IT Brief New Zealand logo
Technology news for New Zealand's largest enterprises
Story image

Interview: Vodafone's Kirstin Te Wao on workplace diversity & inclusion

By Julia Gabel
Thu 8 Mar 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

When you think about Vodafone’s company culture, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

After speaking with the company’s diversity and inclusion lead, Kirstin Te Wao, Vodafone’s focus on inclusion, creating a sense of belonging for all staff, and empowering diversity from the ground right up to the board room is apparent.  

During her ten-year (and still going) stint at Vodafone, Te Wao had a lot to do with instilling these values across the company.

In her first year in the role, she deployed Vodafone’s global parental leave policy which enables all staff to have 100% of their salaries paid for the first 16 weeks of their leave.

In addition, the policy includes the Phased Return Scheme which means primary carers that have been on extended parental leave can come back to work for 30 hours, yet be paid for 40.

“Essentially, it’s like an extra day off work but being paid for it, which removes the financial burden while enabling people to have that quality time with young children in those really early and important years,” Te Wao explains.

“From a personal perspective, as a mother to be able to have that time with my kids before coming back to work, was huge. That’s something we really value, even just the sentiment behind it.”’

Te Wao has held a range of different roles during her time at Vodafone, starting in the customers operation team. From there, she “moved around a bit, and spent a bit of time in technology as a business analyst, experiencing all of the things that come with that being a woman.”

“When I joined the technology function, it broke down a lot of stereotypes that I assumed in my head about technology teams.”

“What I mean by that is when I moved into the business, yes there are a lot of guys across the team yet I was fortunate to be in a role where collaboration is a strength that you need to be able to do your job well as a business analyst.”

“However, back then, there was definitely a lack of diversity in terms women in the IT development team I was in,” Te Wao says.

“And also, the cultural diversity that I experienced being a Maori woman in technology - there was also that additional layer of complexity there in finding community so at that time we formed a collective in terms of identifying others within the technology space.”

“We came together to support women and Maori and Pacifica - that was the way we were able to maintain a sense of belonging.”

The diversity and inclusion lead was a newly created role that Te Wao was appointed to in 2014. She believes the creation of the position “showed the company’s willingness and thought leadership because at that time there were no other diversity and inclusion leads around.”

“I feel really proud now that there’s a community of D&I practitioners, however we were pioneering way back in 2014 in getting a person whose full-time focus was to ensure we were creating an inclusive organisation that was growing and fostering diversity across the company and for our customers.”

Today, gender diversity, and diversity in general, is picking up more momentum than ever before, says Te Wao.

“Society in general is at a point in time where there is a movement around creating a more inclusive world globally – and Aotearoa is certainly in that space as well.”

“It’s very topical, it’s very front of mind and one of the things that I believe will help move organistions forward is collaboration.”

“Vodafone has been on this journey for many years now and I’ve in the role for almost four years, we have a lot of experience in implementing these initiatives such as our employee networks – we’ve got different networks that support different forms of diversity.”

“These networks not only create a community but it helps us as a business understand what the challenges are and to be able to adapt our organisational culture to be able to meet the needs of our staff and customers.”

“We’ve got 3000 people roughly across the country, so we look to grow, really organically, our employee networks which celebrate different forms of diversity and the key thing that’s unique about our networks is that now they are contributing to the organisation’s direction and strategy for diversity and inclusion.”

“The networks are really grassroots led – they are formed by the people, maintained by the people, and the networks come up with their own plans. My job is to help support them and give them the tools and processes to enable to bring those initiatives to life.”

“In terms of our executive team, while they are there to support and endorse our strategy, they also have a role to play – a network executive sponsor role.”

“They advocate on behalf of the networks that they’ve adopted across the business and within their team – for example, they might provide funding for events the networks want to run.”

“To take it up another level, their role as our executive team is to be open to feedback from the Diversity and Inclusion Committee to identify and remove barriers that are preventing us from being a really inclusive organisation.”

“When we talk about [our policies] internally, that’s one thing, it reaches a certain community in our company, but when we talk about them further two things happen: People see what we do externally and think, ‘Oh, I forgot about that, Vodafone is a great company to work for’, and the other thing is other companies look at us and go – ‘Oh wow, if they can do it there, we can do that here’.”

“We hope [our work] inspires other companies to pick up the lead. We’re happy to share our resources and our policies and the process that we took. It’s important for Aotearoa that we do these things.”

“We all have a responsibility to ensure our kids are growing up in a really inclusive world. Kids aren’t born with bias, that’s instilled in them over time.”

“What we want to do is actually start the discussion – Why is it that I have these stereotypes in my head that women should be at home and men are the breadwinners? Why is that?”

“Let’s break down those barriers and those stereotypes and talk about what we can do make sure every organisation is more inclusive of people that come from different backgrounds, different walks of life and have been through different experiences.”

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Cybersecurity
Hard numbers: Why ambiguity in cybersecurity no longer adds up
As cybersecurity costs and risks continue to escalate, CEOs continue to struggle with what their investment in cyber protection buys. Getting rid of ambiguity becomes necessary.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Managed service providers: effective scoping to avoid costly vendor pitfalls
Managed security services are outsourced services focusing on the security and resilience of business networks.
Story image
Remote Working
How zero trust and SD-WANs can support productive remote working
The way people connect with applications and data has changed, users are remotely accessing resources that could be stored anywhere from a corporate data center to the cloud.
Story image
Cybersecurity
The 'A-B-C' of effective application security
Software applications have been a key tool for businesses for decades, but the way they are designed and operated has changed during the past few years.
Story image
BeyondTrust
BeyondTrust integrates Password Safe solution with SailPoint
BeyondTrust has announced the integration of BeyondTrust Password Safe with SailPoint identity security offerings.
Story image
SaaS
Absolute Software expands Secure Access product offering
Absolute Software is enhancing its Secure Access product portfolio, enabling minimised risk exposure and optimised user experiences in the hybrid working environment.
Story image
Kodari Securities (KOSEC)
NFT trends and opportunities: expert reveals all
The NFT market is growing at an exponential rate, with unprecedented liquidity. Here we explore how businesses can profit.
Story image
Power / Energy
SmartCIC report reveals top five 5G carriers in the world
The Global Cellular Performance Survey also found that 5G networks are delivering high download speeds but lagging in upload speeds.
Story image
Sustainability
Power at the edge: the role of data centers in sustainability
The Singaporean moratorium on new data center projects was recently lifted, with one of the conditions being an increased focus on power efficiency and sustainability.
Story image
Ransomware
Cybersecurity starts with education
In 2021, 80% of Australian organisations responding to the Sophos State of Ransomware study reported being hit by ransomware. 
Story image
SaaS
Cloudflare launches instant serverless database for dev teams
"Today we’re announcing our first serverless database which we expect will quickly become one of the largest databases in the world."
Story image
Oracle
Prophecy International migrates VMware environment with Oracle Cloud Solution
The Adelaide-based global provider is using the solution to eliminate the need to re-write applications, therefore allowing the company to enhance its business operations.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from IronNet
Michael Ehrlich joins us today to discuss the history of IronNet and the crucial role the company plays in the cyber defence space.
Story image
Remote Working
IT teams deploy powerful technologies to enable remote work
"We found that IT teams mastered the challenges of remote work last year in large part by employing powerful yet easy-to-use technologies."
Story image
Veryfi
Veryfi announces Mobile Receipt Capture for D2C marketing apps
Veryfi has announced a new enhancement to its portfolio, with Mobile Receipt Capture for direct-to-consumer marketing apps.
Story image
Safety
Voxel hits total funding of $18M following ongoing wins
Since raising its seed round in September, Voxel has grown at pace, by decreasing on-site injuries by upwards of 80% and increasing operational productivity.
Story image
Sustainability
Siemens showcases new automated solutions for data centers
Siemens has implemented new automated solutions and AI in the Baltic region's largest data center, providing insight into the future of data center management.
Exabeam
Find out how a behavioural analytics-driven approach can transform security operations with the new Exabeam commissioned Forrester study.
Link image
Story image
Sift
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
SAS
New SAS service overcomes subscription fatigue for media companies
SAS has launched SAS 360 Match which helps media companies move towards a AVOD model to generate revenue as subscribers cancel.
Story image
Mobility
Hands-on review: STM laptop bags
The advent of hybrid working has meant we need laptop bags. We got our hands on two of the most popular laptop bags from STM.
Story image
Cybersecurity
A10 Networks finds over 15 million DDoS weapons in 2021
A10 Networks notes that in the 2H 2021 reporting period, its security research team tracked more than 15.4 million Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) weapons.
Story image
Excel
Could your Excel practices be harming your business?
While Excel has been the de-facto standard for budgeting, planning, and forecasting, is it alone, enough to support organisations in the global marketplace that’s facing rapid changes due to digital transformation?
Darktrace
Threat actors are exploiting weaknesses in interconnected IT/OT ecosystems. Darktrace illuminates your entire business and takes targeted action to stop emerging attacks.
Link image
Story image
Fortinet
Fortinet's Security Fabric hits new record for integrations
The Fortinet Security Fabric has surpassed 500 technology integrations with more than 300 Fabric-Ready Technology Alliance Partners.
Booster
Booster Innovation Fund. A fund of Kiwi ingenuity – for Kiwi investors.
Link image
Story image
Remote Working
How organisations can meet employees' changing expectations
The global employment market has shifted dramatically in favour of employees, sparking the so-called great resignation, in which people are leaving unsatisfying roles in search of greener pastures.
Story image
Public Cloud
Cloud adoption still a work in progress, NetApp finds
NetApp has announced the results of the annual Cloud Infrastructure Report based on a survey of public cloud business and IT decision makers.
Story image
Talend
Talend introduces new data health solutions for businesses
Talend has announced its latest version of Talend Data Fabric, with the release of Talend Trust Score enabling data teams to establish a foundation for data health.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft backing Māori and Pacific wāhine in tech industry
A new initiative focused on getting Māori and Pacific wāhine into the tech industry and backed by Microsoft, NZTech and the government is calling for tech companies to get involved.
Story image
Phishing
Google reveals new safety and security measures for users
Google's new measures include automatic two step verification, virtual cards and making it easier to remove contact information on Google Search results.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
ANU and Seeing Machines to use AI to improve driver safety
The Australian National University and Seeing Machines have won a grant to develop AI systems monitor human behaviour while driving.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Datacom, Micro Focus, SnapLogic and VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 6-12, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Application Security
What are the DDoS attack trend predictions for 2022?
Mitigation and recovery are vital to ensuring brand reputation remains solid in the face of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and that business growth and innovation can continue.
Story image
Adyen
Adyen expands partnership with Afterpay as BNPL payments increase
Adyen has expanded its partnership with AfterPay allowing more of Adyen’s merchants in more countries worldwide to use the BNPL provider.
Story image
PaaS
New digital traffic light system to tackle construction defects
Smarter Defects Management launches its PaaS digital system and says it will revolutionise managing defects in the construction industry.
Softiron
For every 10PB of storage run on HyperDrive vs. comparable alternatives, an estimated 6,656 tonnes of CO₂ are saved by reduced energy consumption alone over its lifespan. That’s the equivalent of taking nearly 1,500 cars off the road for a year.
Link image
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Updates from Google Workspace set to ease hybrid working troubles
Google Workspace has announced a variety of new features which will utilise Google AI capabilities to help make hybrid working situations more efficient and effective.
Story image
Sustainability
Grasping the opportunity to rethink the metrics of a sustainable data centre
A data centre traditionally has two distinct operations teams: the Facility Operations team, and the IT Operations team. Collaboration between them is the key to defining, measuring, and delivering long-term efficiency and sustainability improvements.
Story image
Cybersecurity
CyberArk launches $30M investment fund to advance security
CyberArk has announced the launch of CyberArk Ventures, a $30 million global investment fund dedicated to advancing the next generation of security disruptors.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft unveils adaptive accessories for disability access
Microsoft is introducing an expansive Inclusive Tech Lab to give people with disabilities greater access to technology through new software features and adaptive accessories.
Story image
Wireless
SmartCIC, BICS partner to expand wireless service options
SmarCIC has partnered with BICS to increase choice for organisations using fixed wireless services, expanding existing carrier relationships for its CELLSMART division.
Story image
Data Center
Preventing downtime costs and damage with Distributed Infrastructure Management
Distributed Infrastructure Management (DIM) can often be a lifeline for many enterprises that work with highly critical ICT infrastructure and power sources.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
SAS unveils AI experience to improve kids' batting abilities
SAS has created The Batting Lab, an interactive experience using AI, computer vision and IoT analytics to help kids improve their baseball and softball swings.