“We have to proactively support the empowerment of women and put in place those quantifiable measurements that hold us accountable. It is also about being aware of the influence we have as men, driving empowerment and measuring the impact.”
Neil Masterson, Chief Transformation Officer for Thomson Reuters talks to us about why he is passionate about gender equality at the C-suite level. The crucial role men need to play in this journey as influencers of change and proactive supporters, his personal commitments to women in technology and provides three key pieces of advice for future leaders. [4 minute read]
Thomson Reuters Sustainability: Could you tell us a bit about the journey to your role as Thomson Reuters Chief Transformation Officer?
Neil Masterson: I joined Reuters in 2000, based in New York and tried my hand at business development. After a couple of years I moved to Thomson Financial, where I spent three years before joining Thomson Corporate working in the Treasury group. Following the acquisition of Reuters, I took on a series of general management roles in what is now Financial & Risk. I ran Banking, Investment Management, and then Investors before Jim Smith [President and Chief Executive Officer, Thomson Reuters] asked me to take on the transformation role. I feel very privileged to get to work with such a great team and run Transformation for Thomson Reuters.
TRS: Why is gender equality at the senior level (c-suite) crucial to business success and sustainable development?
NM: In a global business, the breadth and diversity of perspective is essential to success. If we think about societal progress, diversity is integral. As a company we’ve made good progress although as a leader, I believe we can always do more. For change to happen it has to start with the commitment.
Across Thomson Reuters Enterprise Technology & Operations (ET&O) we’re sponsoring more female talent into senior technology positions, in particular, and at a grass roots level encouraging the next generation of young women into technology roles. While we compare well to other tech organizations in some areas, in others we could be better.
The critical element to all of this is that what we do is ultimately quantifiable; we have to be metric and outcome driven and clearly demonstrate the impact we are making.
TRS: How can men in particular lead on the empowerment of women?
We have to proactively support the empowerment of women and put in place those quantifiable measurements that hold us accountable. It is also about being aware of the influence we men have, driving empowerment and measuring the impact.
TRS: What are some of the key initiatives you are championing at Thomson Reuters?
NM: I strongly believe we need to focus on the next generation and encourage young women to pursue careers in technology and other fields that have traditionally been geared towards men. Thomson Reuters has a strong commitment to doing all we can in this space and we’ve put in place several programs to encourage women into technology leadership roles.
We launched a ground breaking gender partnership with the Anita Borg Institute to get more men involved in creating a better workplace for women and I personally committed to being the executive sponsor for the Women in Technology Career Sponsorship Program.
I strongly believe we also need to do more to encourage, guide and influence women to step into STEM-skilled positions as a career. This needs to begin at the grass-roots level which is why I also personally committed to hosting at least one female Coder Dojo in each of our 10 major locations throughout 2017 to turn this conversation into positive action.
TRS: What advice would you give young people looking at the problems faced by our world?
I would give three pieces of advice.
Never underestimate how much people have in common. Wherever you are in the world, the fundamental values people have – families, children, communities – are essentially the same, although they may be expressed in different ways.
Never underestimate the ingenuity and optimism people have. And finally, never be afraid to challenge; don’t be afraid to stand up for what you think is right and decent.