From Inspiring Conversations to Actionable Inclusion: Extreme Networks' Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


Throughout March, Extreme Networks effectively showcased tangible actions against the global theme of Women's History Month, masterfully planned and executed by the WIN Alliance— an Employee Resource Group (ERG) that I have the pleasure and pride of leading. In the wake of one of our most spirited Women's History Month celebrations to date, I am inspired by the meaningful conversations, high level of engagement, and unwavering demonstration of commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

If anything, this month is just a reminder that we at Extreme Networks are not powering down. It is now recognized without debate that diversity and providing an inclusive environment leads to better results and outcomes. Diversity of perspectives ensures that the best solution to challenges can be determined and delivered. Our Chief Product & Technology Officer and EVP/GM of Subscriptions, Nabil Bukhari eloquently stated that by unlocking contributions from a broader population, the resulting power can be exponential

Nabil is not alone in his views. I am proud to be part of an organization whose top leaders are vocal and practical champions of gender equality. Leading from the front, our dynamic C-suite, exemplified the fact that DEI is not a monthly or annually checked box, but a year-round endeavor. From the lens of their expertise and their personal perspectives, each leader demonstrated how they inspire inclusion through allyship from the top – a must-have for any organization!

SVP of Talent and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Kimberley Basnight said, “women are not seeking preferential treatment but rather, equal opportunity and a truly level playing field.”  We reiterated how we all have a part to play in creating and fostering an inclusive environment through allyship and the actions both large and small that all of us can take, from serving as a mentor or sponsor to intervening in a meeting when someone is interrupted or their idea is not acknowledged.

Chief Marketing Officer, Monica Kumar talked about visibility and representation, and how each of us must sometimes be fierce and bold – ask for that seat at the table and speak up once we are there. The C-suite's passion towards shattering the glass ceiling and combatting gender bias continued with commitments from Nabil and Monica pledging increased representation of women on stage at events and speaking engagements. A high five sealed the deal!

Conversations on work-life balance tend to creep into conversations regarding professional women, because it is an unfortunate reality that in many societies, the burden at home falls disproportionately to women. Our keynote speaker, Chris Baron, shared some interesting insights into how we these can be framed as work-life choices that both men and women have to make—giving us the power to make decisions that are right for us and our circumstances whatever they may be.

Of course, our people need to have the capacity to make those decisions. Katy Motiey, our Chief Legal, Administrative & Sustainability Officer emphasized the importance of being flexible and empathetic. At Extreme, we follow a Flex First philosophy, which recognizes the realities of everyday life and offers the freedom and flexibility to ensure that our people always have a choice. And yes! We believe it creates a healthy and engaged workforce that is productive as ever, if not more!

The global scale of Women's History Month at Extreme Networks manifested in more than just dialogues. With over 500 employees participating in various International Women's Day and Women's History Month events, men and women from our offices worldwide showed their solidarity for gender equality by celebrating women's accomplishments and contributions. Mental and physical health has always been a priority for us. I am grateful to our partners at FitPros for hosting a health-boosting boot camp so that we are all physically and mentally fit to undertake the challenges of a changing DEI landscape. On the continuous learning front, we clocked over 500 hours of curated learning and development courses covering topics such as executive presence, courageous leadership, work-life balance, and combating bias in the workplace. 

Collectively, employees around the world donated $1,000 to the International Committee of the Red Cross to support humanitarian response to conflict-affected regions in addition to clothing and toiletries to local women’s shelters. Every little bit counts!

DEI is a marathon, not a sprint. We are prepared, committed, and energized for the journey ahead. We're proud of our consistent progress and grateful for our WIN Alliance team's passion, bringing content and programming to the Extreme Networks community of women and allies.

We recognize that society needs more progress. From recruitment to retention, we aim to drive diversity and create an inclusive environment where everyone's voice is heard.

With renewed energy, we're committed to continuing meaningful conversations, upholding DEI, and surpassing our milestones. DEI is at our core, reflecting our DNA, and we're excited to carry this passion forward, always moving closer to our vision of an inclusive, equitable workplace for everyone.

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About the Author
Cristina Tate
SVP Finance and Chair of the Women in Networking (WIN) Alliance

Cristina Tate is a Senior Vice President of Finance and a leader in the Women in Networking (WIN) Alliance, an employee resource group that brings women and allies together to network, learn, and support each other.

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