With Black History Month celebrated this month and Martin Luther King Day fresh on our minds, we decided to catch up with Microsoft Staffing Manager Tameiko Davis and discuss the role diversity plays not only in hiring but also in her day-to-day work environment at Microsoft.
You work in Recruiting for Microsoft. What role does diversity play in your day-to-day hiring process?
At Microsoft, we are really fortunate to have the opportunity to talk about diversity in a broad sense. It boils down to diversity of thought so we can get the best product out the door that serves the needs of our diverse customers. If a company continues to hire the same people—even if their ethnicities or genders differ—but their backgrounds and experiences are the same, you’ve defeated the purpose of “diversity.” Personally, I would describe myself as a “diversity evangelist.” I am passionate about diversity and have the opportunity to partner with a variety of people on numerous workplace initiatives.
Of the company-wide diversity efforts, what is one that has personally impacted or inspired you?
Blacks at Microsoft, which was the first employee resource group when it was started in ’89. During the summer, BAM has a fundraising event which raises money for higher education and local nonprofit organizations. The event is an all day, non-competitive sports tournament where you can play softball, soccer, football and basketball.
In order to participate in the tournament, you make a donation and then Microsoft matches your donation. You don’t need to participate in the tournament however in order to make a donation. When you join BAM, there is also an opportunity to send a bio of yourself to the entire BAM network. It’s a smart way to start building your network in a company that is approximately 90,000 people. Many times the responses to your bio are "Welcome, and if you need anything, let me know" or something to the like. It ends up being this large extended family, a large extended network that you can tap into as much or as little as you want.
BAM is only one of many employee networks and resource groups at Microsoft. Personally, what do you get out of working with people from so many different backgrounds?
You get an opportunity to learn and broaden your experiences. Just on my team, for example, I work with a woman from India who has two masters degrees. We’re comfortable enough that we can ask each other questions about the other’s culture. I’m learning about her and she’s learning about me and it ends up being this amazing mix.
And it seems Microsoft actively and visibly supports diversification though events such as the Martin Luther King Day event that you recently attended. What was the message at that event?
This year, Microsoft invited Dr. Mae Jemison –the first black female astronaut—to speak, and she talked about role models and mentoring. Employees are encouraged to bring their families to the event so it was nice for kids to hear her message. I was even inspired and I’m not five or six, or even twenty years old for that matter!
Upcoming diversity events and conferences.