In honor of European Diversity Month, two Nuance leaders, who are based in our Dublin office, talk about how having a diverse team is beneficial and integral to their everyday work. Hear their perspectives on how different backgrounds, beliefs, and experiences bring strength to their teams, and drive us to find innovative solutions for our customers.
Meredith Mascolo joined Nuance in 2013 and is the Senior Manager, Communications. A perfect job for her, as she loves words, puns and idioms. She’s also the community manager for our company intranet. Meredith earned a B.M. in music education from Oberlin Conservatory and a M.S. in Administrative Studies, Innovation and Technology from Boston University. She is a classically trained violinist who enjoys playing her 5-string electric at yoga classes and other musical projects. She loves reading, cooking and yoga.
The best collaboration happens when we’re all working together – really listening, being open-minded, and valuing the many perspectives we have. Not only do we learn from each other, but we’re able to do our best work. May is European Diversity Month – and no matter where our employees live or what team they’re on, it’s the perfect time to appreciate the strength in having a diverse team. I asked two of our European leaders why having a diverse team is so important and critical to their success – here’s what they said.
Caroline, Vice President Finance, International
European Diversity Month gives us all an opportunity to reflect on why having diverse teams matters. Why is cultural diversity so important? Our culture is what shapes us – it forms our behaviour and our identity. Culture is our way of living, and it refers to the shared language, beliefs, values, norms, behaviours, and material objects that are passed down from one generation to the next. At Nuance, our culture and values make us who and what we are – a team culture where diversity and inclusion are promoted and cherished.
There are so many benefits to working on a diverse team. We enhance our problem-solving and decision-making abilities when we have many different ideas and solutions to choose from. On each project the Finance team works on, the benefit of group diversity – multi-location and multi-cultural – of thought and experience, lends itself to a lesser likelihood of “group think,” which increases our creativity and project outputs. We also benefit in our own personal development, by growing our skills and expanding our mindsets – and learning from others. Openness and sharing not only leads to a good project and company outcome but a personal one as well. And as we continue to learn through shared experiences, we can discover the unexpected outcome of a strengthened team morale and engagement.
To quote David Rock and Heidi Grant, ‘Working with people who are different from you may challenge your brain to overcome its stale ways of thinking and sharpen its performance.’ From my experience, this has most definitely always been the case.”
Fergus, Vice President, EMEA Delivery
In my experience, diversity leads to a better working and learning environment with better outcomes – and it challenges traditional thinking and pushes us to improve. At Nuance, we are so fortunate to have a workforce from such a diversity of backgrounds. It’s incumbent on us as leaders to maximise the opportunity this presents for our team and in turn, for our customers. Having a diverse team is only part of the picture; facilitating and creating an environment where these voices can be heard, and ensuring people feel comfortable and confident to contribute is key. We all must be sure to garner a range of ideas so we can challenge similar and static thinking. Enacting ideas is the critical piece.
I have seen many situations in which having diversity on our teams has resulted in a better outcome for our customers as well as the team itself. Design and customer empathy are such important components of our work, and because we have folks with different views, norms are challenged, we learn from each other, and the best outcome is achieved.
I see several customers and situations where this occurs. With one of our customers, we deployed virtual assistants for eight different languages. We started with two languages, and then built out more – and it’s more than just adding more languages, it’s about taking the best ideas with cultural and regional backgrounds to improve the virtual assistants for all their customers. Our diverse Global Services team continues to support their optimization program by bringing ongoing improvements from all different backgrounds and building the best experiences for them and their customers!
Another example is the global deployment of voice biometrics for one of our customers. We have local teams working with our core solution team – they share local knowledge and offer diverse new approaches to improve the overall performance and outcomes for the customer. Our customers benefit from our team’s diverse knowledge and experience.
As a leader, diversity gives me access to valuable ideas and opinions that simply would not occur without it, and this can drive the team forward. It becomes central to better decisions and action. The point then really becomes how can leaders lead effectively without it?”