How would you define a male ally? Is it a man who helps ensure women are heard at work? Or a man who brainstorms strategies to get more women in leadership roles? Generally, male allyship describes an advocate for gender diversity in the workplace — and Gary Smyth of Informatica is all of the above.
As the Senior Director of Inside Sales & Sales Development for the North American branch, Smyth actively uses his platform to elevate women at the company. “I have hosted several panel discussions for the startup Austin community to discuss strategies on how organizations can attract and promote more gender diversity in sales and leadership,” he said. “I will also be hosting dedicated office hours to help mentor and promote women in technology in the Austin ecosystem.”
Sometimes, it’s not that men don’t want to be allies — it’s that they don’t know how. Smyth says men can “include and actively seek — or reinforce — women’s ideas and perspectives in meetings; promote women speakers at company events; and leverage social media to share, comment and highlight women’s contributions to ensure they are heard and actively shared.”
Read on to find out about Smyth’s long-term gender equality initiatives, why Informatica is a supportive place for female employees, and his No. 1 piece of advice for men who want to be allies but aren’t sure where to start.
How long have you been with your company?
I’ve been with Informatica for a year and nine months.
What about it made you first want to join?
The opportunity to grow as a sales professional, join the leading company in Enterprise Cloud Data Management and build an organization from the ground up are what led me to Informatica. Our team is truly a “startup” within a larger company. We are growing as sales professionals daily, and I have the opportunity to work with the best talent in the industry! We truly DATA — Do Good, Act as One Team, Think Customer First and Aspire for the future!
What are your main job responsibilities, and what about your role most excites you?
I am currently accountable to our North America Inside Sales and Sales Development organizations. We are responsible for growing the sales leaders of tomorrow and identifying incremental opportunities that can progress to revenue. We have the opportunity everyday to help organizations solve data challenges and make possible what never existed before.
What kinds of longer-term initiatives are you participating in to advance gender equality at your workplace (whether an employee resource group, mentorship, etc.)?
Since joining the Informatica team, I host weekly office hours which are open to all our team members for mentorship. Over the last five years, I have led the Austin Chapter of the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP) and have hosted several panel discussions for the startup Austin community to discuss strategies on how organizations can attract and promote more gender diversity in sales and leadership. I will also be hosting dedicated office hours to help mentor and promote women in technology in the Austin ecosystem.
Why do you believe your company is a particularly supportive place for women employees?
Informatica truly embraces its core values of We DATA. We provide a culture where everyone can Act as One Team, embracing gender diversity and different ideas. Informatica has a significant number of women leaders across all functions, providing a great platform for all women team members to Aspire for the Future and realize what is possible. Informatica also provides a culture of mentoring by hosting a women’s forum at our recent Sales Kick-Off, as well as ongoing women’s networking/forums in several hubs across the globe. We are also investing in the future with our “Informatica Next 25” initiative where we have partnered with the Public Education Foundation and Cashman Middle School in Las Vegas. This is a seven-year program to help prepare future male and female leaders for successful STEM-focused careers.
What’s your #1 tip for men who want to be allies to women at work but aren’t sure of what to do or where to start?
I think there is a great opportunity for men to help amplify women’s voices in the workplace, which is something that we can focus on daily as an ally. For example, we can include and actively seek — or reinforce — women’s ideas and perspectives in meetings; promote women speakers at company events; and leverage social media to share, comment and highlight women’s contributions to ensure they are heard and actively shared.
What was the best quality of the best boss you’ve ever had?
I would say the best quality of the best boss I ever had was transparency in helping their team members uncover obstacles or roadblocks that are inhibiting even greater success. Also, transparency from the perspective that they always openly shared their own areas of growth and desire to get better, not only helping their progression as a professional but their team as a whole.
What’s the most memorable piece of career advice you’ve received?
One of my fist managers shared an Oscar Wilde quote which I have always held close: “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” As I was seeking to progress my career in management, this piece of advice has always reminded me to be myself, to not conform, and to embrace how I am different. It is impossible for everyone to like you, so always be true to who you are as an individual.
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