Is Diversity The Key To Creativity?
Making use of diversity within a team to generate new ideas and solve problems is called creative friction, and two companies in very different industries are turning that to their advantage. T-Mobile, the global telecommunications giant, and Fortis Lux Financial, a boutique financial services firm based in New York, embrace diversity as a moral good and social imperative but are also very aware of the competitive advantage that accompanies it.
I spoke with Holli Martinez, Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion, and Joy Stanfield, Team of Experts Manager, from T-Mobile, and Sunita Bajaj, Managing Director, and Felix Malitsky, President and Founding Partner, from Fortis Lux Financial, about how they drive innovation with diverse teams.
Benjamin Wolff: Tell me about your background and how it shapes your identity at work.
Joy Stanfield: I'm 67% Native American and a lesbian. T-Mobile was the first job I had where I could truly be myself. At other jobs, no one knew I was gay, I couldn't wear my hair the way I wanted to, or show my tattoos. I had to hide the things that make me who I am.
Holli Martinez: What's been helpful for me at T-Mobile is that I have an MPA [Master of Public Administration] degree rather than a more typical MBA. That unusual education has given me a different lens and an ability to think outside the box and look at problems in another way.