, someone from the LGBTQ community or with a disability - allows for new innovations and agility for vendors, Stowe stated.
Intel's initiative originated in the US but for the past decade Stowe has been in charge of expanding its supplier diversity outside of the US, starting with South Africa, India and the UK.
She explained how it was easier to start with women-controlled businesses but that she didn't want it to be tokenistic to just have women suppliers for the sake of it.
"It took a lot to, first of all, educate internally that we're not just doing this because it's the right thing to do, but it's actually going to bring us results of innovative ideas and sometimes return on investment.
"Initially we focused on women because women are a lot easier when you're looking across different countries because the ethnic minority can change by country.
"Then it was actually getting the women-owned businesses to understand that you're not going to just get the business because you are a woman, that you have to prove that you can win the business."
The conversation in recent years about the gender pay gap in the UK has helped Stowe integrate her message with both Intel's UK operations and with partners as companies accept it as another way to drive equality across their businesses.
The vendor is nearing the end of a five-year plan to spend $1bn with diverse suppliers worldwide. In 2017 it also announced a $200m investment in women-owned businesses outside of the US, which Stowe expects to meet before 2020 ends. She said that the UK has been very receptive of this investment.
"It's pushing the goodness down the supply chain because we are asking even our big multinational companies to have a diverse supplier programme in their supply chain," she added.
"The whole gender diversity message in the UK has been accepted and is companies see this as another way they can help drive gender parity."
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