How More Diversity Can Help A Company’s Bottom Line

HR Strategy Series, Real Human Resources

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The Trade Desk Human Resources Hiring Strategies

Start your day with gratitude. Live and work with integrity and purpose. Make time for family and friends. End your day with reflection and acknowledgment of all you have accomplished.

As a part of my HR Strategy Series, I’m talking to top experts in the field to teach prospects what hiring managers are actually looking for, while also supporting business leaders in their hiring and retention strategies. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Vina Leite.

As Chief People Officer of The Trade Desk. Vina brings an impressive background in HR leadership at fast-growth technology companies and a passion for employee development and engagement.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit more. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

Professionally I have been able to enjoy the best of the East and West Coasts, and California is now home. I grew up in Rhode Island and began my career in New England, working in the Boston area for many years. I gained extensive experience in Human Resources for technology companies and made a pivotal move when I took a chance on a start-up venture in 2016. The ability to build and scale the HR function was both exhausting and exhilarating — one of the best experiences in my career. The organization had one of the most people-centric cultures I have ever experienced. I was committed to only work in a similar environment and this led me to my current role at The Trade Desk (TTD).

Personally, I spend a lot of wonderful time with four generations of close family. I have a son, a daughter, and two granddaughters whom I love watching as they shape their own life journeys. I am very blessed.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

It is one of those happy accident stories at the beginning of my career. I decided to interview for an operations manager job at a small staffing agency. I was very introverted, and I wanted a role that was behind the scenes. The CEO met with me and said “No, instead of the operations role, I’m going to put you in recruiting. Try it for six months, and if you don’t like it you can go into the other job.”

I ended up loving the recruiting role and I’ve been in HR ever since. There are times when it takes someone else to see the potential in each of us. Thanks to the CEO’s decision, I found that I did well in one-on-one conversations with external candidates and my internal customers. It was a matchmaking job that allowed me to take the time to fully understand people and their needs, identify their strengths, and connect them with the right opportunities. The best part was that I was able to hire the right person to become operations manager.

Can you share several ways that increased diversity can help a company’s bottom line?

Creating a culture of inclusion and belonging requires a long-term, intentional commitment, but the investment can result in happier, more engaged employees, which leads to substantial business benefits.

I often think about the article in Harvard Business Review from December 2019, citing research conducted by BetterUp which found that workers who feel like they belong have a 56% increase in job performance, a 50% drop in turnover risk, and a 75% reduction in sick days. One other important finding was that employees with higher workplace belonging were also 167% more likely to recommend their company to others. That number is vitally important for hyper-growth technology companies like The Trade Desk in today’s competitive hiring market.

The other way inclusion and belonging help an organization’s bottom line is through increased engagement. Colleagues at The Trade Desk have been so forthcoming with me about how the discussion of racism in the U.S. has affected them, often bringing past traumas to the forefront of their minds. I recently shared my own story with all of our employees around the world about the fear I experience for my son and my husband when they leave our house, knowing their potential for being treated differently as Black men in America today.

While The Trade Desk cannot fix systemic racism in society, it can go a long way toward making sure we have no part of it at work, and that we have an environment that encourages open discussion. It’s a huge responsibility, and I am fortunate to work with leaders who completely support the actions and development we need to do.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

As a first-generation American and a woman, I am grateful for my success and believe we should ‘Lift as We Climb.’ I have invested my time with organizations that help women and children, as well as new immigrants to the U.S. I have worked with places serving parents who have lost custody of their kids, to help them gain the level of parenting skills to get their children back. I served on the Board of the International Sanctuary in Orange County, which provides safe, loving workplace communities for girls and women who are survivors of human trafficking. And I am still active with the Cape Verdean Association, helping those from the islands which are home to many of my extended family.

Now that I am living in a new part of California, I am in the process of finding ways that I can help others in my community.

What is your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?

Start your day with gratitude. Live and work with integrity and purpose. Make time for family and friends. End your day with reflection and acknowledgment of all you have accomplished.

We are very blessed to have some of the biggest names in Business, VC, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have a private lunch with, and why?

I know she has a long list of admirers, but I would have to say Oprah. Her story of hard work and self-made success has always been a bright light for me, along with her openness and curiosity about the world. She approaches people from a position of seeking to understand, no matter what the topic is. I have learned so much from her and could learn so much more. I think we are within driving distance of each other should an invitation arrive!

Thank you so much for these fantastic insights!

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