In honor of International Women’s Day (March 8), we’re shining the light on several VMware’s Change-Maker’s Make It Happen stories. Meet Global Operations Manager of Talent Acquisition, Olivia Dunne, and learn how she and the wider community in Cork, Ireland are working together to make a dynamic and diverse workplace.
Name: Olivia Dunne
Role: Global Operations Manager, Talent Acquisition
Office Location: Cork, Ireland
Years at VMware: 4
Twitter handle: @Liv_Dun
Make It Happen Story
The VMware Cork Diversity Event, in conjunction with IT@Cork in November 2014 was a significant milestone for the VMware community and me in Cork, Ireland. Over 200 attendees filled our training and development center for a morning of inspiring presentations, discussions and training around the theme of ‘What is Diversity?’.
It was a privilege to be a co-collaborator on this project as it is the largest VMware diversity event to date in EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa). It was a multi-faceted event opened by the Chairman of the European Tech Cluster, Denis Collins, with speakers from VMware, EMC, IT@Cork and Cork Institute of Technology. We had a significant number of attendees from companies in the technology industry as well as representatives from other sectors including pharmaceutical, medical devices, telecommunications and fast-moving consumer goods.
Make It Happen Milestones
A driven and enthusiastic team was formed to prepare for this event, with all members displaying commitment and fortitude to make this as successful as possible. Talent Acquisition was strongly represented by myself and a couple of my colleagues, Joe Hendry and Sharon Beale. Key business leaders from the VMware Cork campus invested their time and resources in the event, namely Sr. Director of Global Support Delivery Karen Egan, Director of EMEA Business Operations Mary Sullivan, and Director of Order Management Anthony McCoy. Without a doubt our stalwart PR and Events Coordinator, Claire O’Regan, played a pivotal role in the organization and advertising.
We secured guest speakers and presenters both internal and external to join us on campus for the event. Denis Collins, Chairman of the European Tech Cluster, opened the event, spoke of the close ties between VMware and IT@Cork and the importance of gender diversity in the workplace.
Mary Sullivan welcomed the audience on behalf of VMware and spoke of VMware’s EPIC2 values and the impact that VMware people have in the community.
David Parry-Jones, VMware VP of UK and Ireland, took to the stage to discuss diversity in the workplace stating, “It is about respecting and valuing variety and individual differences to create a culture, environment and practice for the benefit of society, organizations and individuals”.
Joe Hendry, VMware Senior Staffing Manager, spoke about local VMware initiatives aimed at achieving a more diverse workplace. With the IT industry historically male-dominated, the VMware Cork team took initiative and launched a CoderDojo Club at VMware, which creates a collaborative and fun environment where kids learn to code. Every week, 16 girls ranging in age from 9 to 12 years are invited to come onsite for mentorship in an environment which supports their interests in STEM subjects. Joe was joined by the principal of a local school in Ballincollig, Mairéad Ní Mhurchú, and three of her students to speak about the development of the children who have taken part in VMware’s CoderDojo Club,
I was fortunate to be the host for our lively and thought provoking panel discussion that included Ruth Buckley from IT@Cork, Micheal Loftus from Cork Institute of Technology, Sarah Abbott from EMC, and David Parry-Jones from VMware. Topics included what diversity means to them personally, successful initiatives at schools and colleges, talent attraction and retention, as well as development concerning diversity in the workplace.
Closing the event was a triumphant and thought provoking training session on Unconscious Bias by Angela Peacock of People Development, which people are still talking about!
Make It Happen Lessons Learned
One of the most powerful lessons from the event was how much interest there is in this area. There is a genuine desire to develop a work environment that is the most varied, dynamic and diverse place it can be for the good of employees and business strategy.
Another is that VMware is a leading example of how we are taking diversity seriously. We are driving this initiative both internally as a company but also externally in our communities; through sponsorship, partnership and participation at diversity related events.
When asked what they enjoyed most about the event, we got wonderful feedback from the attendees including comments such as:
“The thing I enjoyed most was seeing how proud people were to be representing VMware. I saw a really great culture in action.”
“The whole event was fantastic from start to finish (meeting time, people to direct us to park, password made available for Wifi, speakers, interactions, Unconscious Bias….) the list is long.”
How VMware Empowers Me to Make It Happen
The passion of the people at VMware who genuinely care about diversity. This event involved months of behind the scenes work including planning, scheduling, administration, weekly meetings and dry-runs. Not once did anyone waiver. In fact, people became more impassioned during the build up to the event.
Also, allowing us the time and resources to develop, execute and coordinate an event like this. Rather than just talking about Diversity, we are given the opportunity to ‘make it happen’ and live our values.
Team work and connecting was critical. For example, the entire Cork Staffing team volunteered to help with coordination of the event and undertook roles as registrars, stewards, guest liaisons, timekeepers and coordinators. It was amazing to see how much support and commitment the team gave to ensuring this was a show-case event.
Advice to Others
If there is an opportunity to get involved in a diversity initiative that speaks to your heart, grab it with both hands. It’s a motivational, thought provoking and rewarding initiative that benefits the current and future communities we live and work in.
Learn more about other VMware people’s Make It Happen milestones during our March, 18 live #VMwomenChat on Twitter.