Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace with Somos Advisory Board Member Nneka Chiazor
From providing vision, mission and perspective to a leading global CPaaS provider, such as Doug Garner, Vice President of Corporate Development at Sinch, does, to championing fraud prevention and detection and consumer advocacy, as Jaime Zetterstrom, VP, Information Technology at Intrado, does, members of Somos’ Advisory Board serve as key contributors to Somos advancing its mission to empower more trusted connections between brands, consumers and communities.
In our latest installment of our Advisory Board member spotlight, we are excited to introduce you to the newest member of Somos’ Advisory Board, Nneka Chiazor, Vice President, Government and Public Affairs, Cox Communications. Not only does Nneka bring a deep understanding of the telecommunications industry, government affairs and public policy and technology to the Advisory Board; she also contributes a strong commitment to championing diversity, inclusion and equity.
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the importance of people, culture and allyship in the workplace. Take for example, September 2021 – did you know that 4.4 million workers voluntarily left their jobs that month alone? This statistic, which is only one datapoint of which there are countless more, only helps to validate the fact that creating a culture of belonging drives innovation, fuels growth and employee satisfaction.
So, what does this mean? It means that organizations – and specifically business leadership – must make cultivating and fostering culture a strategic initiative. An essential component of this includes embracing not just diversity, but also its equally important, or even arguably more critical, counterparts: inclusion and equity. But adopting these values can’t simply be relegated to the workplace; rather, we must strive to champion diversity, inclusion and equity both on and off the clock if we are to connect the dots and help the business succeed.
“From her involvement in philanthropic causes to overcoming gender equality and beyond, Nneka weaves together the perfect balance of passion, determination, energy and inspiration,” said David Stewart, Chief Business Development Officer at Somos. “We are honored to have her as a Somos Advisory Board member and look forward to leveraging her experiences as an ally, confidant and cheerleader for both her community and the telecommunications industry.”
One experience that particularly stands out includes Nneka’s time as the Chair of the Diversity Committee for the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce. During her tenure, Nneka and her committee focused on balancing the community’s past, AKA the birthplace of slavery, with its future – a hub of inclusion. From equipping entrepreneurs, startups and small and large businesses with toolkits to hosting a workshop on the hidden biases of good people, her committee contributed greatly to help make Hampton Roads the epicenter of inclusion in Virginia. Specifically, the committee recently sponsored the first-ever Prosperity Plenary at the Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference – an event aimed at addressing the opportunities in our community for improvement in the housing ecosystem.
In addition to promoting diversity and inclusion in her community, Nneka is also deeply committed to empowering women leadership in her organization. As many would agree, the telecommunications industry has been historically male dominated – which makes Nneka’s successful career that much more impressive, inspirational and impactful. While she’s undoubtedly faced numerous challenges in her professional life related to gender equality, diversity and inclusion, Nneka has worked diligently to drive more women into positions of power and to keep them there.
When it comes to the future of gender equality in the workplace, Nneka believes that there’s no doubt that tomorrow’s face of wealth is female and together, we can achieve big things. As great of an aspiration as this is, however, success can be fleeting, and it’s easy for women to feel disconnected, despondent and unequipped to achieve their professional aspirations. Knowing this, it’s critical that women in the workplace lift each other up each and every day and commit to practicing allyship, confidence and amity in all they do.