7 Questions with Denise Reed Lamoreaux
Name: denise reed lamoreaux
Current title: global chief diversity officer
Current organisation: Atos SE
Based in Rochester, New York, Denise has been involved in diversity and learning-related endeavors for 30 + years. Her career has encompassed Secondary Education, Professional Leadership Coaching, Leadership, and Instructing at both the University of Rochester’s Simon Business School and Monroe Community College’s Corporate College program. She has served as Global Chief Diversity Officer at Atos for 4 years.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
Understanding the impact of D&I programming in each of the 73 countries where we have employees so that the materials provide insights and not insults. Scheduling D&I events so that all employees can join in "real time" and not have to listen to a recording or join at an inconvenient time.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
My background in learning and development, marketing and communications, and leadership ideally positioned me to take a role in the D&I space. When our CFO asked if I'd like to create the position, I literally jumped right in and had a program up and running within 3 days, winning its first external award within 6 months.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
My days are always different; with employees in 73 countries I am always flexing to deliver programs to them in real time. I walk around my neighborhood as much as I can in between meetings and webinars to clear my head and think through the day's next steps. Evenings are for family and friends, and I wind down by reading or crocheting, with a final walk of the day thrown in for good measure.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
"Everyone is going through something." I've just created a short learning vignette for our leaders, cluing them in on some of the stressors that are impacting their employees from every demographic group. We need to provide that safe space for them to share their real world dilemmas and provide appropriate resources and guidance. Our people care that hats must stay on 24x7 during this global crisis.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
We host book clubs throughout the year here at Atos. I am even launching a program in 2021 called Leaders Who Are readers, focusing on the topic of inclusivity. I would say that the book, The Way, Finding Peace In Turbulent Times by Katey Lockwood and Vernon Sankey has been important this year. Vernon is on our Atos Board of Directors, and I am leading a small team that's helping him and Katey create a program that supports the book's key messages and includes guided meditations and self-reflection. An exciting project!
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
Active listening is key here; if you don't truly listen, you hear only what you want to hear, and nothing changes. When you listen, you create an inclusive atmosphere wherein trust grows accordingly, and motivation and well-being increase exponentially. When a person knows they're appreciated and valued, they grow and thrive. A culture of inclusivity is foundational to a corporations' success.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
I am terrifically proud of our programs to advance women into more senior roles through mentoring, targeted learning programs, one on one coaching, and collaborative think tanks. We have made enormous strides in 2020, and have won numerous external awards for this work.