My name is Heather Newman, Many people call me Hedda, a nickname from college. My pronouns are she/her/hers and I am a human in tech. The reason I get up out of bed in the morning, is because I believe that life is a gift and my job is spread joy and connect as many people as humanly possible. I am a storyteller, I am a theatre major turned tech geek. So helping people tell their stories is what I do. I own two businesses Content Panda a software company that helps people with the adoption of Office 365 through in-context and on-demand help, support and training and I run Creative Maven where we believe there is a better way to do marketing – by helping businesses and individuals tell their stories, create their strategies and grow their businesses and careers. I’m also a two-time Office Apps and Services Microsoft MVP. I love traveling the world speaking on healthy workplaces, marketing, personal brand and technology. I live in Marina del rey and I am originally from Michigan.
This is a perspective, my perspective on how we should treat each other in our world, how technology can help with that and I believe that it starts with one’s self.
So I will start with a poem.
When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country. But, it too, seemed immovable. As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it. And now as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed my self first, then by example I would have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed the world. The above words are said to be written on the tomb of an Anglican Bishop in the crypts of Westminster Abbey in London, England. And I believe in all things we always start with ourselves.
My business, my workplace is fine, its healthy, we all get along, we respect people, we pay them a fair wage, we have time off and encourage it. Is that all? Is that all ya got?
You’re workplace many not have the full fledged flu, but all of us as individuals and thus our businesses have a symptom that is a hard one to get rid of, like that nasal drip that lingers on and on and on.
And that symptom can affect everything we do and is what I call the fear factor.
Remember the movie Dune? Not everyone has seen the movie, don’t raise your hands but we all understand fear. Fear is not always a bad thing, it can save our lifes, get us out of bad situations, I often protects us from harm. However, fear also leads to stress which leads to sickness which leads to disease and fear in one person can spread easily to others in a group setting. If you know the movie there is an ancient order of women who look at what makes us human. Anyone know the name of the order? Bene Gesserit. They spend their lives becoming the experts of themselves, and what they bring to their society. I would call them Master Mavens. This quote is called the Litany Against Fear and a tool they use for learning.
Our fears stop us from going after those burning desires we have, fear that comes out of our childhoods, our two hundred thousand year old lizard brains that make us say, do and think things that are not true. Imposter syndrome that holds us back from reaching for the next opportunity. Cowardice from standing up for someone else at work when its hard to do so
Knowing one’s self is about understanding your fears and when they are gone, only you remain.
So as we go into this presentation I’d like to ask you to open your minds to hearing about how some thoughts about how our own fears contribute to an unhealthy corporate culture which also means starting with yourself who knows you may change the world too.
One of the hottest topics in the corporate world today and where businesses seem to have an ailment is with the “problem” of diversity and inclusion. And we fix problems. We check boxes and makes plans to fix a problem. We need to have meetings and solve this problem so we can get on to building and selling software and services. We want to check boxes and say we did it, we solved the problem. We all like solving problems it is a key soft skill that employers look for in its worker.
But, who has time for to talk about these things? I’m busy, I need to drive pipeline, revenue, finish the report I’m semi-working on while I half listen to you, I drive my kids to school, I take care of my aging parents. I just want to do my job, run my company, and live my life.
However have I got something for you. Since this is a technology event I decide to whipped something up with my developer that I know you are going to like. We will be launching this in one month so you can sign up today. So get ready, can I get a drum roll please?
With no further adieus I am very excited to announce two new offerings I have created to solve this “problem” of Diversity and Inclusion inside your organization. Its coming soon and for a combination of $20 per user annually I give to you:
Diversity as a Service and Inclusion as a Service the QR code is right there for you to get on the waiting list to add these into your Office 365 tenant through the App Store. You can show this to human resources so you can solve this problem. For those of you without a code reader here is the link.
Ok I’m pulling a fast one, there is no such thing as Diversity as a Service or DAAS or Inclusion as a Service IAAS. Sorry, not sorry. https://www.creativemaven.com/diversity-and-inclusion-as-a-service
These isn’t an easy fix and having diverse and inclusive culture is one of the foundations of what it means to have a healthy corporate culture. Diversity and inclusion takes time, thought, energy and resources for a company. For us as individuals, thinking before we speak, not interrupting people, giving others credit where it is due. All of those things simply a moment of your time, your energy and some of your compassion and offset the what a company has to fix.
I have so much respect for Melinda Gates and I love this quote from her because it says “all of us” when we have more diverse and inclusive teams we simply have more insights than we’ve had before we level up our awareness of each other and the world and our idea become more vast and if you are a numbers person, there are percentages and facts and reports all over the interwebs from the Harvest Business Review, to Deloitte to Forbes that teams that are diverse, inclusive and with a sense of belonging drive more revenue, are happier and when we are happier we are more productive. If you are in need of a list of these reports ping me and I’m happy to send them to you.
and tend to bound out of bed like Tigger in the morning. And who doesn’t want that.
These 10 Inclusive Behaviors were developed for Microsoft in support of their Diversity & Inclusion cultural evolution.
Take a minute to read through and think about each of these ten behaviors. Where are you strong, where might you focus some attention.
How could you bring these behaviors or some like them to your own organization. There is a note card in front of you and I’ve take a picture of this slide an it is on Twitter, now or through out the day write down the one that resonates with you. Anyone want to pick one and in one sentence say why that one resonated with you?
I wrote this when all the fires were happening in Sonoma County a few years ago where I used to live and it is mantra of mine. And I follow, read, learn and listen to people who share my values and also take action, and again all of us have the power to start with ourselves to do so. I learned about empathy when I was a theater major, when you can walk in someone else’s shoes you can understand them. That is the power of live theatre, as the audience member you walk the in the shoes of Romeo and Juliet, of Willie Loman of Indiana Jones, Ellen Ripley, Hermoine – all we are doing most of the time is telling and listening to an understanding people’s stories.
The leader, our leader of Microsoft, Satya Nadella who lives and breathes inclusion and collaboration – leads the mission of the company with Empowering every person and organization. When we have empathy we innovate. We put Alt Text in for every picture in our PowerPoint slides because it is inclusive and allows a blind person to read what the photo is in a screen reader, but someone decide to put that into the product as well. Alt attributes were designed for users of screen readers. These programs started being developed in 1999 read content on a webpage aloud, and alt text found in the site’s HTML is the primary way of providing context to help someone understand the visual aspects of the page – even if they can’t see it. Google changed its image search after a green Versace Dress was the most popular search query ever – yes Jennifer Lopez. The new xBox adaptive controller is brilliant the videos of kids who were not able to play games will make you cry, we and I mean we, our community built that. With empathy and action we can change the world, achieve more together and be more successful.
We have diversity, inclusion and empathy as our foundation. And 3 is the magic number. The numerology of the number 3 is all about abundance, teamwork, working together, collaborating and happy communications. I’m going to run us through three more ways to build healthy corporate culture
Unconscious bias (or implicit bias) is often defined as prejudice or unsupported judgments in favor of or against one thing, person, or group as compared to another, in a way that is usually considered unfair. ... As a result of unconscious biases, certain people benefit and other people are penalized.
We have a large amount of information that started coming into our brains since we were born. Our brains process all of it and connect the dots and make associations and patterns for understanding, these are hard-wired so we don’t have to think. We learned that a stove was hot and we could burned so not to touch it.
For example, you may unconsciously think that women should stay at home to care for their families, that people who are different race or ethnicities brings a strong negative reaction. That people who are overweight are lazy. Older people cannot function or think quickly or you call someone a millennial or boomer. These are unconscious biases, also known as implicit biases. These are our knee jerk reactions to what we see and process that bounce against that hard-wired information that we learned over time.
This is an excellent book by La’wanna Harris. We all have it every darn one of us in this room and I will arm wrestle you on this. Starting with ourselves means looking at our unconscious bias in all moments, it takes an extra second but we can be conscious about this, it is the beginning to solving the “problem” and this piece to me is a problem. This is how we bring better health into our corporate culture.
Here is some research from an article by Andrew Blackman that explains unconscious bias more deeply that came from the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flager Business school. There are thousands of datapoints like this that take these unconscious bias and turn them into real pain, suffering and loss for many people. Getting passed over for promotions, being accused of something when someone is a bystander, we aren’t able to be our authentic selves if those around us judge us based on these biases and talking about this issue openly inside our technology helps.
If you feel a bias toward someone or something, go learn about them or it. Immerse yourself in that culture or invite someone to lunch. Everyone has biases. As late as 1970, the top five orchestras in the U.S. had fewer than 5% women. It wasn't until 1980 that any of these top orchestras had 10% female musicians. But by 1997 they were up to 25% and today some of them are well into the 30s. What is the source of this change? Have they added jobs? Have they focused on work that appeals to women? In the 70’s and 80’s they started blind auditions. Women’s shoes sometimes so they removed their footwear before coming on stage. How can you obstruct your view? Write up the criteria you will judge or base merit on and share it for transparency – if we write it down and share it we are more apt to stick to it. Awareness, most of the time “we don’t know” what people are struggling with and it may not be us its our families a women said my son is gay, can I talk about him at work, can I be proud of him without judgement? There are so many resources on these subjects, TedTalks, papers, many of the places I’ve highlighted here, we are all #alwayslearning I learn something new every day about this subject and I too make mistakes sometimes but the fact that we are taking active steps to learn matters. The way we overcome is to accept it, talk about it, learning about it. Embrace our empathy and take action by flipping the scripts in our minds.
Today we will focus on Teams and Yammer a little later but we all can benefit across all of these products by increasing….
When we feel dumb or can’t find the answers we get frustrated, we bury our heads in the sand – we don’t want to ask the help desk or support people or even our colleagues to help us or show us the way. I believe it is absolutely essential to support, training and help the people of your organization to feel empowered and successful at the applications and technologies they use ever day. There are a million ways out there to do it in-person, on-demand, in-context but if you are a business that tosses people in the pool without a life preserver, they will stay with the old ways of doing things, they will be frustrated and stoking that symptom of FEAR.
You may laugh at some of these statistics but there are humans in this room and in this organization that are in the red or grey areas of this chart. And this study scratches the surface of what we struggle with. If you happen to be color blind the not sure is the right, incorrectly is the middle and correctly is the left.
When we don’t have the tools or guidance that we need we cannot go after our goals and objectives of our jobs, we cannot take advantage of all the inherent information that sits in our companies and in ourselves. There are brilliant people in this room who know how to do certain things at the speed of light. What are you awesome at doing? When was the last time you shared that information with one person or your whole company. When we are frustrated we cannot create, we cannot generate. We leave dreams and ideas on the table because we can’t remember, and ask our selves those How do I do that question with no easy way to find the answer.
My friend and fellow MVP Tracy van der Schyff has done the math and is my sister in digital literacy and she wrote blogs for two years on Office 365 and Microsoft 365 – I build my own new intranet SharePoint site for Creative Maven watching her videos. The information is out there but we have go get it and also demand it inside our corporate culture. 40 percent is a huge number
Some ways that Microsoft is working to help us. 1) Join the Microsoft Tech Community 2) Join and Build a sustainable Champions Community 3) I never build anything from scratch, I give end user adoption workshops and I use the Adoption Plan Slides, the amazing Excel Spreadsheet Accelerate your deployment and adoption of Office 365 and run people through them. 4) Go get your Service Adoption Specialist Certificate or just take the class, its free and on Edx.org and there are tons of other free classes there as well.
Advisor for Teams (preview) walks you through your Microsoft Teams rollout. It assesses your Office 365 tenant environment and identifies the most common configurations that you may need to update or modify before you can successfully roll out Teams. Then, Advisor for Teams creates a Deployment team (in Teams), with channels for each workload you want to roll out.
Each workload in the Deployment team comes with a comprehensive Planner plan that includes all the rollout tasks for each workload. Using this Planner plan, you'll assign tasks to the people responsible for each phase of the rollout - including the project manager, Teams and Office 365 admins, support people, and your adoption and user readiness team.
Advisor for Teams is part of the Teams admin center. Office 365 Business Essentials license so you can take advantage of the Advisor for Teams integration with Forms and Planner.
We've set up special permissions so non-admin users can get to Advisor for Teams, even though it's in the Teams admin center. You DO have to be a Teams admin, Teams Service Administrator, or Global Administrator to open the tenant readiness assessments (this is because the special non-admin roles don't have access to the Microsoft Graph APIs underlying the assessments).
Microsoft 365 Government - GCC High or DoD deployments. Office 365 Business Essentials so you can take advantage of the Advisor for Teams integration with Forms and Planner.
With our foundation of diversity and inclusion, empathy and action, challenging our unconscious bias, work on our digital literacy and share knowledge with each other. Then we use technology for what it is supposed to be user for collaborating, communicating and connecting with each other. That to me is a healthy workplace. Some organizations already have groups in place and need an ongoing space to connect between meetings, conferences, and events. If you don’t have a dedicated wellness, mental health or diversity and inclusion group, I’ll make some suggestions on how to start.
Find interested employees and empower them to own and contribute to a new Microsoft Teams dedicated to these conversations or Yammer group depending on what technology you are leveraging. Start with a broad focus, and then narrow it down to focus on specific initiatives as needed.
Culture change take time. The most successful companies iterate together on culture, and even on their mission and vision statements. Why wouldn’t we do that with the way we use Office 365 products? You don’t have to own the business to suggest that this might be a good idea, you will find that more people are with you than against you.
With Office 365 the key to working with applications the word “and” is important. All of Office 365 is built to work together and with Teams being the Hub for teamwork it pulls in all of the technologies that you know and work with daily into one place. And Yammer gives us that corporate wide view. Who is using Teams? And Who is using Yammer? Great. There are now more ways these two products work together.
I’m starting with Yammer as it is the more company wide solution inside the Office 365 stack. As marketer I love a rebrand, and Yammer Groups are now communities and the Yammer team has been using the hashtag #YearofYammer
Yammer’s core focus is on Communities, Knowledge, and Engagement. Updated fluent design Company branding so it looks like your company Simpler, clearer organization You can now favorite your communities and if you are a community manager you keep the ones you manage at the top
The rebrand of Groups to Communities to better reflect Yammer’s purpose and the multitude of community needs, engagements, and interactions. Also Yammer now has a conversations web part for SharePoint, and Yammer conversations in Outlook and a new Yammer app for Microsoft Teams, you can pin Yammer as a Tab as well. Admins can now designate ‘official communities’ to steer employees to important company initiatives. Want to share a message about a sensitive topic or controversial matter without inviting feedback or negative comments? Close a conversation at anytime to put the discussion into “read-only” mode.
Find interested employees and empower them to own and contribute to the Yammer group. Start with a broad focus, and then narrow it down to focus on specific initiatives as needed.
Take for example for transgender people, choosing which gendered bathroom to use can be uncomfortable and unsafe. The San Francisco Microsoft Office recently welcomed the creation of a gender neutral bathroom. At this location, the team shared better ways to support and celebrate transgender and non-binary colleagues – and snack on special edition “Potty Party” cupcakes. They hosted an AMA (Ask Me Anything) and shared experiences with employees so everyone could learn, ask questions, and share their viewpoint.
Teams is a chat-based workspace that brings together chat, meetings, calling, and Office 365, all-in-one. I think Microsoft Teams solves for the communication needs of a diverse workforce. As far as digital literacy goes, you can use Teams for informal 1:1 or group chats – directly on your phone if you’re on the go. Or you can have an open conversation in a channel. Teams is all about transparency, though we did just add Private Channels but you all asked for them. It also breaks down geographical barriers I am often on with our partners in London, my business partner in Hawaii and my team and I use it now exclusively for chatting with each other.
Does anyone have a community manager at their businesses? Anyone want to be one? Often community managers learn to be one by being one.
If you have not yet started using Yammer or are focused on Team, you can also use a Team for these intentional space for conversations.
Two separate companies that I’ve talked to have instituted two different “Fridays” – one is karaoke and one is all wellness. They have a Microsoft Teams set up for both. The Teams for both companies are big ones, they are companies with 5,000 or less users as that is the limit in teams. Teams is also a great place to use as the backchannel for your community leaders or champions to dream up ideas for a larger company wide initiative that you may move or build in Yammer. Karaoke Friday is just that – in the afternoon, every Friday the company comes together to sing, music is our universal language and they have built an inclusive space for people to express themselves and wail out their favorite songs with no judgement, the C-levels started this and some are not Frank Sinatra or Janis Joplin. People take pictures, they use a channel to suggest song for each other, post photos, give praise and GIFs and videos of the ordeal. People are allowed to attend or have that time off. They serve snacks and drinks and have it end before the end of the work day so people can still commute home. Wellness Fridays are about just that, the day ends at 3pm and people are encourage to share what they did to renew themselves, ask others to join them, share ideas about things that work for them, apps they use and how they take advantage of this time. Companies that relax together and share idea can then create together. Leveraging teams to talk about these things empower us to be who we are. They also have become the safe space in channels called “The Watercooler” or “The Tough Stuff” where people now because of their more shared personal experience feel the ability to be vunerable with each other. “
Being a marketer I am a consumer and a contributor to the noise in our world and there is a lot of it. So when I go to find answers I again like the power of three. Our bias is with us whether we like it or not. Challenging that bias is something we can start to do in this very moment and continue to do it every day. We are humans in it, technologists, we should never struggle to do our jobs, if you want the answers go get them or challenge your company to help you and your teammates be more productive. It is in their best interest to do so. Tell the stories, talk to each other, listen, be brave and be vunerable. It is the only way we will change the hearts and minds on our planet for a better way.
If there was a SaaS product that I would immediately put into market that would help us all it would be this one. Healthy Workplaces as a Service and if you didn’t take a picture of the QR code I invite you to now. There are 8 blogs there that I’ve written on this subject that can help you open up conversations with your team and your company and I invite you to do so with that one inclusive behavior that you picked. I posted that slide out on Twitter if you need a reminder after.
You don’t want to lay on your deathbed knowing you could have changed the world.
Start with yourself and remember that people are the technology and the technology is really all about the people. We are Humans in IT and we can make our workplaces and corporate culture a healthy one. Thank you. Take a selfie with the room.
Here is my contact info, podcast, websites etc… Don’t forget to snap a selfie with the audience here.
SPS San Diego 2020 Keynote: Humans in Tech - Building Healthy Corporate Culture Leveraging Office 365
Humans in Tech -
Leveraging Office 365
Heather Newman, CMO &
Co-Founder, Content Panda
CMO AND CO-FOUNDER
HEAD MAVEN AND FOUNDER
OFFICE APPS AND SERVICES
Diversity and inclusion is
part of what it means to
have a healthy
workplace but not all.
“All of us have a stake in creating
diverse, inclusive workplaces—
because when we have more
people with more perspectives
around the table, our conversations
get smarter, and our ideas get
better.” – Melinda Gates
This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND
Make a habit of
Listen carefully to
speaking until they
Ensure all voices
Include and seek
input from people
with a wide variety
If you have a
strong reaction to
Take action to
“Empathy Makes Us Human.
Action Makes Us Warriors.”
you a better
Blond women’s salaries were 7% higher than brunettes or
For every 1% increase in a woman’s body mass, there was
a 0.6% decrease in family income.
“Mature-faced” people had a distinct career advantage
over “baby-faced” people.
Job applicants with “typically white” names received 50%
more callbacks than those with “typically black” names.
58% of Fortune 500 CEOs are almost six feet tall, whereas
only 14.5% of the overall male population are that size.
Widen your net
Obstruct your view
Craft concrete criteria
Be aware of it
Read and learn about it
Office 365 to
#2 – Promote
Sub optimized pursuit of strategic
goals and objectives
The inability to capitalize on and
leverage institutional knowledge
and internal expertise
Lost opportunities in terms of
creativity and innovation.Courtney Hunt, pHd, Founder & Principal, The Devonati Group
Top 5 soft skills are:
The top 5 hard skills most
people management, and
“Over 40 percent of those using software
at work every day do not have the skills
required to use digital technologies
– 2019 Report from the Organisation from Economic Co-Operation and
Adding 5 to 30 minutes of digital literacy to your
workforce can save your business thousands of
literacy-affects-the-modern-workforce/ https://tracyvanderschyff.com/ @tracyvds
Use the Resources from https://aka.ms/MicrosoftAdoption
Advisor for Microsoft Teams
• Chat, teams, channels, and apps
• Tenant assessment
• Planner plan, including
• Forms user survey
• Advisor for Teams bot
• Meetings and conferencing
• Tenant assessment
• Planner plan, including
• Forms user survey
• Advisor for Teams bot
• Recommended Start: Chat, teams,
channels, and apps plan. Then go
back Advisor for Teams and
click Add channel to start the next
#3 – Create
Building Healthy Corporate Culture With
Microsoft Teams and Yammer
The new Yammer
Open, inclusive, discoverable conversation
Enterprise-grade security, privacy, and compliance
On web. On mobile. Across Microsoft 365.
• Cover photo
• Pin Conversations
• Filter for unanswered questions
• New Events page
Create the space,
launch the ideas, and
build the community
Women @ <company>
Pride at <Company>
Parent Tribe, multicultural
celebration @ <company>, etc.
Persistent 1:1 & Group Chat
Powerful Online Meetings
Enterprise Calling & Voice
Built-in Office 365 Apps
in Microsoft Teams
• Teams based on Project
for Inclusive Spaces
• Channels for
these team for those not