VMinclusion Ireland Annual D&I event with Emma Dabiri
At VMware, we believe that people do not join companies, they join communities. We strive to create a workplace that reflects the communities we serve and where you can bring your full, authentic self to work. Our commitment to inclusion is company-wide and deeply embedded within our EPIC2 values.
A notable example of our commitment to Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is a recent win by the VMware Ireland POD (Power of Difference community). We sat down with Claire O’Regan, Communications Coordinator and Co-Lead of VMinclusion Ireland, to find out more about this D&I recognition and to learn more about the work that the VMinclusion@Ireland POD does at VMware.
VMware Careers: Congratulations! The VMinclusion@Ireland POD was recently awarded the Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion award at the Sustainable Business Impact Awards 2020. Can you tell us more about what this recognition means?
Claire O’Regan: Thank you! The team and I were absolutely delighted with this win. VMware Ireland won the Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award, based on the VMinclusion Ireland POD’s Resilience and Disability Pillar. The VMinclusion Ireland POD was set up six years ago, and since then our POD members have worked tirelessly to ensure we are driving a culture that is inclusive in every way: from demographic factors such as race, national origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, and age to other critical factors such as function, office location, ability, personality, and life experience. It is a continuous journey of learning and discovery, and together we are raising awareness and being a part of inspiring and often difficult conversations in the hopes that everyone at VMware and beyond can be and are celebrated for who they truly are. Being recognised at a national level with this award has meant a great deal to us all and we hope we can continue to create change and a culture at VMware where everyone can be authentic, contribute fully and succeed.
VMware Careers: Tell us more about the VMinclusion Ireland POD and the Resilience and Disability Program.
Claire O’Regan: Our VMinclusion Ireland POD is a real force for good! We have seen the group and our four pillars – Pride, Culture, Gender, and Resilience & Disability – grow and evolve over the past few years. Our Resilience and Disability pillar is our most recent of our four pillars; it has been running for two years. We work on many initiatives and programs through this pillar, including our Mental Health First Aiders, collaborations with local universities and organizations, the UCC (University College of Cork) Disability Mentorship program, disability, and suicide awareness training and events, and regular Mental Health Connect Cafes and mental health awareness days/weeks.
We are so proud of everyone within the VMinclusion Ireland POD and at VMware Ireland. Our people are actively connecting with, engaging, and celebrating people from various dynamic backgrounds, abilities, experiences, and perspectives. My co-lead, Ciara McAdam O’Connell, and I are so grateful to everyone in the Resilience and Disability Pillar, VMinclusion Ireland POD and, of course, all those who support us and help drive change and an inclusive workplace and community!
VMinclusion Ireland Connect Café with a group of our VMware Ireland New hires
VMware Careers: 2020 was the year that we saw most of VMware’s employee community move to working from home. How did the VMinclusion Ireland POD manage to maintain its goals and priorities with this pivot last year?
Claire O’Regan: We aimed to create a virtual environment where employees could continue to work, grow, and thrive while working from home. Through innovative strategies from various groups across the site, we worked together to succeed in a seamless transition to keep the business operational and keep employees healthy, engaged, and connected.
Our various groups (VMinclusion Ireland POD, Ireland Giving Network, Sports and Social), which are all employee-led, came together when the pandemic hit to plan and roll out a virtual calendar of events ranging from mental health talks, charity events, to quizzes and cookery demos.
The VMinclusion Ireland POD held a series of virtual events and programs throughout the year including events on remote working, how to run inclusive virtual meetings, Pride Month, Mindfulness & Meditation, LGBTQ+ training, various connect cafes, mentorships, and New Hire events. Our 35 Mental Health First Aiders are also available to help any employee who may be experiencing any mental health or emotional stress and is unsure of where to go for help.
It has been such a challenging time for everyone, but we have seen our resilient community continue to thrive and band together to support each other. Our events and programs are drawing large audiences and the engagement from our colleagues in terms of diversity and inclusion has been consistently growing as we adapt to this change in the way we work.
VMware Careers: Can you share more about the VMinclusion Ireland POD’s goals for 2021?
Claire O’Regan: The VMinclusion Ireland POD’s ongoing goal is to create a diverse and inclusive environment that encourages continued acceptance & respect of all individuals. We have some exciting plans lined up in terms of awareness and education, and we will be rolling out more LGBTQ+ and Disability awareness training in Q1. We are also really looking forward to continuing our partnerships with UCC (University College Cork) and their Disability Support Services Mentorship Program, Dell, and our sponsorship of the virtual I Wish conference this year, as well as continuing our sponsorship and support for Cork Pride. Our long-term programs and events include our New Hire Buddy Program, National day celebrations (we have 40 different nationalities at VMware Ireland to celebrate) CoderDojo and Mental Health Month, and awareness days, which will all continue.
We are excited about the events, programs, and training we have in the works for 2021. The VMinclusion Ireland POD learned a lot last year and we are ready to head into this year with a renewed sense of resilience and passion. Our hope is to continue empowering our employees by fostering and promoting an inclusive community where everyone feels like they belong.