The Small Things Matter: Reflections on Diversity

Amee Chande, Global Strategy Operations Officer, Alibaba Group

Amee starts off by telling us a story of her early years in consulting with McKinsey at Walmart in Arkansas. She was in middle management and, by happenstance, was invited to a very important dinner with the client and senior partners on her team. Before she went in, the senior partner told her “just try to blend in”. For the rest of the meal, Amee was preoccupied with trying to “blend in” even though she deserved to be at the table because she knew the most about the project.

“Blending in is hard and when that’s your focus, you’re bound to lose a lot of energy over it.”

Amee continues to tell us several stories during her career where she struggled to be authentic, take steps and speak up … and then when she found her voice and started breaking boundaries.

Shared lessons:
Small things really matter. Do not let your big goals stand in the way of taking small steps

What are the small things?

  1. Have multiple female role models
  2. Find supporters – do not be along when you pick your battles
  3. Have male supporters
  4. Networking and friendships – these do not need to be exclusive
  5. Be an expert

Final thought:
These small steps, collectively, get us to our big goals.