This article is part of Lam's International Women's Day story collection which amplifies the voices of employees embracing equity across the company.
- Women in Leadership at Lam has over 200 members
- Lam India has increased its diversity hiring percentages
In recognition of International Women’s Day, Tina Correia, chief accounting officer, head of Corporate Finance and Investor Relations, and executive sponsor of Women in Leadership at Lam (WILL), and Rangesh Raghavan, general manager of Lam India, got together for a conversation about equity, Lam’s inclusion and diversity evolution, and the impact of employee resource groups. Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
Rangesh Raghavan: This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is “embracing equity.” What does that mean for a company like Lam?
Tina Correia: It’s about embracing the unique experiences of our employees. Research has shown that diversity yields better business results, so the more we can take action and embrace the perspectives of our employees, the more successful we’ll be as a company. What do you think, Rangesh?
RR: As leaders, it’s not enough to bring diverse voices into the organization, we need to foster a culture that allows each person to thrive. For example, we have several initiatives at Lam India to strengthen our diverse talent pipeline. But when we start looking at the number of women at the senior level, there’s a drop. As leaders, we need to ask, “What can we do to allow you to achieve your full potential?”
TC: I agree. It’s also about getting diverse voices to the table and it's incumbent on the leaders to make that happen. We need to be all in.
RR: I’ve had conversations with women who have limited their career growth because of assumptions – they didn’t think they had the time or commitment to take on a larger role. To me, those are flawed assumptions. Our job as leaders is to eliminate those assumptions and be willing to provide support that empowers our employees. How we differentiate ourselves from our competitors is how we operate as a culture and how we leverage our employee base. That’s hard to copy. It makes business sense to embrace inclusion and diversity (I&D).
TC: It sounds like we’ve made progress in I&D in your region but what is needed to continue the momentum that you’re seeing?
RR: I am happy with the progress we’ve made at Lam India – we’ve dramatically increased our diversity hiring percentages as a first step. The second step is to keep that representation going across all job grades. We need to start having honest career development conversations – understanding each individual’s development needs to make the right investments for everyone to reach their full potential. That’s where our opportunity is.
TC: Beginning in 2022, there was a requirement to have a development goal focused on I&D. And that’s a good starting point, but we can’t check off the box and move on. Leaders need to continuously check on their progress. I&D is a Core Value and we need to have continual objectives focused on this. It is critical to embrace inclusion to make sure it’s showing up every day.
RR: It’s been several years since you’ve taken on the executive sponsor role with WILL. What inspires you to stay on as an executive sponsor and what evolutions have you seen over the years?
TC: I came up with the idea of WILL over the 2016 winter shutdown because I wanted women in corporate functions to have a community. I had been invited to several events for women in tech, despite working in a corporate function, and while I found them beneficial, I thought it would be valuable to create a network for women in corporate functions who could share experiences and learn from each other. I continue to make WILL a priority because not only do I have the opportunity to share my career experiences, but I also always learn from WILL’s members – and that’s important to me because learning is an ongoing process and I continue to develop as I learn. I want to make sure I’m doing what I can to support Lam’s focus on I&D.
Over the years, I’ve seen an increased interest in learning and embracing unique attributes of people within the company. Members are asking questions to learn from each other, regardless of job function. I’m seeing women in product groups connect with those in finance and HR. The other evolution I’ve seen, which you could probably appreciate, is that we’ve started to think more globally. We’re making more time for members around the world, because as a multinational company it’s important to include everyone.
RR: You’ve been with Lam now for 20 years so there’s obviously been an evolution of the company’s commitment to I&D. I believe Lam has always had an inclusive culture but I’m curious to hear your perspective on Lam’s progress.
TC: Lam has always been committed to diversity – I have felt that from day one. It’s one of the reasons I’ve stayed for 20 years. Recently, I’ve seen a greater focus on inclusion – there’s more recognition of the individual perspectives everyone brings. The other change I’ve seen over the years is established support infrastructure. When I was getting WILL off the ground, there were no resources nor funding. It’s great that the company has made a strong commitment to support our employee resource groups.
RR: Our women’s ERGs are great opportunities for our women to connect. But, given that the majority of our leadership is male, there needs to be a way to educate us on the barriers and challenges you’re discussing among yourselves so we can be better advocates. I’ve inserted myself into these conversations because I had the authority to do so, but I’d like that to be more organic. What is your perspective on how men can learn from our women’s ERGs?
TC: As leaders, it’s not just about embracing one group with a shared identity but embracing all. I’ve always made sure that we’re inviting all – it’s not an exclusive membership. On a related note, what do you think is your role as a male ally?
RR: My team makes decisions that affect our entire site – so I want to ensure those decisions are representative of our diverse population. I try very hard to give everyone on my team a voice in every decision.
TC: You’ve been with Lam for nearly ten years. Have you seen any changes?
RR: While there has been public pressure on all companies to be diverse today, Lam has considered diverse board representation for a long time. I was impressed with Cathy Lego, a former board member, who has an entrepreneurial mindset – she was interested in the company’s agility, pace, and nimbleness. If you look at our board composition today, it’s not just filled with techies – it has diverse perspectives.
My experience is women in leadership roles have been able to overcome the pressures of their career and personal life – they’ve demonstrated resilience, focus, and hyper-productivity. It’s a skill set that is very valuable to me. We need to be more aware of those strengths.
TC: One additional area that we haven’t talked about that I do think is important is mentorship – whether it’s formal or not. There’s joint learning that’s going on. One of my mentees reached out to me because she was curious about how she could get opportunities to evolve her career, just as I had in mine. And I have learned a lot from her as well.
RR: The spirit of embracing equity is tailoring an approach to the person to allow them to achieve their maximum potential. For a particular person, mentorship might be beneficial, to another it might be third-party coaching. We need to take a tailored approach for each person’s development.
TC: Which brings us back to our theme, right? I hope our conversation will resonate with our employees. Happy International Women’s Day!
Explore more stories in the International Women's Day collection:
- Soumya Ramachandra Powers Product Software Test Automation
- Gosia Jurczak Explores Technological Horizons
- I Am Lam: Houda Hadiji (Video)
Tina Correia is chief accounting officer, head of Corporate Finance and Investor Relations, and executive sponsor of Women in Leadership at Lam (WILL). Rangesh Raghavan is general manager of Lam India.