Culture of Inclusion: Informatica's International Women's Day Story

Last Published: Mar 08, 2024 |
Erin Andre
Erin Andre

SVP, Chief Human Resources Officer 

To honor International Women's Day this year, with guidance from our IDEB (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Belonging) team, we initiated a global conversation among our colleagues, exploring this year’s theme 'Inspire Inclusivity.' Our goal? To uncover why inclusivity matters to us, how it's shaping Informatica, and how we can make our environment even more inclusive.

The stories paint a vivid picture of a company where inclusivity is part of our lived reality, a part of everything we do. Yet, it's important to be transparent: not every story was a perfect success, and we are on a continuous journey of learning, growth and embracing feedback. 

Uncovering Common Threads: A Pattern of Inclusion at Informatica

Here's a standout realization: At Informatica, asking if we value inclusivity is like questioning a fish's appreciation for water; it's not just a component of our environment—it is our environment. Employees worldwide across all demographics and geographies told us that they rarely, if ever, felt they were seen or treated differently from their first interview to the present. From those who were at the company from its earliest days to those who've joined us along the way, almost everyone we spoke to echoes a similar sentiment: being valued for who they are, what they do, and what they have to say. Informatica’s 30-year heritage is, they affirmed, built on a foundation of inclusivity.



This, in turn, has helped us retain and support the career growth of female employees over the long-term. Geetha Gopalakrishnan, SVP of Customer Support, Vilma Ranoy, VP of Finance and Controller, and Gigi Gazelle Urquico, Senior Director of Sales Enablement, on average, have been with Informatica for over 20 years. Each told us that as Informatica expanded, they were invited to participate in new conversations and initiatives, contributing to and learning from the company's evolution into a global brand with over 5000 employees today. By valuing the institutional knowledge of long-standing teammates, we have enhanced our company's performance and avoided some of the pitfalls that many growing businesses face.

Inclusivity at Informatica: Beyond Buzzword to Business Imperative

When I joined Informatica five years ago, our employee survey rankings consistently revealed high levels of engagement, indicating that people were proud, motivated, and committed. As a company driven by constant innovation, we didn’t rest there. We added new iterations of the survey to incorporate elements of belonging. As the landscape of social awareness evolved around us, we seized the opportunity to level up our commitment to education and awareness through our IDEB function and Employee Inclusion Groups (EIGs.) Notably, our very choice of these unique acronyms underscores our conviction: Unlike the conventional DEI acronym, 'IDEB' starts with ‘Inclusion’ and ends with 'Belonging.' 'EIG' replaces 'Resource' with 'Inclusion' of the traditional ERG acronym, emphasizing just how embedded these principles are to us. As a result, our global engagement scores have remained high and well above industry standard.

Our culture is also directly influenced by our CEO, Amit Walia. His embodiment of IDEB values sets the tone for the entire company and led to him being named Best CEO for Diversity and Women by Comparably in 2023, rankings based on input from current employees. Those we spoke to repeatedly highlighted how Amit and our executive leadership team’s visible commitment serves as a crucial influence, inspiring them and others to “walk the talk,” sparking a network effect that spreads throughout our organization.



What’s Worked: A Glimpse into Our Progress

Our global dialogue for International Women’s Day also revealed important progress we've made in fostering inclusivity, as we deepen our commitment.

Creative inclusivity initiatives: Worldwide, team-driven initiatives, guided by creative leadership and grassroots teams, consistently receive positive feedback vital to our globally diverse team.  Amidst the shift to remote work prompted by the pandemic, our Chief Customer Officer Ansa Sekharan, alongside HR, initiated small group sessions to address priorities and answer questions, engaging each member of his 1800-person team personally. This practice continues today. Across EMEA, leaders from the Netherlands, France, and Ireland organize talks featuring successful internal and external female leaders. The 'Her Talks' series in India empowers female employees to take center stage on typically “male” topics like AI, reference data management, and machine learning. Our organization-wide monthly Awareness, Allyship, and Action (AAA) Meetings, feature a diverse range of global employees, executives, and external speakers discussing their personal experiences, significantly enriching attendees’ own life and workplace journeys.

Diverse Hiring Success: After implementing inclusive recruitment measures, our organization achieved significant gains in gender diversity within a year and a half. On our IT team, despite historical hiring challenges, we made substantial progress, increasing the number of female team members by nearly 40% in just over 3 years, after implementing new inclusive recruitment and hiring strategies.

Innovating Inclusion: Lessons Learned and Future Directions at Informatica

Despite our progress, women in the tech industry continue facing significant underrepresentation and challenges. In 2023, only 14% of the global cloud computing workforce and 20% in engineering were women. Many of our female colleagues, especially in male-dominated tech sectors, shared experiences of discrimination and heightened scrutiny in their previous roles.

It’s clear from countless studies, data and personal anecdotes that the situation is a work in progress for every organization, and there is much to be done by all to continue to progress.

Encouragingly, during our global conversation, Informaticans echoed similar sentiments about key areas for enhancing and maintaining our progress. These shared insights are so valuable they’re likely to turn into core global initiatives that lead us forward:

Awareness Drives Positive Change: Colleagues repeatedly emphasized that instances of non-inclusivity often stem from unintentional oversight rather than deliberate intent, sharing real-life examples where people swiftly adapted their behaviors when issues were raised, leading to immediate and positive change. This underscores the importance of recognizing that most individuals may simply be unaware of the impact of their actions. As we continue on our inclusivity journey, addressing issues as they arise becomes not only about compassionate correction but also about generating self-awareness and consciously creating safe spaces.



Good Leaders = Inclusive Leaders ... and Vice Versa: As I contemplate this year’s theme, ‘Inspire Inclusivity,’ which ignited our important global conversation, I realize that being an inclusive leader is synonymous with being a good leader. Colleagues including our Chief Legal Officer Brad Lewis and Chief Information Officer Graeme Thompson emphasized that inclusive leaders must above all truly listen to their people, ensure everyone on their teams feels seen and heard, embrace diverse input, and maintain open-mindedness. These qualities of inclusive leadership they shared make for amazing leaders in general, don’t they? The symbiotic relationship between inclusivity and leadership excellence is fundamental. By investing even more focus and resources into continuous training, incentivizing our leaders and holding them accountable to embody our core company values, we can cultivate greater diversity and exceptional leadership, propelling our organization forward.

The Importance of Everyday Inclusivity: To be effective, our dedication to inclusivity must also be as consistent as it is widespread. Jennifer Meyer, VP of Product Marketing and an executive advisor of Women in Revenue EIG told us: “It's crucial to remember the smaller transactional ways we can help people feel like they belong ... what are some understated areas we can tap into to make people feel accepted with whatever contribution they have?” Suchitra Narayen, GVP & Deputy General Counsel, pointed out, “Our commitment to inclusivity is not just a flash in the pan, nor is it merely the flavor of the week. It's a sincere commitment to acknowledging there's value in doing this. And that's what moves the needle.”

I previously mentioned there is a remarkable shared humanity that permeates our workplace. This essence shone through again for International Women’s Day, as our teammates demonstrated collective empathy, wanting to ensure that the inclusivity they benefit from at Informatica is also experienced by all others. Twinkle Chinthamalla, Senior Manager Data Platforms, IT, encapsulated this sentiment perfectly: “As a company I know Informatica encourages inclusivity, it encourages women in leadership roles … I hope it resonates to everybody within the company. My team is secure, I am very happy here, but I'm not sure if that's the case with everybody and if I could do anything to make sure everybody is happy as I am then that would be great.”

Informatica is a place where inclusivity isn't just a goal but a lived experience, deeply woven into the company's DNA. As we reflect on our journey for International Women's Day, let's carry forward the spirit of inclusivity, celebrating our progress and embracing the opportunities that lie ahead. Here's to a future where every voice is heard, every perspective is valued, and every individual is as happy as Twinkle and feels a true sense of belonging. 



First Published: Mar 08, 2024