Jordan Casey

Doug Woodburn
clock • 5 min read
Jordan Casey

Jordan Casey

Director, commercial sales - Europe, SHI

What's the most pressing issue preventing progress with diversity today that no one's talking about?

I think unconscious bias is the main barrier preventing diversity, not only in this industry but across many verticals and workspaces. I believe that most businesses and employees understand the importance of equal opportunities but are not aware that they have subconscious preconceptions and stereotypes that influence who they hire and promote within their organisations. 

What do you believe are the most effective policies and initiatives that companies can implement to promote diversity in their workforce?

There are many policies and strategies that businesses can implement that can help create diverse work environments, but this must be a top-down approach. Having diverse representation at board level and within senior leadership helps demonstrate that there are opportunities for people from all sexes, races, religions and sexualities to thrive.  Within the recruitment process I think that it is important to have measurable goals that ensure that companies are screening a representative sample of the overall population. Similarly, businesses have a responsibility to make every effort to look at alternative talent pools outside of where they would traditionally operate as to not exclude minority candidates. In terms of the existing employee base, education is critical to overcoming prejudice. Companies should establish a robust training programme that tackles diversity, inclusion and equal opportunities. Lastly, companies should analyse their wage structure to understand if there are any pay gaps and look to address these accordingly. 

How much progress do you believe the industry has made in diversity since you started working in IT?

The IT industry has made significant progress in the past decade when it comes to diversity. We have much better female representation across the industry and with those from minority backgrounds. I also see customers, OEMs, distributors and resellers all being more accountable, not only for their internal diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) efforts but also ensuring that their supply chain and partner network have programmes and policies that embrace diversity. The industry is still on a journey and we need to continue to raise awareness, share best practices and ensure that the next generation of IT professionals from all backgrounds have the same opportunities to be successful.

What should senior management teams be doing more of to help create a more inclusive industry for everyone?

Every senior leader has a responsibility first and foremost to create an environment where everybody regardless of their gender, religious beliefs, colour or sexual orientation feel comfortable to come to work and be themselves. It is then incumbent on the leadership team to ensure that all these groups have the same opportunities to grow, develop and progress through the organisation. The only way that we can break these barriers is to make employees feel comfortable to be able to speak openly and be in an environment where we can have those difficult conversations. And lastly it is so important that as leaders and as a wider society we educate ourselves and our teams on this topic and truly lead by example with how we operate every day. 

How did you first get into the IT industry?

I went straight into the world of work after studying for my A-Levels and took a two-year break from education. I worked in a few different industries and managed to save enough money to pay for the fees to go to university. I left university with a first-class honours degree in marketing and as part of my course I had to attend three interviews, the first of which was as a graduate sales rep at SHI. I met the previous general manager and although my knowledge and understanding of technology was limited, I guess I showed my desire to be successful. I was offered the role in the interview and have never looked back! 

What have been some of your experiences (both good and bad) with how the IT industry has historically approached diversity?

All in all, the experiences that I have had in this role have been extremely positive. At SHI, DEI is imbedded in the DNA of our business and we do have an incredibly diverse workforce.  I think the only experience that I can draw upon, which was one of my key learning experiences, was earlier on in my tenure as a manager. We had a scenario where two employees who are both from minority backgrounds were having a friendly conversation relating to their respective cultures and some stereotypes that are often referred to. These two employees had a close personal relationship outside of work and as an inexperienced manager I let this conversation continue oblivious that some of the comments made were distressing for other members of our group. Fortunately, the individuals affected by the conversation trusted in me to approach me separately and we had a conversation about the topic. I made the stance then to ban any such conversations in the workplace and in any scenario while representing SHI.  In terms of a positive experience, I was in a leadership role when the events in Minnesota unfolded regarding the unlawful death of George Floyd. The impact of this event and the events that followed as a result really impacted members of our team. We decided to schedule a meeting, which was a forum for everyone in their team to discuss the matter. It was good to see that we trusted each other enough to talk openly and there was a real support from the entire team for those that were affected. As mentioned earlier, talking through these topics is critical not only for those that are directly impacted but also for the wider public to try and better understand the reality for those that are from a minority community and most importantly change attitudes and behaviours to create a better and more inclusive society. 

Who have been your biggest role models in your professional life, and how have they helped you to succeed?

I don't like to single out individuals and overlook others that I have worked with. Every manager that I have reported into has given me something that has helped me develop as a person and a professional. Some of my biggest influences and inspirations have come from members of my current team. I try to learn from everyone that I engage with both internally and externally.

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