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Allyship for an Inclusive Workplace

Allyship for an Inclusive Workplace

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Diverse and inclusive cultures are providing companies with a competitive edge over their peers, concluded The Wall Street Journal in their ranking of S&P500 companies for diversity and inclusion. This makes a strong case for promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) at the workplace.

Applied Materials South East Asia is intentional about inclusion. One way of creating a supportive and inclusive environment for everyone to feel empowered to do their best work is through allyship.

Allyship is when a person uses their position in the dominant group to support and uplift members of non-dominant groups, such as women, through public acts of sponsorship and advocacy. An ally also works on self-education and developing self-awareness.

Employees from Applied share their experiences and how they practice allyship to promote greater inclusion here in Singapore.

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JOHN NUNES

Managing Director

Asia Supply Chain Operations

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“…male leaders must recognize their privilege to impact diversity and encourage other male leaders to be part of the change towards greater inclusion.”

Allyship begins with a willingness to embrace change.

“For me, allyship is about active involvement in the change process. Being an ally is not only modelling the values that we’re trying to promote but contributing every day to making that change a reality,” said John.

Being a mentor can be that first step for male leaders in allyship.

“When you have someone in the dominant group mentoring a woman or someone from a minority group, you begin to build trust and have dialogue. There’s a real opportunity for a woman who’s being mentored to give feedback about the impact their mentor has in the organization to demonstrate the behavior of an active ally.”

He added that male leaders must recognize their privilege to impact diversity and use it to encourage other male leaders to be part of the change toward greater inclusion.

“If that group is large enough and you see it consistently across an organization, I think you would see a tipping point in terms of the change in behavior overall. It takes time and the commitment to change has to be consistent.”

John encourages other male leaders to make an intentional effort to be an ally to women, pointing out that being an ally does not mean reducing the number of opportunities for other men.

“There are lots of opportunities around for everyone. Giving it to someone who hasn’t had that opportunity doesn’t necessarily take away anything from an ally.”

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KHAI SHUEN CHUA

Final Year Mechanical Engineering student (NUS)

Manufacturing Engineer Intern

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“It’s time for us to change the way we do things to enable women to succeed in a stereotypically male-dominated industry like the semiconductor industry.”

During Khai Shuen’s internship, her manager’s commitment to mentorship and sponsorship allowed her to see the value of her work in the wider manufacturing ecosystem, gave her the opportunity to present her work to a larger audience, and connect her to the right individuals to enable success for her project.

It was the supportive environment at Applied that enabled Khai Shuen to grow as an engineer and apply theoretical knowledge she learnt in university to practical applications in the workplace, and ultimately led to her decision to join the company as a Manufacturing Engineer after graduation.

“Encouraged and enabled,” was how she would describe her experience at Applied and how she plans to pay it forward as an ally for future interns.

“Encourage interns to step outside their comfort zones because there is a huge disconnect between school and work. And then, enable them by supporting and making space for them so that they know how their project contributed to the company’s objectives,” she said.

Khai Shuen believes that an inclusive workplace means conquering unconscious bias and stereotypes, and most importantly, being open to change.

“It’s time for us to dispel the notion that women find it difficult to succeed in a stereotypically male-dominated industry like the semiconductor industry.

“All genders are equal, and we should support each other in our collective journey to make possible a better future,” she said.

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ANANTH JUPUDI

Director

Mechanical Engineer

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“Women have helped me to grow in the company. I am grateful for the opportunities given and feel that we should always pay it forward.”

In recent years, Ananth has seen more women taking up mechanical engineering and electrical engineering courses, and joining a career in STEM and R&D.

“This year, we had about a 50/50 split between men and women in our intern batch who were excited to join Applied,” he added.

For Ananth, being an ally is multi-dimensional and can also mean recognizing when a junior staff does things better. Ananth’s interaction with the interns in his department made him realize that they excelled at documentation and following procedure, which he made a point to highlight.

“I always believe that there is something to learn from everyone. Fundamentally, a man and a woman think differently, and that’s a very good thing. It gives us a lot of different ways to do things.”

This view stems from Ananth’s own experiences as a beneficiary of female mentorship. When Ananth first joined the semiconductor industry over 15 years ago, both his mentors were capable and well-connected women who trained him from the ground up, and he hasn’t forgotten the impact that left on his career.

“Women have helped me to grow in the company. I am grateful for the opportunities given and feel l that I should help others. We should always pay it forward. “

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Contributed by

Applied Materials

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