Ray Tierney, who became Itiviti’s president in June 2021, brings more than 35 years of capital markets experience to Broadridge. Diversity and inclusion have remained important priorities to him throughout his career at Bloomberg and Morgan Stanley. Below, Ray discusses why he is so passionate about continuing to build on the strong diversity and inclusion momentum that Itiviti has achieved so far.
“If a team is inclusive, as it continues to grow, it will naturally evolve into a diverse team.“
A lot is written about diversity and inclusion today. What do you understand these terms to mean?
I understand diversity as the state of being diverse or having a large variety, and inclusivity as the practice or policy of including people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized.
A diverse team has many different, unique individuals. So, for me, the distinction here is that diversity is the who or the what. A company has to physically have to have many people – with a range of perspectives, talents, and ways of thinking – in order to achieve diversity.
Inclusivity, on the other hand, is a mindset. Someone who has an inclusive mindset behaves in a way that welcomes and embraces diversity. A good example of this is a choir – diversity is selecting people who have different musical backgrounds, vocal ranges and abilities. The inclusion piece of diversity and inclusion means making sure that those different voices are heard and valued and that they contribute to the performance.
An inclusive team will lift you up and support you. No one on an inclusive team will judge you based on what you look like, what gender you identify with, what your sexual preferences are, etc. An inclusive team will embrace all of who you are and value you for your mind and what you bring to the table above all else.
If a team is inclusive, as it continues to grow, it will naturally evolve into a diverse team.
Why is diversity and inclusion important for technology companies like Broadridge and Itiviti?
Diversity nudges you out of your comfort zone, in a good way. It provokes different kinds of discussions and debates, and makes it easier to avoid the risks associated with “group think”. Today, all companies are recognizing that diversity and inclusion are not “nice to haves” but instead that they are absolute business imperatives.
“Diversity nudges you out of your comfort zone, in a good way. It provokes different kinds of discussions and debates [...].“
For example, a recent McKinsey study found that companies in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity in management were 35% more likely to have financial returns above their national industry mean, and those in the top quartile for gender diversity were 15% more likely to have returns above their industry average.
Both Broadridge and Itiviti pursue both top-down and bottom-up approaches to advancing diversity and inclusion initiatives and values into our culture. For example, at Broadridge this is reflected in the varying backgrounds of the more than 12,000 associates working in 17 countries around the globe. Both companies actively engage in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programmes designed to broaden both ethnic and gender diversity in these areas.
At Itiviti, 26% of our employees in Engineering are women, just slightly above the industry benchmark (25%). However, 31% of the people hired in 2021 are women, showing our commitment to a more inclusive and diverse work environment. Also, Linda Middleditch, head of product strategy and engineering, recently won the Gender Equality / Diversity Award from WatersTechnology.
Specifically, for technology companies, cognitive diversity is a real benefit because it provides a range of different points of view when working to create software to solve a particular business challenge. Cognitive diversity, as well as a diversity of career backgrounds on a team results in more robust and resilient technology that better meets our clients’ needs.
Do you have a key personal experience within your career that is helping to shape your thinking around the integration of these two organisations?
Well, I have two daughters, and when they went to grade school, I took it upon myself to make sure they had all the tools and resources they would need to compete on a level playing field in whatever field of academics and athletics they chose to pursue.
Throughout my adult life I have always made diversity and inclusion a key part of my approach to management. For example, in a previous role, when I arrived less than 10% of roles in the division I was managing were held by women – and all of these women were in help desk leadership or support roles. There were no people of colour.
In just two years, the number of women and minorities in important client relationship positions and other leadership roles went to 34%. Thanks to this diversity of talents we adopted a fresh approach to using data to improve our operational efficiency, and as a result our revenues outperformed the industry by 33%.
“Thanks to this diversity of talents we adopted a fresh approach to using data to improve our operational efficiency, and as a result our revenues outperformed the industry by 33%. “
Also, I was awarded the inaugural Ken Heath Award for the leadership and empowerment of women in finance in 2017 by the Security Traders Association of America. This is something I am very proud of today.
Both Broadridge and Itiviti have advanced Diversity & Inclusion programmes, and I would like to continue to build on what Itiviti has already achieved in this area by working with Linda and others. In fact, in the three months since I joined Itiviti, the proportion of women in senior leadership positions has changed significantly, increasing from 25% in May to 41% in August.
What can individuals who work at Itiviti do to continue to nurture a culture that supports diversity and inclusion?
Across the globe the approach to fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion is evolving. Today, we all need to think about how we can be more proactive allies, where we use the influence we have in our roles to drive impact. Everyone in the business should be thinking about how, in their own way, they can help increase diversity and inclusion. For example, individuals in management roles can actively influence the way recruitment processes are conducted, while others can introduce talented people from all backgrounds to the company for new roles.
People can also engage in mentoring relationships within the business. Really, mentoring benefits everyone. Of course, it helps the person being mentored to develop new capabilities and advance in their career. Also, the mentor can gain new skills and new understanding through the partnership, such as coaching and leadership abilities.
Diversity and inclusion will remain a key focus as we bring Broadridge and Itiviti together. This is something that I know is a priority for both organisations, including their leadership teams. I’m looking forward to working with people across both businesses to continue to build diversity and inclusion within our teams.
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