Hello, and welcome to another episode of Conversations with Doc Martin, where we talk to extraordinary people doing extraordinary things. With me today is Scott Ballina, the Senior Director of Diversity, Belonging, and Giving at Citrix. Prior to joining Citrix, he spent two years at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation leading the creation of a diversity and inclusion strategy. He also started his career as a US Navy Supply Corps officer, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
We start by discussing Scott’s career path, moving from Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy all the way to the head of diversity, belonging, and giving, leading inclusion strategy in a number of different companies. Scott talks about how he got started in diversity work and what drove him to make it a focus in his career. He discusses his work trying to become a full partner at Deloitte and how that really drove him to his calling of working for diversity and inclusion, completely different from the career path for which he originally set out.
Scott moves on to discuss the human element of his journey. He discusses how he had to decide what was really important to him, and what was the passion that made him get out of bed each and every morning. Scott and I discuss his reflection in terms of doing something he truly cared about and how he wanted to spend every day of his work life which he knew would make up a very large component of his life.
Later in the interview, Scott and I discuss his interactions with people within the LGBTQ+ community and how that has changed from his role now with Citrix, his time with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and his time in Deloitte. Scott talks about how companies are being encouraged to live their true values, the importance of Prop 8, and how individuals are more comfortable being less shy with regard to social issues such as LGBTQ+, gender, and racial equality. In addition, Scott discusses the need to show grace to people who may not always know the right thing to say with regard to diversity and inclusion, regardless of the setting.
We move on to discuss Scott’s initiatives to build a diversity and inclusion plan at the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. We discuss some of the long term systemic issues that society has let linger that need fixing, regardless of what it takes. Scott stresses the need for each person to do their own individual work, no matter what work is being done within a particular organization to promote diversity and inclusion. We discuss the importance of all joining each other “at the table,” having open conversations, and finding the deeper reasons behind beliefs. Perhaps, sometimes, we need to be aware of our own internal biases that may exists of others around us in order to expect an inclusive relationship with others.
Make sure to check out Scott on Linkedin and on Twitter at @ScottBallina.
Remember, life speaks to you, and if you think it doesn’t, you aren’t listening.