International Men’s Day celebrates the positive value men bring to the world, their families, and communities. This year, we’d like to celebrate three international male role models at Poly who lead by example by being allies for various Employee Resource Groups within our organization.
- Donato Netto, Brazil Service Manager, an ally for the Accessibility Resource Group
- Darrin Caddes, Vice President of Brand and Corporate Design in North America, an ally for the Women’s Leadership Group
- Paul Dunne, Senior Director of EMEA Distribution, an ally for the PRIDE Resource Group
Please tell us about the group you support and why you are an ally for it.
Darrin is happy to see so many groups forming within Poly that are focusing on equality, diversity, and inclusion. Darrin recalls when he was asked to be an Executive Sponsor for the Women’s Leadership Group (WLG). “Being a man, I must admit I was caught off guard but deeply moved to become part of the organization…There are no gender limitations to supporting women in their leadership development here at Poly or anywhere for that matter. In fact, the greatest opportunity for all of us in this work is the ability to broaden our horizons of empathy and understanding through the experiences, perspectives, and insights of others and the women who started the WLG embrace this idea completely.”
For Donato, he explains that the Accessibility Group is a multidisciplinary one that discusses how and why Poly could create products and services that are more inclusive and accessible to the community and industry. Donato felt it was crucial for him to be involved with the accessibility group because he wanted to contribute to the group’s goal regionally.
Additionally, Paul grew up in Ireland in the 1970s in a society where the teachings of the Catholic Church ruled. It wasn’t until 2015 when Ireland voted by a huge majority to legalize same-sex marriage, becoming the first country in the world to do so by a popular vote. This opened his eyes to the fact that many LGBTQ+ individuals and communities felt they had to remain closeted in their workplaces and beyond. “I joined the Pride Group as an ally because I want to be a part of the solution to LGBTQ+ inclusion at Poly. I would like the LGBTQ+ community at Poly to have a real sense of belonging at Poly and confidence that they have allies right across our business.”
How are you working with this community within Poly to strengthen the impact of allyship in the business?
Darrin feels honored to participate in the WLG, but the real impact of this work comes from the collective focus and drive of the members. “We all contribute uniquely in our own way, but it’s important to remember that none of us can do this work alone. The whole notion of diversity and inclusion is to bring people together, strengthen awareness, and to build bridges where walls once stood, and that can only be done with an eye on the collective and not the individual.”
Donato believes that fostering clear communication and participation with global groups as well as his direct group is what drives the greatest impact.
For Paul, joining the PRIDE Resource Group was an important first step. Looking ahead towards broadening his impact, he says “I see my primary role is one of being a visible member of the group and recruiting new members through the events organized by the group. My goal for the group is that we reach a tipping point in our business where the majority of our associates show active support for the LGBTQ+ community through their words and actions.”
Why is being an agent of change important to you personally?
Darrin sees himself as a person who is in constant pursuit of improvement, one who promotes and supports new ways of doing things. “Life is simply far more interesting when we are learning, growing, building, and cultivating new experiences and deeper connection with ourselves and those around us. There also happens to be a lot of inequity out there in the world, so naturally, it makes sense to promote change in that context.”
For Donato, being an ally for this group is directly related to his values and beliefs and is integrated with his sense of ownership within the company and the industry. Because of these deep-rooted morals and values, he is focused on creating a more inclusive and equal environment.
Paul sees himself as more of an agent of growth rather than an agent of change. “I believe that all companies and their associates are capable of growth. Through growth we literally expand our consciousness. Personally, we become happier. And professionally, we become more creative, we solve bigger problems, and we build a better business.”
How are you encouraging different perspectives within your own function/region/team to foster diversity of thought?
Darrin reflects, “My work, and the work of my team is completely dependent on the full spectrum of human response to what we are doing. Our responsibility is to solve problems and to delight and improve the quality of life for our end-users, and we can only do that with a deeper understanding of what moves them and makes them tick. We address this in our work in many ways. Research and copious testing are key but one of the most effective means of establishing broad awareness is to hire for diversity. Not just in gender and ethnicity, but through professional and life experiences as well. We look for people who have traveled, have lived and worked in other parts of the world, who speak different languages, and have worked in industries outside of our own. The spectrum of these experiences we consider essential to help provide a collective perspective that cannot be attained through any other means and to ultimately contribute to Poly’s continued success.”
Donato lives by the saying, “The word convinces, but the example drags,” meaning our attitudes on a daily basis say more than just our words. Donato adds, “inclusion is not only relevant when you hire someone with a very different experience, but when you need to listen and to come to an agreement with a person who holds opposite opinions, creed, education, or needs.”
Paul reflects on how lucky he is to work alongside a great set of people across the EMEA region. “My mantra to the people that I work with is, please help me by stress-testing my thinking. I find that once people believe me when I say this, it encourages them to offer alternative perspectives.” Paul also enjoys sharing various books among his team members to foster discussion. By doing so, he has been able to encourage different perspectives among his group, which has helped him understand the diverse business cultures and perspectives in their regions. Paul also explains how he is part of a cross-functional team in EMEA, working through challenges concerning product supply. “This has been very interesting as the team involves Sales, Sales Operations, Order Management, Supply/Demand, and Logistics. We have short daily meetings which has been a great way for me to gain an understanding of more aspects of the business and to gain additional perspectives. It is also a team that makes decisions daily without anyone being ‘in charge’ and it has been a very positive experience.”
LEAVING AN IMPACT
As we take this day to recognize the positive value men bring to the world, we are especially grateful for the individuals throughout our organization who have positioned themselves as committed allies within different Employee Resource Groups. Paul is not part of the LGBTQ+ community, but he supports it. Darrin is not a woman, but he stands for the Women’s Leadership Group. Donato is fully accessible, and yet he strives to understand those who are not. Individuals like these within our company, who make the choice to support these various groups and foster allyship within our company allows us to be a stronger and more connected workplace.