Profiles in Leadership: Diverse Voices

Ventera Scrum Master/Delivery Manager Tu Maihi

How do you work with people to create or foster diversity in the workplace?

The first step for me is understanding the value of diversity. We have team members, team leaders, and thought leaders who come from all different backgrounds, ethnicities, and upbringings in general. All of these differences are voiced to aid our solution building.

To foster diversity in the workplace, we must create a safe environment where everybody gets to have a voice.

How have your past experiences influenced these efforts and how you approach your work, your colleagues, and the world as a whole?

The transition from a Waterfall Methodology to Agile Methodology facilitated a shift in approach and process for development teams, and in turn, altered communication styles.

In a Waterfall environment, a team lead assigns tasks with little consultation, and more often than not, with imposed timelines. The team lead has the only voice.

Conversely, Agile highlights servant-leadership, self-organizing teams, and continuous process improvement. Even the Agile language is empowering! An Agile work culture empowers team members to have a voice and play an active role in the solution and decision-making process, and therefore, have ownership in delivering the solution.

I am best suited to interact with colleagues with an Agile vocabulary, process, and approach.

Has diversity played a role in your leadership style or how you approach your work?

I am Māori, a culture that is indigenous to New Zealand. The Maori culture is very tribal and communal at its core so the idea of including everyone comes naturally.

It’s interesting that there are more articles and even books on a leadership style that promotes a “one team, one culture, tribal’ approach. It makes sense to me!

What does it mean to you to have a commitment to diversity and inclusion? How do you think we can continue to support the need for social change?

Inclusion is a lifestyle. Based on my upbringing, this lifestyle is a natural first choice. It’s an interchangeable skill set that can be used both inside and outside of the workplace.

Ventera does a great job of providing exposure opportunities like “Profiles in Leadership” to actively look for examples of diversity within our own Ventera family. It’s an insightful way to share our experiences from within our organization to those who want to know more about our culture and who we are.

What is your favorite part of your culture?

This is best answered by way of ‘Whakatauki’ – Maori Proverb:

“He aha te mea nui o te Ao? He Tangata, He Tangata, He Tangata”

What is the most important thing in the world? The people, the people, the people.