At Equinix, we’re committed to building a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace. In this article, Leanne Starace, Senior Vice President of Global Technical Sales, shares how we are advancing this mission and why women love working at Equinix.
Why would you recommend Equinix as an employer of choice for women?
The advancement of women is very important to our CEO, Charles Meyers, as well as to the entire executive leadership team. We focus on gender diversity with the intent to reflect the customers and communities in which we operate. The talent and perspectives of all the historically underrepresented communities within the organization are known to be incredibly valuable.
Work-life balance is something that the organization respects and will advocate for. I am a mother first and an employee second. If anything comes up for my family that requires me to adjust, I know the business will be supportive of my focus where it should be: on my family.
We’ve built incredibly high-performing teams at Equinix. Employees can afford to step aside and take care of their family members, and let another team member ascend into a position of leadership to take over, whether for a day, a week or a month. Having the insurance of a trusted and talented team supporting one another is important for women, and anyone caring for others.
Equinix has a culture that puts it's people first. This was especially evident at the height of the Covid pandemic. The company's leadership was transparent about safety and overly communicated to ensure everyone's well-being was taken care of.
One of Equinix's greatest attributes is that they also put people at the center when considering about business objectives. This makes Equinix an incredible place for women. It allows us to be the best version of ourselves; there are no boundaries here. This is incredibly important, as we think about the places aspire to go. The company is open to as much growth, development and leadership that you would have a propensity to achieve.
What sets Equinix apart when it comes to advancing women in leadership?
Our CEO is committed to advancing women in leadership. That ideology permeates the whole organization. For instance, my current role as the SVP of global technical sales was not historically occupied by a woman. Women in technical sales leadership roles occupy less than 10% of those positions industry wide. We have a well balance of gender on our leadership teams at the VP, SVP and C-suite level. Additionally, we have seen people not just brought into the company at those levels but, individuals like myself, have ascended into those leadership roles. This type of internal mobility is incredibly inspirational. The company is dedicated to advancing women for their experience, knowledge and business acumen, but also for the additional diversity, creativity and innovation they bring.
How do you empower and support other women at Equinix?
I try to help women see themselves the way I see them from across the table: as potential leaders. I hope to model the role of a woman in leadership. The more equitable distribution we see with women in leadership roles, the more women can see themselves in those positions. There isn’t one formula to get there. It isn’t a linear journey, there are many paths to leadership.
Sometimes, things happen along your career journey, and everything changes. Having a mentor, a particular set of circumstances or a new role pierces this thin veil that holds you back. My advice to women, which is the advice I give myself all the time, is that you can do more than you think you can. You can be more than you think you can be. It may feel overwhelming, but humans occupy these roles above you. They might be male humans, but they’re humans and you’re human, so you know you can do this. There’s nothing so unique about somebody who’s sitting in one of these seats that should hold you back from trying. Don’t tell yourself no; let somebody else do that and prove them wrong. Go for it and see what happens. It’s incredible to discover what you’re capable of.
I invest in helping women attain leadership roles. I gently encourage women because sometimes they need a nudge. Someone nudged me early in my career. I wouldn’t be sitting here if that person didn’t say, “I think you can be in sales. I think you can be a leader.” I didn’t believe that at the time. Someone else saw that in me. Have faith in someone you trust, and ask yourself, “What’s the worst that will happen if I go for it?” There’s no downside, and something amazing could be waiting to unlock within you. Understand that you have the support of other women. Trust the mentors around you, some of whom will be women, some of whom will be men. They can open doors for you that you don’t yet have the experience to see.
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