Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) are critical components of building successful and innovative organizations. Big Data companies have a unique opportunity to drive DE&I initiatives given their influence and impact on various industries. In this article, we explore the journey of One Data, an AI-powered data product producing software company based in Germany, and their efforts to promote DE&I within their organization. We interviewed Ziye Wang, Head of Product Management at One Data and founder of their DE&I Committee, to gain valuable insights into what it takes to drive DE&I in a Big Data company.
Recognizing the need for greater diversity and inclusion, Ziye Wang initiated the formation of the One Data DE&I committee approximately three years ago. She received full support from the company’s management, including Dr. Andreas Böhm, Founder and Managing Director of One Data, and fellow leaders. They collectively aimed to encourage more women in STEM, improve diversity within their teams, and enable innovation through diverse perspectives.
In 2021, Ziye proactively sought external alliances and partnered with Women in Big Data Munich for a talent acquisition and DE&I awareness event. This collaboration proved fruitful, resulting in the hiring of three female Data Scientists at One Data. The event also generated increased awareness about the importance of diversity in the Big Data industry.
To foster an inclusive environment and support career development, One Data implemented several initiatives. The internal One Data Academy introduced a female mentorship program, while some female colleagues also participated in the Women in Big Data Mentoring Program. Additionally, the company deployed the #IamRemarkable campaign to empower minority groups and encourage self-advocacy. The One Data DE&I Committee organized internal events, including guest speaker sessions for Women’s Day and activities addressing mental health support, education and resources about LGBTQIA2S+ colleagues. These efforts have also contributed to building a stronger sense of allyship within the organization.
Growing the DE&I committee presented challenges, as some colleagues initially believed that the company was already doing enough for diversity. Time constraints were also an obstacle since all committee members dedicated their efforts on a voluntary basis. Despite these challenges, the committee now boasts over 20 active members and has successfully fostered a greater allyship within One Data.
Ziye Wang emphasizes the significance of having female and minority role models in management positions. These role models inspire others, provide hope, and offer the necessary support for career development through mentorship. By empowering individuals and providing them with a voice, organizations can create a more inclusive and diverse environment.
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Driving diversity, equity, and inclusion within a Big Data company requires dedicated effort and collaboration. One Data’s journey exemplifies the positive impact that a DE&I Committee can have on fostering allyship and promoting diversity in the workplace. By building external alliances, implementing empowering programs, and overcoming challenges, organizations can create an inclusive environment that encourages individuals from all backgrounds to thrive and contribute to the field of Big Data.