Life at Nutanix

Laurence Lepelley Brings Gender Diversity to the Forefront

By Liza Meak

April 12, 2024 | min
Laurence Lepelley

Laurence Lepelley, our head of marketing for France and the French-speaking countries in Africa, is not one to shy away from a challenge or a big idea, even when conventional wisdom suggests otherwise. Since joining Nutanix in 2019, she has used that working philosophy to her advantage.

It started well before her first day at Nutanix and goes back to when she interviewed for a field marketing position. “When I did my interview, I was eight months pregnant,” Laurence said. “I thought I had no chance to get it, so I went into it pretty relaxed, allowing me to be authentic. Nutanix made it clear my pregnancy and family situation was not an issue. They were looking for the right person to join the team.”

Laurence more than proved she was the right person for the job when her manager tapped her for a promotion just a year after coming to Nutanix. “It was a COVID year, and we were on lockdown with so much going on when he told me he wanted me to lead the region,” Laurence recalled. “I wasn’t sure I could do it, but he told me he believed in me and was confident I could do it. I took the position, and here I am three years later with a team of three people that I started on my own. It’s a big satisfaction.”

Building on the Voice of Her Program

Becoming a marketing leader gave Laurence the confidence to think bigger, especially when it comes to bringing together women in technology. Laurence built upon an internal Voice of Her program, that connects female employees within Nutanix to share their experiences and wisdom with others, and expanded it externally. “The tech industry faces challenges with gender diversity. The topic is broader than Nutanix,” Laurence explained. “When I met with customers, they also told me they wanted more gender diversity.”

Hearing that gave her the fuel to come up with the idea of an external roundtable. Laurence started by inviting CIOs and customers to talk about their careers in the tech industry, in hopes of putting a spotlight on the voices of women in the industry. “If we want women to get to high-performing careers, then we need them to take their chance in the tech industry,” Laurence said.

Gender diversity goes beyond women though. “Men who came to the roundtable were listening and taking notes, trying to understand the perspective of women. It was a great way to evangelize and get men to evolve their mindsets,” Laurence said. “We can’t move the needle without them. It’s time to talk to men about gender diversity. We did a master class last June, inviting people of all gender identities to join us.”

Laurence emphatically believes that Nutanix will continue to evolve and benefit from taking a proactive stance on gender diversity. The Nutanix Voice of Her program and inviting customers to the roundtable discussion are two positive strides towards advancing gender representation within our company and our industry. “When we invite prospects and customers to something that we believe in, it is meaningful,” Laurence explained. “We invite them to discuss a societal issue. It is a valuable networking opportunity and shows our Nutanix values.”

The success of the Voice of Her program’s expansion, led Laurence to think about bringing the initiative to an even bigger stage: our .NEXT conference stage at our event in Paris. To close out .NEXT, she wanted to bring in Elisabeth Moreno, the former French Minister of Gender, Diversity, and Equal Opportunities, as the closing keynote speaker. Laurence had no connection with her but decided to send her a message on LinkedIn. “I decided to give it a try and she replied! It was brilliant,” Laurence recalled with pride. “I had a meeting with her assistant to talk about the topics, and we were off and running.”

Next event

 

 

Laurence and the former minister

Laurence and the former minister met before .NEXT to finalize the keynote and then it was showtime, not just for former minister Elisabeth Moreno, but for Laurence as well. She too would be on stage with Elisabeth Moreno. It was another first, as Laurence had never previously done any public speaking. But once again, she found that getting out of her comfort zone and surrounding herself with people who would support her and champion her could yield opportunities beyond what she could imagine.

Putting a spotlight on gender diversity continues to be a focus for Nutanix. From the Advancing Women in Technology Scholarship Program, to the Womencore program supporting women returning to the workforce in India, to Women History Month events led by the Women of Nutanix employee group, and a keynote from Dr. Anne-Marie Imafidon of Stemettes (a social enterprise promoting women in STEM careers) that is planned for .NEXT 2024 in Barcelona.

To learn more about Nutanix’s focus on advancing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, check out our annual Environmental, Social and Governance report.

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