Sujoy Das: A Trailblazer in Embracing Diversity
In today's world, diversity and inclusion efforts in the workplace are often confined to specific times of the year. Sujoy Das, a senior financial analyst at NetApp, breaks this trend by embodying the transformative power of embracing one's identity year-round.
Sujoy's journey is unique—he is a queer man with a disability, having contracted polio at a young age. Despite facing challenges expressing his identity in previous workplaces, Sujoy found a haven at NetApp, where he felt immediate safety and acceptance. NetApp's commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEI&B) is evident through initiatives like employee resource groups, including NetAbled for people with disabilities and Proud for the LGBTQ+ community.
Labels like 'disabled' don't define Sujoy; it's how they're used that matters. He leverages his experiences to foster inclusivity at NetApp, where he plays a vital role in developing Employee Resource Groups. Sujoy's belief in the importance of visibility has driven him to consistently "show up" in various forums, emphasizing that having a voice comes with the responsibility to advocate for others.
NetApp's initiatives extend beyond policies, with a dedicated team working on digital accessibility. Sujoy emphasizes three key considerations for fostering inclusivity: addressing personal biases, combating workplace assumptions, and championing platforms for underrepresented communities to speak for themselves.
While larger organizations like NetApp are making strides, Sujoy acknowledges that biases persist at the individual and team levels. In smaller businesses, biases in salary and hiring practices still exist, particularly for those with diverse backgrounds.
Sujoy calls for a year-round focus on diversity initiatives in the tech industry, emphasizing the need for early education and awareness to create an inclusive future. Allies, according to Sujoy, play a crucial role in correcting attitudes and fostering understanding. Open communication, he concludes, is essential in addressing these issues without being rude or harmful.
Sujoy Das stands as a trailblazer, showcasing that embracing diversity is not a one-time event but a continuous journey toward a more inclusive workplace and society.