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Be a Champion for Change – Key Takeaways from the SEMI Diversity Forum

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?

Does it make you feel motivated to make a change within your organization and across the world? If so, read on to learn more about the key takeaways from the inaugural SEMI Diversity Forum.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

There is no single person or company that can take on this problem alone. But each passionate person can inspire others and their organizations to commit to diversity and inclusion efforts.

For example, SEMI President and CEO, Ajit Manocha, opened the mid-April event sharing with everyone his passion for diversity and inclusion and how focusing on these initiatives can help solve the industries’ number one problem, a shortage of talent. SEMI has been involved in fostering talent since 2002 when the SEMI Foundation launched High Tech U to expose high-school students to technology through a 3-day program that offers hands-on activities and presentations. Under Ajit’s leadership, SEMI has continued to expand its efforts with mentoring, university programs, and the recent announcement of SEMI Works and SEMI Certifications.

These are all programs that everyone is welcome to participate in. If you want to learn more about how you or your company can get involved, check out the SEMI Foundation Website.


SEMI Diversity Forum 2019


We Can Do More

Irina Starikova, Partner, McKinsey & Company, did a deep dive into the representation of women and women of color in the corporate pipeline. McKinsey and LeanIn.org found that the largest drop off comes very early on in the pipeline at the stage between entry level and becoming a manager — a 10% reduction of women in the workplace at the manager level. Irina shared six ways that we can inspire change without causing “diversity fatigue”:

Diversity and Inclusion Katie

  • 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.

While this may seem like a daunting list, the most important thing is just to start. Start doing one small thing right now 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. While everyone had different experiences, the one thing that everyone agreed upon was finding your voice. In one respect that means standing up for yourself, speaking up in meetings, and going after what you want. But finding your voice also means standing up 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 are sharing their opinion? Make note of these “only” moments and commit to changing the behavior by supporting those individuals.


Andree 2

Andree Driskell, Co-Chair Corporate Inclusion & Diversity Consortium, Principal, Andree Driskell & Associates, reflects on her journey as one of the first black female engineers in Silicon Valley.


Guess and Test

There is no one size fits all approach to diversity and inclusion. While that can make things challenging, it also makes things exciting. You get to 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.

 Diversity and Inclusion panel 1

Discussion on Thought Diversity and Unconscious Bias, moderated by Gigi Lai, Head of Corporate Strategy, Applied Materials, Inc. (far right). Panelists pictured from left to right include Katie Maloney, Business Line Manager Intel, Edwards Vacuum; Taarini Dang, CEO and Founder of Dang Capital; Jessica Gomez, CEO, Rogue Valley Microdevices; and Richard Egure, Sr. Director HR, Lam Research.


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. She shared the things that you can do right now — this moment, tomorrow, and this week. 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 Raftopoulos is a marketing communications manager at SEMI. 

Topics: Applied Materials , Lam Research , Edwards Vacuum , TEL , Rogue Valley Microdevices , SEMI Foundation , SEMI High Tech U , SEMI Diversity Forum , McKinsey & Company , Dang Capital , SEMI Works , Andree Driskell & Associates




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