Beyond the impact of diversity and inclusion on the bottom line, D&I is about creating workplaces where people feel they belong, they are valued, and they can connect with colleagues, a seasoned HR leader believes.
Gianna Driver, Chief People Officer of global cybersecurity firm Exabeam, said D&I can drive business growth, especially in an industry that thrives on innovation. More than that, however, D&I also help to make the workplace more humane – something which we need now more than ever.
“At our core, we are humans. We are all the same. We might have different languages, religions, skin colors, or clothes … But when you boil it down, the human experience is a lot more similar than different,” she once told Stew Friedman.
“There is that element of connecting on a human-to-human basis and creating systems and frameworks so that people can connect as humans amongst themselves,” said Gianna, who herself came from a very diverse background.
Gianna is the daughter of a strong-willed woman, who immigrated from the Philippines and later had to escape an abusive husband. The mother and daughter found refuge in a women’s shelter in Texas. There, Gianna grew up as an ordinary kid with big dreams.
To fulfill those dreams, she had to work while studying on a full scholarship at Wharton. She said her years in school were challenging because she didn’t feel like she belonged because her classmates came from a place of privilege.
Along the way, she founded Gianna Fair Trade, an e-commerce company specialising in empowering women artisans in developing countries, such as Thailand, India, and the Philippines.
Gianna joined the then up-and-coming online retailer Balsam Brands where she gravitated towards developing people initiatives and where she developed her passion for HR. She went on to become Vice President of People.
After six years, Gianna assumed senior HR leadership roles in Talend, Actian, Aristocrat, Playstudios, and BlueVine before finding her way to Exabeam in 2021, in the middle of the pandemic.
This year, she was listed as one of HR Executive's Top 100 HR Tech Influencers.