UPDATED: Gender balance at work crucial to innovation – Liberty Latin America Senior VP
Businesses must encourage workplace diversity, including having more women in areas of leadership, if they are to excel in innovation and service delivery, a senior global telecoms official has said.
Kerry Scott, senior vice-president, chief people officer, of Liberty Lain America, the parent company of FLOW, believes women are under-represented in the boardroom and is urging them to be more assertive and not be victims of stereotype.
“In my view, to make a change and push for greater balance, women need to be brave, demand a seat at the table, and then demonstrate they are fully capable to lead,” said Scott, who has oversight of Liberty Latin America’s human resources (HR) and communications portfolio.
“A woman’s role in the workplace is extremely important, and research demonstrates that diversity and innovation are linked. Greater diversity and more perspectives create better teams. Gender is one element to this equation, albeit a prominent one, and it is critical that we work towards gender balance in the workplace,” Scott said.
She added: “It is not only a women’s issue. Diverse teams should include different nationalities, ethnicities, experiences, ages, and a variety of factors.”
Scott, who joined Liberty Global in 2015 as vice-president of global talent, leadership and development, said all roles in the organisation come with their challenges but that she was equal to the task.
“As a woman, I don’t believe my challenges are better or worse than that of others. They may be different at times, but it is important to remain agile and be able to adapt to changing scenarios in order to find solutions,” she told The Gleaner.
Liberty Latin America is a leading telecommunications company operating in more than 20 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean under the consumer brands VTR, FLOW, Liberty, Más Móvil and BTC.
Prior to joining Liberty Global, Scott held a number of senior roles in HR across Europe and the Middle East for Vodafone and was most recently the head of talent for the European region.
The executive, who oversees 10,000 staff, encourages women to surround themselves with sponsors, friends and colleagues who are supportive and insightful and who make them feel valued.
“Having people around that build you up and give you confidence generates positive momentum,” she said. “If your confidence starts to wane, you have people who can remind you not to doubt yourself.”
Liberty Lain America, she said, promotes gender equality, a notion that is embedded within their corporate culture from senior management and throughout all sectors of operation.
“We take a multifaceted approach to promoting equality and inclusion at all levels. We put in place policies, processes, and procedures to drive equality. This ranges from our hiring policies that include a mandate to recruit from a diverse pool of candidates to our compensation policies that are governed by a calibration and review process to ensure bias is eliminated from the process,” she said.
Scott champions maternity-leave programmes that are flexible and that are designed to support new parents.
“They have the time they need to be with their newborn and their family at such an important time. We see some women excited to return to work, while others choose to reduce their hours to spend more time with their families,” Scott said.
“I believe we support women in the path they choose. In addition to maternity leave, many of the countries we work in offer paternity leave as well so that these early parental experiences can be shared,” she added.
*NOTE: This story has been updated. Scott oversees 10,000 employees, not 100,000.