A message from Christopher Kenessey, CEO & President, NetMotion Software
It’s 2021. Wow. We made it. If you’re like me, you have probably been looking forward to this new year for a whole lot of reasons and for a very long time. And now that it’s here, it’s time to set the stage for another solid year at NetMotion.
When I joined this company five years ago, we had roughly 90 people. Today that number is closer to 185, well on its way to reaching 200 this year as we celebrate our 20th anniversary. It’s also worth noting that we had very little international business when I came on board, but today we have teams in Germany, the UK, Japan, Australia, Canada, and of course a larger footprint here in the US. I’m incredibly proud of our success and growth, as we all should be.
New year, new goals
If you’re like me, you may have made some kind of new year’s resolutions at the beginning of the year. I like the opportunity to start with a clean slate and set personal goals for growth and change. And on a bigger scale, it’s a chance for NetMotion as a whole to take stock of where we’ve been, and to decide where we should go next. One thing is certain: bringing positive change to an organization is not magic and will not happen by accident; it requires deliberate action.
As we’ve grown, we’ve recognized that we have a responsibility to make sure that we’re doing our part in the world to champion equality and diversity.Christopher Kenessey, CEO & President, NetMotion Software
With this in mind, we have a great opportunity to talk about a topic that is near and dear to my heart: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. We’ve always had policies around DEI, but it isn’t something that we’ve often talked about openly. As a company, we need to become much better at this, and far more comfortable with issues related to DEI. And that leads us to this new series that we’ve dubbed “Voices.”
Starting this month, Voices will be a monthly blog series where we will share employees’ thoughts and experiences on a range of DEI-related topics, as well as some content that will hopefully provoke some thought and engagement among all of our employees. Ultimately, we want to create a forum where we have a chance to celebrate our differences and approach DEI with a fresh and open mindset. Each month comes with a different topic, often tied to national or international events such as International Women’s Day and Pride Month. At times we will discuss issues that touch on gender, race and ethnicity, age, sexuality and more. No doubt we’ll be pushed outside of our comfort zones occasionally, but that’s a good thing.
DEI in NetMotion’s DNA
Why now, you may ask. That’s a really good question. When I first joined NetMotion, we worked really hard to define our culture and what made us unique. So far, so good. But as we’ve grown, we’ve recognized that we have a responsibility to make sure that we’re doing our part in the world to champion equality and diversity. Yes, we’re a small company, but it goes along with the idea of thinking globally and acting locally. By ensuring that our culture is represented by different voices with different viewpoints, we become a stronger, more resilient company and a better place to work. There’s tremendous strength in diversity, and in general, I think the NetMotion population needs to be a better reflection of the population outside our office.
Strength in diversity
We have experienced this first-hand. Many of you know this story already, but when we first looked at Victoria, B.C. as a possible location for a new NetMotion product and engineering team, one of the biggest draws was the fact that big companies like Amazon and Microsoft weren’t there to dominate the landscape. But what we actually found was that there were other advantages, too, not least of which was the diversity of the talent pool, which has been a powerhouse of creativity.
You’ll be hearing more about the DEI program and Voices from Christina Balam and the HR team next month. For now, I would like to reiterate that NetMotion needs to be a company where people from different backgrounds feel safe, appreciated and welcomed. It’s not just about being ‘okay’ with differences, it’s about truly valuing the strength that comes from diversity. So, it’s vitally important this year to put action behind our words and make NetMotion a truly great place to work for everyone.
What does Diversity mean for our employees?
As we kicked off the Voices project, we asked NetMotion employees what Diversity meant to them. We got some very thought-provoking responses from several of them, and wanted to share their comments, which have been edited for length below:
Achi Lewis, Country Manager, EMEA and India
“On a personal level, diversity at NetMotion means making sure we have a chorus of abilities, voices and views, regardless of where you come from. Diversity is what makes our culture so different, and we should celebrate that fact through our actions. The team here (in the UK) always looks beyond the obvious, to informed ideas built from diverse experiences and cultures. This ability to listen means that decisions are balanced and relevant. We see that in our customers, too, who have social and ethnic experiences beyond our own. By using our diversity of perspectives, we can understand people’s experiences and motivations.
We need to… put our arms around all cultures, capabilities and colours. It makes us all better people.”Achi Lewis, Country Manager, EMEA and India
I’m glad that people have judged me on my capability and my mind, rather than my colour. But even now it remains an unfinished project. Even now this is still something that I think about every day. We need to keep going. We need to make sure that we bring diverse voices from all backgrounds, that we form a world view and not a narrow one, and that we put our arms around all cultures, capabilities and colours. It makes us all better people.”
Laurie Woolworth, Enterprise Inside Sales Representative
“I’m old school, so to me, diversity in the workplace means that each person gets treated with respect, and the salary you earn is tied to the job you perform, not your gender. It means that all ideas are welcome, and that you can feel safe in your workplace. It’s a baseline where kindness and fair practices encourage everyone to strive to contribute their best, regardless of things like clothing choices or skin color.
If diversity is a core value, things as simple as kindness and ethical behavior will follow.Laurie Woolworth, Enterprise Inside Sales Representative
By including diversity in the foundation of a work culture, all future steps will naturally start out on a good and right path. If diversity is a core value, things as simple as kindness and ethical behavior will follow. Who wouldn’t want to work in a place like that? What would a whole group of coworkers in an environment like that accomplish individually and together? Quite possibly some of their best work.”
Michael Snyder, SDET III
“It is easy to fall into the trap of being tone-deaf. I’m white. I work in software. I have an income that lets me live in one of the most expensive cities in the country, in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. I seem to be the definition of privilege and lack of diversity.
Different perspectives are important to help us see around our blind spots.Michael Snyder, SDET III
But I do see a lot of problems. We have very few software developers who are Hispanic or African American. Few software developers are women. This weakens us. Some of the best software testers I’ve worked with didn’t look like me, and some didn’t have any college education or formal Computer Science training. Others had much more training and experience. Different perspectives are important to help us see around our blind spots.
Different is good.”
Chris Lee, Director of Sales, North America
“For me, diversity gives us a strategic advantage – a secret ingredient of sorts. The greater diversity we can build into our team, the stronger we become as a whole. That makes sense because unique perspectives and life experiences break up groupthink and allow fresh ideas to flow. I know that fighting inertia isn’t easy, however studies have consistently shown that diversity can unlock new levels of performance within a team. We’ve seen that to be true first-hand.”
The greater diversity we can build into our team, the stronger we become as a whole.Chris Lee, Director of Sales, North America