A call-to-action this Global Diversity Awareness Month
Diversity, equity, inclusion, allyship, advocacy, authenticity, and belonging: all words that we are starting to see find more significant homes in our corporate lexicon. Sentiments that we always hoped would be ever-present, but sadly haven’t been. Thankfully in recent years, we are seeing more white papers, essays, and Ted Talks validating that the few fundamental truths we have always felt are no longer ignorable in our professional world. Community matters as does making sure that the environment allows and encourages one’s authentic self to be present. I, personally, have been a part of different organizations that have had varying degrees of success with these topics. I am proud to have been welcomed and able to foster a sense of belonging here within the Anaplan community. I am honored to be able to share a little about this journey with you, as October is Global Diversity Awareness Month.
Many may have had similar lackluster experiences with “inclusion.” The concept that it is simply enough that you had a seat at the table, no matter how hard you fought to get it. If I had a nickel for every time my opinion had been deemed insightful “for a female” or my merit disqualified... well, I would need an Anaplan model to keep track of them all! My seat didn’t guarantee an environment of belonging. I did not feel comfortable being authentic. Perhaps this sounds familiar? And perhaps due to this experience, you didn’t feel like you were able to bring your best self with you to work? When you are seen, heard, and valued within your organization, you and the team succeed together.
Anaplan has fostered a community where I have been able to enhance my technical skills as well as be myself — my authentic, albeit a little quirky — self. I have met people that have reached out genuinely to check on me as an individual and not just for my candid (and correct) opinions on the usage of numbered lists. I have been given opportunities to share opinions, enhance programs, and learn challenging concepts. I have never felt excluded because of any differences in my background, experience, education, or values. I have met many peers in the Anaplan ecosystem who have made me a better team lead and a much better Anaplanner. In STEM, it is a rarity to find an environment that strives to support both your technical development and your sense of connection.
But enough about me, what about you? What can you do to help build a better Anaplan? This isn’t just a story about my experience — it’s a call to action. While we should be proud of the community here, there is much we can still do. Remember to create inclusive spaces for your teams (virtual spaces count too!) and foster genuine opportunities to connect. These words and their importance have gained visibility over the recent years but that does not mean our work is complete. Remember a seat at the table isn’t enough! We need to take this momentum and keep going. Keep striving, keep learning, and keep growing.
Thank you for inviting me to be a part of this growing and evolving community. I look forward to the amazing things we will do together in the future — for STEM, for Anaplan, and for ourselves.
About the author: Taryn Townsend
Taryn is a Manager and Master Anaplanner with Deloitte Consulting LLP, specializing in Enterprise Business Planning design and architecture. After obtaining her PhD in Bio-Inorganic Chemistry, she made the pivot to consulting and has been working as an Anaplan implementation partner ever since. She has led multiple large-scale global implementations utilizing various enterprise technologies in conjunction with Anaplan. When not working on Connected Planning, she can be found watching disaster movies with her cats, learning Japanese, and trying to perfect her salted caramel macaron recipe.