Everyone found their seat as SEMI President and CEO, Ajit Manocha, took the stage to kick off the first SEMI Diversity and Inclusion Forum. Ajit has a lifelong passion for diversity and inclusion. He shared his backstory and the importance of these initiatives to a room full of executives and Human Resources professionals from across the electronics manufacturing industry.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Despite Ajit’s passion, there is no single person or company that can take on this issue alone. But the hope is that everyone in the room was inspired by what they learned and went back to their organization to share the highlights and commit to improving diversity and inclusion efforts at their company. Focusing on diversity and inclusion makes the entire industry stronger because it opens the door to the innovators of the future.

We Can Do More

What would you say if I told you that over the last four years the representation of women in the corporate pipeline has only seen 1% of change per year according to McKinsey’s annual Women in the Workplace Report?

Keynote speaker, Irina Starikova, Partner, McKinsey & Company, did a deep dive into the research surrounding women and women of color in the corporate pipeline and the statistics shocked many of the people in the room. While the numbers from the “Women in the Workplace Report” were disheartening for some, Irina shared six ways that we can inspire change:

  • Get the basics right – Treat diversity as you would any other business unit. Measure where you stand now, set targets, conduct regular reports and enforce accountability.
  • Ensure hiring and promotions are fair – Set up unconscious bias training for all employees to implement in their daily life and not only when big decisions like promotions are being made.
  • Make senior leaders and managers champions of diversity– Managers who create inclusive and diverse environments are not recognized enough for their efforts.
  • Foster an inclusive and respectful culture – Diversity and inclusion need to come from the top and be part of the corporate culture of every company.
  • Make the “only” experience rare – Do more to create empathy and awareness for those people who might be the “only” in the room and work to change it.
  • Offer employees the flexibility to fit work into their lives – Be thoughtful about what programs and initiatives will be helpful for your employees.

Most importantly, just start! Do something today that will make everyone you interact with feel valued and included.

Find Your Voice

The Thought Diversity and Unconscious Panel was moderated by Gigi Lai, Head of Corporate Strategy at Applied Materials, and the panelists included Taarini Dang, CEO and Founder, Dang Capital; Richard Egure, Sr. Director, Lam Research; Jessica Gomez, CEO, Rogue Valley Microdevices; and Katie Maloney, Business Line Manager Intel, Edwards Vacuum. Everyone shared their experience with unconscious bias both positive and negative.

One thing that everyone agreed upon was finding your voice. On a personal level that means standing up for yourself, speaking up in meetings and going after what you want. It also means being the voice for others when you see unconscious bias happening. Is the only woman in the meeting the one being asked to take notes? Is the most junior person in the room not being taken seriously when they share their opinion? Make note of these “only” moments and commit to changing the behavior by supporting those individuals.

Guess and Test

Katy Crist, Director of Marketing and Communications, TEL, presents an award to Spotlight on SEMI Women honoree, Katie Maloney, Business Line Manager Intel, Edwards Vacuum Kathy

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to diversity and inclusion. While that can make things challenging, it also makes things exciting. Hypothesize and test what works best for your organization and your company. During the second panel moderated by Christine Pelissier, General Manager – OEM North America at Edwards Vacuum, Kathy Garner, Talent Acquisition & Global Mobility Manager at TEL shared a lot about their efforts to hire military veterans. She described how they have learned to translate military skill sets into civilian terms and how hiring veterans has impacted TEL. Our veterans have a winner’s philosophy. Diversity is not limited to gender. Make sure you are thinking broadly and are open to a variety of possibilities. You cannot hire who you don’t interview so be open-minded.

Be a Champion for Change

The afternoon ended with remarks by the SEMI Diversity Council Chairperson, Katy Crist, Director of Marketing and Communications, TEL US. Katy inspired everyone to start changing the narrative right now. Sign up to be a SEMI Mentor and foster the next generation of innovators, look beyond HR to find more opportunities for diversity such as your supply chain, hire veterans, know your data and use it to make change, nominate someone for the Spotlight on SEMI Women, and most important be a change agent and be more empathetic and aware starting in this moment.

To learn more about SEMI’s programs, check out the SEMI Foundation website.

Ariana Raftopolous

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