WONDER WOMEN 05. Barbara whye
I lead Intel’s Diversity in Technology initiative—the company is endeavoring to reach its goal of full representation in its U.S. workforce by 2018. I am a change agent and a champion of Intel’s culture of inclusion. Based on 22 years of Intel experience, and with a talented team across the corporation, I lead the development of strategies that help create a more inclusive, diverse workplace and drive business results.
My background has shaped my experiences. I am one of eight children with a love for math. My mom was a seamstress and my dad a carpenter, so I was often helping with counting yards of fabric or reminding my dad to “measure twice and cut once”. My love for math motivated me to major in engineering. I joined Intel in 1995 as an engineer and spent 20 years in key leadership and project engineering roles responsible for acquiring and starting up new facilities for Intel Corporation worldwide. I also led the investment strategy for Intel’s global STEM education portfolio, with an emphasis on girls and underserved populations, and I was a strategist on Intel’s global campaign for girls’ education and empowerment—Girl Rising. I earned my bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of South Carolina and my MBA from the university’s Darla Moore School of Business.
What does your job entail?
I’m responsible for implementing strategies that help create a more inclusive and diverse workplace, which enables us to reach a wider audience and create more innovative solutions.
Tell us about your “Diversity in Technology” initiative. What does it do, who does it benefit and why is it important?
In January 2015, Intel set a goal to reach full representation of women and underrepresented minorities in our U.S. workforce by 2020. Diversity and inclusion are key to Intel’s evolution and are driving forces for continued innovation and growth. Because this is such important work and we have made significant progress, we decided to pull in our deadline to the end of 2018.
You want to increase the number of women and people of color in your field. How do you make positive changes in Intel and also in the wider technology industry?
It’s essential for employees to have a sense of belonging and to feel welcome and included in the workplace. A sense of belonging has a strong correlation with commitment and employee engagement. Employees spend the majority of the week at the office, so Intel should feel like a second home.
Because this is a high priority for us, Intel has launched a number of new programs to improve retention of our diverse talent and foster a culture of diversity and inclusion, both inside Intel and in our ecosystem.
-Warmline – to give employees support when they are struggling with issues or concerns about staying at Intel.
-Multicultural Retention and Progression – a study that surveyed over 7,000 employees to better understand the barriers to retaining and progressing underrepresented minorities. The study prompted the “diverse slate” approach, where managers need to have diverse and non-diverse candidates and diverse and non-diverse interviewers.
-I3 Leadership Symposium – an event to drive inclusion and strengthen connections between senior women, senior underrepresented minority employees, male allies, and diversity leaders. It is open to mid-senior-level female and underrepresented minority employees worldwide.
-Managing at Intel – a company-wide initiative that trains all managers on managing in an inclusive environment.
-Employee Resource Groups – 30 groups that connect over 20,000 employees globally based on common interests.
How does your work increase the number of underrepresented groups who pursue careers in STEM fields and help them succeed?
Early exposure to STEM disciplines and career opportunities makes a huge difference. Intel supports education initiatives, scholarships, and internships that offer hands-on experience and technical skills. We hope these encourage more women and underrepresented minorities to enter and succeed in tech careers like engineering and computer science.
In 2015, for example, we announced a five-year, $5 million investment with Oakland Unified School District to improve computer science and engineering programs at Oakland Tech and McClymonds high schools. Enrollment in computer science classes has seen a 14-times increase two years into the five-year program.
Since 2015, Intel has invested in such programs as:
-Intel HBCU Grant Program – a three-year, $4.5 million program to encourage students to remain in STEM pathways at six historically black colleges and universities.
-Next Generation of Native American Coders program – to implement a comprehensive education transformation at three Arizona high schools in the Navajo Nation.
-Latinos in Technology Scholarship Initiative – a pledge to support 125 scholarships for Latino college students majoring in science, technology, engineering, or math.
-Georgia Institute of Technology – $5 million partnership with Georgia Tech to support approximately 1,100 underrepresented minorities over the next five years.
-CODE2040 – partnership and investment in programs to inspire and support more women and underrepresented minorities to earn technical degrees.
-Technology Pathways Initiative – partnership with Center for Advancing Women in Technology and investment toward education program offering real-world experience and technical skills.
-American Indian Science and Engineering Society – contribution of $1.32 million to support college scholarships for Native Americans as part of the “Growing the Legacy” scholarship program.
-Scholar Programs – internship program providing underrepresented minority scholars with an immersive experience at an Intel campus.
It has been said that women do not pursue careers in STEM because they are taught as children that those subjects are “for boys.” How you think that we as a society can change this?
Getting more women in STEM is an industry-wide problem and will require industry-wide solutions. I believe we can change this by increasing access and awareness, and more importantly, connecting the value of these careers in ways that girls and women can identify with this important work. Women are graduating college at higher rates and have an array of career choices. Our work has to ensure that these careers are attractive and better understood, which includes access to role models and early exposure to drive interest and deep engagement.
My mission is...to make sure Intel fosters a culture where our employees can bring their full experiences to their work–it’s the only way we truly achieve innovation and drive our business forward. Beyond that, it’s my mission to help Intel transform the tech industry at large. It’s about changing the entire landscape and ensuring that people from all backgrounds have opportunities to change the world through tech.