The Everyday Impacts of Diversity and Inclusion at Akamai
My name is Hisashi Yamaguchi. I’m an enterprise security architect based in Tokyo. I joined Akamai in March 2020, so I’ve been at Akamai for almost two years.
To me, Diversity & Inclusion means a new way of thinking and engaging with society. It seems to be one of the most popular phrases that every person sees on the internet every day. I have been appointed as an ambassador of D&I for Akamai’s Asia-Pacific Japan region, and have been learning the essential principles along with some of my colleagues for the past several months.
Here are some of the principles I have learned that help me put D&I into practice.
The first principle is to find common ground. It is a fact that every person has varying backgrounds — this is a great thing, not a negative thing. But there will always be common ground between everyone. So, finding those commonalities is important — rather than focusing on our differences.
Next, it’s about lifting people up. Every person feels some sort of alienation if they are not in the loop or excluded. One of the possible causes that can lead to alienation is a lack of safe space in which to speak up. A great goal is to try to create opportunities for people to be heard easily, to keep them in the loop and lift them up, to find common ground.
These principles are helping me put Diversity & Inclusion into practice every single day, and I have also started to keep key habits so I can be a more experienced D&I ambassador.
The first key habit is “listen actively.” If I have any sort of bias or perception toward other people, I cannot truly understand another person’s voice precisely. I’ve made a lot of mistakes before, and those happened due to a lack of active listening skills. Honestly, I didn’t used to be a good listener, but now, I know that trying to listen actively and understand the root intention of every voice is crucial.
The second key habit is not providing unwanted advice to others. Past experiences are important, but every person has unique ones. So keep learning new things every single day, and don’t provide advice to others without first making sure you have the right understanding of their personal experiences and challenges.
Yes, D&I is a buzzword. That’s because it’s important. But it’s not good enough to say it without investing time and energy into it. Keep learning. Don’t be afraid of changes and failures. Remember that you don’t know everything, but if you’re open to learning more, then the world we work in will be a better place.