Talking Diversity and Inclusion with Team Deltek's Lisa Roberts
Culture is what makes every company unique. For most companies, it is created over time and at the heart of what they do. It is what attracts a candidate’s interest and what keeps tenured employees around year after year. At Deltek, our strong culture cultivates a diverse work environment in which employees feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work.
To give you a glimpse into what Deltek is all about, we are putting the spotlight on our employees and the diverse roles that they play as part of #TeamDeltek. This new series will feature profiles of dedicated team members and what they do to help power Deltek. To kick things off, we spoke with Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of Human Resources and Deltek’s Diversity & Inclusion Lead, to learn more about what goes into creating an authentic and inclusive workplace culture, as well as Deltek’s recent celebration of International Women’s Day.
What inspired you to get involved with diversity and inclusion at Deltek?
Lisa: My motivation and desire to get involved with Deltek’s Diversity & Inclusion program stems from my background, being the biracial daughter of a Caucasian mother and African American father. Back when I was growing up in North Carolina, my community was not so diverse and I always felt like I was in the middle, trying to fit in. But I was raised in a very supportive home with the understanding that I could be a part of something, whatever that something was.
These days, with the immense pressure of social media and bullying, I always stress to my kids: don’t be like all the other kids, be yourself and be unique. I often think about how I can help other people feel more comfortable about being themselves and not having to identify with one particular group. I also want to make sure that my children aren't pigeonholed into thinking that they need to identify with just one space or have just one type of friend. That is extremely important to me.
So when I saw the opportunity to help create the Diversity & Inclusion program at Deltek, I jumped at the chance!
Why is it important for Deltek to have such an inclusive workplace culture?
Lisa: If you think about it, many of us probably spend more waking hours at work than we do with our families on any given day. So being able to come to work and not feel like you have to put on a mask or façade to fit in, is really important.
There are so many studies that show why people join an organization, and like the rest of us they are looking to work where they fit in and where they can make human connections. And if they don't make those connections, chances are they will leave and go someplace else where they can.
How do you support these initiatives in the workplace?
Lisa: In today’s world, where there are many social movements like Me Too and Black Lives Matter, it is more important than ever to provide opportunities for our employees to come together in a variety of different ways.
At Deltek, we look across the organization and celebrate what makes us each an individual. We support several different employee resource groups including LGBTQ+ and Allies and Woman@Deltek – which aims to promote the advancements of women at Deltek and help them reach their fullest potential. I’ll also add that we are fortunate to work in an organization where diversity and inclusion are naturally woven into the fabric of our company.
You actually helped co-found the group, Women@Deltek, along with other colleagues at Deltek, correct?
Lisa: Yes! And it’s been a great experience.
Last year, Women@Deltek hosted our first International Women’s Day event, with an internal panel of Deltek leaders. Then at Deltek Insight 2019, we had an opportunity to host a similar panel with customers, which ended up being standing room only! Following those sessions, we have heard such a positive response from employees and customers – all asking how they can get more involved with our Women@Deltek efforts.
To celebrate International Women’s Day this year, we invited three of our local Deltek advocates to join us at our headquarters to commemorate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, they included Cara Arehart – the Vice President of IT at Valiant Integrated Services; Karen Lewis – Partner at The M Group, the company that recently renovated our Customer Briefing Center; and Laurie Rodriguez, the Director of Finance & Supply Chain Systems at Booz Allen Hamilton.
Deltek's IWD 2020 Panel: Erin Garland, Cara Arehart, Karen Lewis, Laurie Rodriguez and Lisa Roberts.
More than 350 employees joined the conversation around the globe in person and virtually on Friday, March 6. Through a series of Q&A, moderated by Deltek’s Manager of HR, Erin Garland, panelists shared their background and experiences which provided different views and perspectives of what women encounter at different stages of life. The conversation also touched on interesting topics ranging from their professional journeys and how they have navigated their careers, to how the workforce has changed over the last decade and how important it is to hold colleagues accountable.
Erin concluded the formal Q&A portion with each of the women answering the question: What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
“Have confidence in yourself. If you see a position that interests you, don’t think of all skills you may not have. But instead have the confidence in yourself that you can do that job, and you will figure out what else you need to know as you go along.” – Laurie Rodriguez, Director of Finance & Supply Chain Systems, Booz Allen Hamilton
“Know yourself, if you are not sure who you are, take a deeper dive. Figure out who you are and what is important to your life.” – Karen Lewis, Partner, The M Group
“Seek to know. You can seek to know others’ point of view by putting yourself in their shoes, or seek to understand what is going on in other people’s lives, to get a different perspective.” – Cara Arehart, Vice President of IT, Valiant Integrated Services
How are you planning on evolving Deltek’s diversity and inclusion program in 2020 and beyond?
If one thing is for certain, it is that this is a journey! Each year, we really want to focus on what is important to continue growing this initiative. In 2019, we focused on program awareness and communicating how important diversity and inclusion was to Deltek.
In 2020, we plan on starting a Diversity Council, while continuing to broaden our different employee resource groups. That may include Veterans, African Americans, or Asians – whatever it is – we want to support our employees. Our goal is make sure that our employees feel that there are a variety of employee resource groups across the organization that they can be a part of.
Additionally, we know that leaders have a huge impact and influence on their teams. So we are ensuring our managers are equipped with the tools and resources they need to work collaboratively and productively in an inclusive environment.
More About Employee Resource Groups at Deltek
Deltek believes that creating the right environment for our employees means empowering them to learn, grow and be their authentic selves. By embracing all of our differences—including ages, cultures, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, religious beliefs, disabilities and veteran status, as well as the life experiences and ideas of our employees—we strengthen our ties as #TeamDeltek. One way we do this is through Women@Deltek.
The group sponsored a very successful customer event as part of Deltek Insight 2019, which featured several Deltek customers who shared their thoughts on topics including career development, harnessing the power of diverse teams, and maintaining a positive work/life balance. Continuing with this momentum in 2020, Women at Deltek also hosted an International Women’s Day event that took place at Deltek’s headquarters last week.
Deltek also started the Deltek LGBTQ+ and Allies employee resource group in 2016, open to all employees to network, share resources and boost cohesion. This group is for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and *all other* employees and Allies in the Deltek family.
As part of Pride month in 2019, Deltek supported the broader LGBTQ+ community through a donation to The Trevor Project, which is a non-profit organization focused on suicide prevention efforts among LGBTQ+ youth under 25 years old.
About the Author
As a senior member of Deltek's HR team, Lisa Roberts functions as a HR Business Partner supporting Finance and Global Consulting. Lisa works closely with executive and leaders to evolve their HR strategies to take their business forward, innovate and challenge standard HR practices. In addition to her HR business partner role, she is also the Leader of Diversity and Inclusion. Connect with Lisa on LinkedIn.
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