More than ever, the brand reputation of companies suffers when their leadership does not receive effective leadership development and inclusion training. A recent example of the implications of unsustainable training occurred this week, when an engineer at Google expressed his personal opinion on gender diversity within the company. The CEO of The Visionary Leader Network Traciana Graves was shared her insights on `BoldTV about how business leaders can meet the needs of today’s multicultural marketplace and workforce. 

“Companies should commit to doing the deep work necessary to empower people to be more inclusive.”

                                                                                   – Traciana Graves, The Visionary Leader Network, CEO 


The Story

On August 5th 2017, a software engineer at Google reportedly asserted in a private memo his belief that women are not as biologically suited for leadership roles as men. In this memo, that was later leaked to the public, he suggested that Google does not have more female engineers because men have “a higher drive for status” and are therefore less effective programmers. He concluded that Google should stop its campaigns to increase gender- and racial diversity and to focus on “ideological diversity” instead.

The Aftermath

In wake of every major media outlet covering this story, the executives from Google distanced themselves from this statement. Google’s CEO: Sundar Pichai, sent a note to the employees stating: “to suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK.” Similarly,  Danielle Brown, the head of Diversity and Integrity at Google who affirmed the company’s commitment to diversity. 

 “We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company.”    

                                            – Danielle Brown, Google – Vice President of Diversity & Integrity 

The Significance

At The Visionary Leader Network we believe there is a deeper narrative behind that story with lessons that need to be told. This comment ties with other trends. For example the crisis of diversity in the technology industry, or the issue of sexual harassment in finance coupled with challenges with workforce diversity in modern companies, underscored by the lack of foundational education that does not enable individuals from diverse background to rise to leadership roles. 

3 Lessons Corporate Leaders Can Learn

1. Every company needs to evaluate the training they are doing for their leadership, no matter how enlightened they believed they are.

2. Risk assessments are essential for every company that wants to benefit from effective diversity- and inclusion training.

3. Other diverse groups from various lifestyles and backgrounds continue to face many spoken and unspoken biases from leaders that limit their potential to success.

Where Do We Go From Here 

At the end of the interview on BoldTV, Traciana Graves finished her insights by saying that it is essential that companies and individuals commit to doing the deep work necessary to empower people to become more inclusive- and authentic leaders.


  1. Interesting lessons. I like this part a lot: ‘Companies and individuals commit to doing the deep work necessary to empower people to become more inclusive- and authentic leaders’.


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