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Every year on March 8, we observe International Women’s Day - a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, as well as a call to continue efforts towards gender equality. This year the organizers have selected “Each for Equal” as the theme, and I’ve been reflecting on what that means to me and what it means at Red Hat. The idea of intersectional equality is something that we’ve been exploring internally and we’ve increased our efforts to be more mindful. We are all working towards having a better understanding of the impact that we have on those around us - impacts that help spur us on our journey and impacts that slow our progress. 

One place this has been most prominent is in our informal group of women vice presidents where we come together to network, share insights and solve problems using our experience. Representation of women within the technology industry has been a focus for us and we’ve provided support and programs designed to enable and encourage women inside and outside of Red Hat. While there is still room for improvement, what we’ve discovered is that our women vice presidents can be powerful catalysts for diversity beyond gender and can help empower others. 

We know that good ideas can come from anyone, anywhere, regardless of title or rank, and strive to be an inclusive meritocracy. Diversity isn't just a "nice to have," it creates a competitive advantage. At Red Hat, we know the more diverse we are, the better we can innovate, serve our customers and contribute to the open source communities in which we participate. We focus on creating a workplace that is inclusive, encouraging sharing ideas, cooperating, creating space for all. We emphasize creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable contributing, no matter where they come from, and where contributions are recognized. We’ve been recognized for the culture we’ve created at Red Hat, and we owe a lot of that to our D&I efforts. 

There are many ways that we work across our organization to engage associates by providing avenues for them to recognize others.

  • RewardZone: Recognition doesn't always have to come from above. Praise from a colleague can be just as important and motivating as it is when you get it from your manager. We created RewardZone as an internal platform that allows associates to recognize peers who best represent Red Hat's values. Every associate receives a set number of points each quarter and those points can be used when recognizing coworkers. Those points can then be redeemed for items from our reward catalog. Associates are encouraged to nominate teammates from other parts of the organization and the recognition is based on our Red Hat Competencies, the capabilities and behaviors that support our culture. By encouraging and rewarding these behaviors in each other, we are continuously reinforcing and strengthening the culture that makes us successful.

  • The General H. Hugh Shelton Chairman's Award: Now in its 14th year, this award recognizes the exceptional work Red Hatters do around the world. The award celebrates associates who exemplify our core values, create a positive customer experience, promote collaboration and demonstrate expertise in their fields. They're role models who put our customers first and have a tangible impact on our business and culture. As with RewardZone, the Chairman’s Award is a peer nomination program that enables our associates to shine a light on others within Red Hat.

  • Open Management Practices: Developed using the Open Decision Framework with input from more than 1,300 Red Hat associates and managers, The Open Management Practices are designed to clarify the role of the manager at Red Hat. The practices describe what great management looks like in our open culture, including the importance of using fair consistent criteria for performance reviews, promotions, bonus allocation and all other rewards. We identified six practices that are crucial to open management and provide in-depth resources and training for managers so they understand why each is important and a specific set of behaviours so they know what open managers do and do not do.

  • Engineering Leadership Accelerator: The ELA provides a cohort of high potential women engineers a year-long opportunity to expand their impact in engineering leadership roles at Red Hat. It provides accelerated learning and development programming focused on building the skills and mindsets that will prepare participants for expanded roles internally at Red Hat and to be thought leaders. Participants have opportunities to apply what they learn in face-to-face engagements with customers, practitioners, peers, and executives, and they graduate the program with a built-in support network to provide encouragement and accountability as they move forward in their careers.

Diversity and inclusion is not a simple issue with a simple solution. Too often we look at D&I as discrete and independent problems to be "solved." But that’s not the approach that will help us make lasting progress. D&I is a journey, and it is not a problem at all, in fact it offers solutions to the challenges of disruption and the need to continually innovate, and keys to revitalization and renewal for organizations. Today and throughout this month, we are encouraging Red Hatters to reflect and commit to challenging stereotypes, fighting bias, building empathy for different perspectives and celebrating the contributions of women. I invite you to join us in our celebration of International Women’s Day by joining the conversation on social media using #EachforEqual.

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