Nutanix, Allyship and Intersectionality

By George Davis

| min

Nutanix started a journey around Allyship after creating our LIFE Groups a few years back.  At Nutanix, we named our employee resource groups LIFE Groups - LIFE stands for Leadership Inclusion Friends and Experiences. These groups are made up of employees from a similar background looking to build workplace connections beyond our day to day work groups.  It allows for us to connect, do some good for our communities, and to encourage professional development. Today, about 20% of Nutanix employees participate in our LIFE Groups.

After getting our LIFE Groups off the ground, what came next?  The concept of Allyship.  We realized that allyship is a fundamental piece of building a stronger, more authentic, and more empathetic Nutanix. We also realized that this would be an ongoing journey of learning.  We formed an Allies In Action committee focused on creating space to share resources and information around how we can better show up for each other at work, but also in our everyday lives. Allies are an important component of workplaces built on connectedness and empathy. Workplaces that encourage understanding, empathy, and authenticity oftentimes result in increased innovation.  

We kicked off our Allyship initiative with the help of our Allies in Action committee and a lineup of guest speakers to guide us along our journey. Jumping right in, Karen Catlin kicked off our series, sharing insights from her book The Better Allies Approach. She offered an introduction and definition for allyship and offered actionable ways to create a more inclusive workplace.

Following this session, we continued the learning process with a panel series around intersectionality, which explored various intersections of lived experience.  These sessions were facilitated by Stephanie Wemusa around the following topics:

  • Navigating My Workplace Journey - Adam Mahoney explored the intersections of his sexuality, race, and cultural background, and shared solutions he’s identified that helped him to navigate his career in technology.  Key takeaways from Adam’s conversation were around the importance of representation and diversity in teams, building connections as a byproduct of bringing your authentic self to any situation (work or home), and encouraging leaders to create space for folks to safely do this.  
  • Women of Color: Experiences and Solutions - Rosie Cofre, Chanel Aleta Johnson, and Chang Liu shared about various stages of their career intersections, including navigating family and work life, receiving the “complement” of being articulate (not a compliment unless qualified by which scale), and the power of mentors and sponsors in the workplace.  
  • Microaggressions and the Chinese Community - Nutanix employee Wuchen Jong was joined by Charlotte Fong and Yolanda Stanton as they shared their experiences around being the model minority, understanding and learning from the past, and the opportunity we have in this moment to really look at what we are doing to add to our culture and lift those around us up.

These sessions have offered us a variety of learnings, and the biggest compliment received was the encouragement from our own Mary Emerton, VP of Talent Acquisition and Corporate Social Responsibility to continue the learning process around allyship at Nutanix.  We will continue to allow space for conversations around allyship to thrive at Nutanix and in our lives beyond work. To reference one of our Culture Principles, we are getting comfortable being uncomfortable, and learning along the way. Another key takeaway, this is definitely not a moment, but a movement!  

To find out more about our efforts to foster diversity, inclusion and allyship at Nutanix, please visit our Diversity and Inclusion page.

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