Authentic leadership prioritizes diversity and goes above and beyond to build working environments where every voice is heard and valued.
At Gotara, we’re proud to work with influential leaders around the world who build successful companies and authentically manage people, displaying transparency, driving results, and supporting successful DEI initiatives. The leaders we work with understand DEI success is not just a check in the box, but the result of intentional investment in diversity at all levels of the pipeline.
Here are five of our favorite success stories of STEM+ companies and their tenacious commitment to closing the gender gap. Through their authentic leaders, these organizations understand that true innovation arises from a mosaic of perspectives and are intentional about creating opportunities for all team members to grow, contribute, and excel.
BrandSafway — Reshaping the Future in Construction and Civil Engineering
BrandSafway challenges the status quo by creating an inclusive working environment where women not only find a place but thrive. The organization shifted from one-size-fits-all e-learning to Gotara’s personalized upskilling and coaching to build a new generation of authentic leaders.
A successful leader invests in building a pipeline of leaders for the company. And our employer partners like BrandSafway see results:
- Women at all levels enrolled in upskilling and coaching programs
- 100% of participants applied the learnings to their daily work
- 100% met their upskilling goal and 100% of their managers agreed
BrandSafway is a global entity with a presence in 30 countries and a workforce of 40,000. It is a leading global provider of access, specialized services, and forming and shoring solutions to the industrial, commercial and infrastructure markets, an industry traditionally male-dominated. The company’s authentic leadership acknowledges that achieving gender diversity starts with opportunities for great leadership at all levels.
Embracing a visionary strategy, the company goes beyond simply filling roles and actively invests in workforce development through extensive upskilling and coaching programs. The recent promotion of one woman to a Branch Manager position is particularly notable given the historical underrepresentation of women in managerial roles within this industry.
BrandSafway promotes a management style focused on breaking the glass ceiling and ensuring it stays shattered. Looking ahead, the company aims to expand its innovative program, fostering collaboration and growth across multiple countries. This initiative is a blueprint for transforming the organizational culture, where everyone can grow and contribute meaningfully.
“If you create an inclusive culture, you bring the best out of everyone.”
— Karl Fessenden, CEO of BrandSafway
Cisco — Going Beyond Surface-Level Inclusivity
Cisco builds an empowering and inclusive future, demonstrating that diversity and leadership development drive employee engagement, innovation, and business ROI.
Effective leadership strategies build meaningful connections and improve retention. Our employer partners like Cisco see results:
- Women in STEM+ at all levels, and underrepresented talent in the OneTen Program enrolled in upskilling and coaching
- 100% retention rate for employees who went through upskilling programs
Cisco is an example of ethical behavior and organizational commitment to DEI. The organization joined the OneTen initiative, a transformative program connecting talented individuals, particularly those in the Black community and those without a traditional four-year college degree, with leading education and skill-building organizations.
Cisco goes all-in with a holistic approach. In response to the stark reality that over 40% of women in STEM leave their roles within the first 5-7 years, the HR team welcomes diverse talent and runs robust leadership development programs to minimize attrition risks. Cisco’s hire-train-retain approach is about something more intentional than following market trends. The company has seen that true diversity and inclusion extend beyond recruitment and necessitate ongoing investment in its workforce with upskilling, coaching, and mentoring employees and their direct managers to increase job satisfaction.
Cisco’s initiatives are successful because the company’s authentic leaders have learned to tailor communication with employees and partners. By leveraging Gotara’s behavioral data and acknowledging the realities of the STEM+ world, Cisco builds a future where non-traditional hiring strategies and realistic leadership development practices are the norm.
“You have to be open to thinking outside of the box and leading by example on your initiatives to hire and retain the high performers in STEM.”
— LaToya Davis, Program Manager
Experian — Making Diversity Not a Finish Line but an Ongoing Journey
Experian‘s core values and mission are inclusion-centered, as the company aims to provide everyone with access to affordable credit. To truly understand their customers’ needs and pain points, the company’s workforce needed to mirror the diversity they served.
The best leaders can authentically inspire change for an entire industry. Employer partners like Experian invest in diverse upskilling:
- Leaders make is clear they are invested in growing women talent.
- Women who are individual contributors or managers receive personalized support to improve productivity, innovation, and customer relationships.
Experian’s success depends on a team that can continue to build unbiased products and services by authentically empathizing with the real challenges faced by the company’s diverse customers.
The company’s journey began with a visionary pilot project focused on upskilling and coaching ten high-potential women for key management roles. The goal was clear – to build an authentic leadership framework that championed diversity and could translate that understanding into the company’s products and services.
Today, Experian proudly boasts a 27% representation of women within its leadership board, surpassing industry benchmarks. However, they view this as an ongoing commitment rather than a checked box. Despite exceeding expectations, the focus remains on cultivating an environment that values every perspective and helps more women develop the leadership skills necessary for future careers.
“We put a strong emphasis on making sure that women have a seat at the table and are given the opportunities for advancement because if it’s a bunch of men running the organization, you know there will be a minimum unconscious bias that creeps in.”
— Scott Brown, President, Consumer Information
Skyhigh Security — Acknowledging Growth Is Not a One-and-Done
Skyhigh Security helps customers enable a remote workforce while addressing cloud, web, data, and network security needs. With a vast pool of customers worldwide, the company needs ongoing strategies to upskill and grow talent.
When companies see upskilling as a journey, not a one-and-done, the impact for the organization is measurable and scalable:
- Participants enroll in multiple upskilling programs as their roles grow and expand.
- The organization registered a 25% reduction in cycle time on critical processes as the result of upskilling and coaching.
- 100% of Skyhigh Security talent met their upskilling goals, and 100% of their managers agreed.
Skyhigh Security’s focus on talent development and retention is strategic in a market teetering on the brink of talent shortages. Leadership builds an organization that isn’t just a destination for top talent but a nurturing ground for growth. This approach mitigates the risks of attrition and positions the company as an employer of choice.
The ROI of this holistic talent strategy grows exponentially as the company consolidates its robust pipeline of leaders with a growth mindset. A new generation of first- and mid-level managers is ready to drive innovation within the organization and act as ambassadors of Skyhigh Security’s mission and values, attracting and retaining top talent. The ripple effect of this strategic investment in human capital ensures sustainable long-term success and resilience in the face of an ever-evolving market.
“Being able to provide career growth opportunities to women in cybersecurity is incredibly meaningful, and I’m confident that we’ll see huge successes from them in their careers.”— Kristen Wynne, Head of People Success
Trellix — Embedding Diversity in the Company’s DNA
Trellix teams are architects of soulful work who build cybersecurity solutions for their customers with purpose. Their success depends on an infallible team to protect millions of people and their digital assets.
Authentic leadership unlocks the full potential of a company’s workforce:
- Women are nominated and publicly congratulated for leadership development programs creating a dynamic system of engaged upskilling and coaching participants.
- 100% of Trellix talent met their upskilling goals and 100% of their managers agreed.
For Trellix, DEI initiatives are integral to the concept of soulful work. Recognizing the ever-growing demand for cybersecurity services, the company understands that it must attract the best talent possible to continue building innovative solutions. In this pursuit, the organization views talented women in critical positions as essential for long-term growth and a strategic advantage.
And the strategy of investing in talent works: Trellix is making its mark. The company’s CEO, Bryan J. Palma, was appointed by President Biden to the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee.
In cybersecurity, diversity can become a catalyst for progress and innovation. In this context, the leadership at Trellix is committed to setting a new industry standard by fostering an environment where diversity thrives. The goal is clear: cultivating a balanced work environment that encourages innovation and empowers women in STEM to step into leadership roles confidently.
“Over 50% of our team in the STEM+ categories are women, and they’re hiring other women and people of color. And it’s amazing how that works.” — Michael Alicea, Global Chief Human Resources Officer
What Do These Companies Have in Common?
- Authentic leadership from people who lead with confidence and empathy
- Courage to go beyond “good enough”, by striving for equity at all levels, not just meeting the industry norms
- Commitment to diversity at all levels as a core value, not just a check in the box
- Top industry knowledge and understanding of how a talent gap impacts innovation, productivity, and business growth over the long-term
- True desire to have each individual fulfil their full human potential aligned with a purposeful mission
- Willingness to invest in talent as a key lever to success
- A commitment to actively supporting employees as they take on leadership roles
Companies like BrandSafway, Cisco, Experian, Skyhigh Security, and Trellix continue to pave the way to help each team member reach their full potential. And these organizational leaders know that to succeed in the future, diverse teams, and women leaders sitting at all levels of the organization is no longer a nice to have, but a strategic imperative.
As more companies understand the importance of diversity, it’s safe to say that STEM+ organizations will likely make more effort to include people from different backgrounds and perspectives. This means they’ll try to have more women in leadership roles too.
In the next few years, DEI won’t just be a small part of planning. It’ll be a big and essential part of how STEM+ decision-makers run their business. This shift will make companies in STEM+ industries better at solving problems and coming up with new ideas. So, we can look forward to seeing diversity in STEM+ make companies stronger and more competitive.