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Executive Voices: Conversations on Diversity and Inclusion at Pure - Bill Cerreta

Bill Cerreta, General Manager, Platform at Pure Storage, shares his team's journey to improve diversity, inclusion, and belonging (DIB) in the workplace.
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Monica Bankston: Hello, I'm Monica Bankston, head of diversity inclusion and belonging at Pure Storage. I've been with Pure little over three months now and wanted to highlight some of the standout leadership around inclusion that I've learned about. I'm joined here today by Bill Cerreta a
dynamic leader who's been with Pure for over seven years. Bill leads our platform business unit. So Bill, I'm excited to welcome you today and learn more about your approach to diversifying your team. When did the journey start for you? And what were the first steps?
Bill Cerreta: Yeah, thanks, Monica. I think it started about five years ago for us, we became aware that the diversity numbers weren't good. And we, we wanted to have a more diverse, diverse workforce. But we weren't really making good strides when I went in front of the group and talk to the team about how it was
important to me personally, and I didn't shy away from talking about it, and I made it a goal for the team, then all of a sudden things started happening right off the bat, it's, you know, you don't want to avoid the conversation, it's much better to be very open and forward about it. Right? First,
our first step really, was to focus on early and career to bring in people who were who were just coming out of college, and that was a fast way for us to get started. Monica Bankston: Awesome. Awesome. So as your team started to make progress, you know, how did how did the plans change?
Bill Cerreta: Well, we quickly shifted toward retention, because one of the things that I think a lot of people in Silicon Valley think, hey, I want to improve diversity, I'll hire some some different people into the group, right? And then you find out that that's really, really not going to be enough.
That's just the very first step. And it's really about the environments. Can you create an environment where there's a community where people don't feel like they're on an island? And then as they start to move forward in their career, do they have opportunities? Can they have a career progression? Do
they see new and interesting work in front of them? Can you help to develop leaders? If you can start to get all those things? Right, then you, you really can make a lot of headway? Monica Bankston: Well, we all know, 2020 was an unprecedented
year. And there's an increased emphasis on diversity across industries in this country, and in America, specifically, how is 2020 change things for you? Bill Cerreta: Well, 2020 has changed a lot of things. But I really think there are two things that stand out to me in
the diversity journey that we're on. First of all, diversity isn't just about female employees. It's not just about hiring women, right? And I think in Silicon Valley, that's something that's really pretty far off right now. And we really need to focus on underrepresented minorities. And
I think that the challenges there are great, it's not it may not be as simple a journey to bring more women in as bringing in more women and underrepresented minorities, it might be trickier. The second thing that's happened in 2020, that, you know, a lot of people, I think need to think about is
that the drop off of women in the workforce has been pronounced. It's more than one of the greatest drop offs we've ever seen in one year. And I think we need solutions. We need to face that too. Monica Bankston: Yeah, I agree with you. 100%, I read a
statistic that 2.5% million women have dropped out of the workforce in 2020, due to the circumstances of the pandemic, and other other things that are happening in our in our culture and our environment. So it's pretty outstanding. Bill Cerreta: Yes, darling, it's very think about Yeah.
Monica Bankston: So you've experienced, you know, what it's like managing homogenous teams, as well as diverse teams here. What are your observations, Bill Cerreta: there's that when when you bring in a more diverse workforce, there's a diversity of ideas. And I think everyone
talks about that, and it's very high value. So the company can, you know, get new perspectives and so on. But for me, it was also about behaviors. I think that when you have a culture that's very, very heavily male dominated, and very homogenous, you start to get dynamics in meetings group think that, that
it's not just about limiting the number of ideas, but it's about that behaviors, how dynamic the group is. And when you get more diverse population, you really get a lot of different perspectives, not just on innovation, but also on how things should be.
Monica Bankston: So at Pure I know we value leaders teaching leaders. So in that spirit, what advice or lessons learned Do you have to share with r&d leaders who want more diversity on their teams, but just don't know how to get there? Bill Cerreta: You know, I think the first step is you got to be
all in. If you want to just hit a number or you know, you've been given a goal. I don't think you're going to get very far. Honestly, I think You have to be committed, and you have to get educated. Because I know for me that was the case, education is a big part of it.
Monica Bankston: I agree education is the key. Well, thank you, Bill for joining me today. I certainly appreciate the time you've taken to share your thoughts on diversity, inclusion and belonging at Pure. And I for one, I'm looking forward to all the great we're gonna do together to make Pure,
great place to work for diverse talent globally. So thanks again. Bill Cerreta: All right. Thank you, Monica. Monica Bankston: All right.
  • Video

Hiring talent from diverse backgrounds is only the first step in cultivating diversity, inclusion, and belonging (DIB) in the workplace. It takes a an all-in commitment to creating an environment where everyone can feel like they belong. In this Executive Voices Series: Conversations on Diversity and Inclusion at Pure, Monica Bankston, head of Pure's Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging program sits down with General Manager Bill Cerreta. Learn about Bill's journey to diversify his team and what it means for any leader to take this initiative seriously.

Pure Storage FlashArray//X | Data Sheet
FlashArray//X provides unified block and file storage with enterprise performance, reliability, and availability to power your critical business services.
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