Camille Chang Gilmore (MBA ’96) visited campus on October 16 to speak to faculty and staff about diversity and inclusion initiatives she is spearheading as Global Chief Diversity Officer at Boston Scientific, one of the world’s largest medical device manufacturers. She talked about diversity in the workplace, how to include new employees from a variety of backgrounds, and how companies can begin to tackle diversity-related topics in their workplace.
Q: What does a Global Chief Diversity Officer do?
A: For Boston Scientific, diversity and inclusion are about four things. It’s about winning in the marketplace; leveraging all talent to yield the best performance; creating a high-performance culture for high-performance talent; and progress over time, not overnight. But it’s also doing what you say you’re going to do. We have a CEO – Mike Mahoney – who is committed to doing that. One of the things Mike has allowed me to do is to engage the organization at the highest level from his executive committee all the way down to those at the sites at locations around the world to recognize that they have the power to help us on this journey to ensure we have an inclusive environment.
Q: What kinds of goals have you set regarding diversity?
A: Our goal by 2020 is to be among the Top 10 most inclusive places to work worldwide. 20% people of color at the manager and above levels, and 40% of women at the manager and above levels. We call it our 10/20/40 by 2020 strategy.
Q. What advice do you have for a company just starting to focus seriously on diversity?
A. I call it the 3 E’s. You have to an environment, an engagement, and an experience. You have to provide an environment that allows people to learn. You have to engage people at all levels, and create an experience they will never forget. There’s an equation I recently adopted that I think is so powerful. It’s call E+R=O. The event plus your response equals the outcome. The event is always going to happen, but our response – whether it’s above-the-line behavior below-the-line behavior – will produce the outcome. What we need to do is take that event, understand that our response above-the-line will produce a better outcome. So what are the above-the-line responses that you can do to impact and change that person’s perspective to get you a better outcome?
Q. Did you always envision yourself working in HR/diversity?
A. When I started my career, I didn’t know what a CDO (Chief Diversity Officer) was. Every experience sets you up for the next. When I started at FedEx, I was in sales. I didn’t realize how relevant sales would be to my life. I still sell every day. I worked for Exxon, where I negotiated union contracts. I had to be courageous and have courage in the moment. At IBM, I learned to recruit. Then I went and worked in government, where I had to learn how to create something with no budget. Then I decided to work for a company called Guidant that was bought by Boston Scientific. At Boston Scientific, we advance science for life. All those experiences from sales to understanding what courageous leadership is all about to understanding how to recruit and pay people to then how to train people and work with no budget to then working for a company that allows me to take all of that and put it all into a CDO position has been awesome.
Q. How did your experience at Illinois prepare you for career success?
A. I got my MBA in 1996, and it was one of the best things we’ve ever done. My husband Deryk and I did it together. Of course he likes to remind me he has an extra masters in sports management from Illinois that he’s extremely proud of. I really recognize the connection that I still have to Illinois. Illinois is where my boys were born. Illinois is where I got my MBA and continued to grow and develop as a professional. Illinois is where I got my first home. It really taught be a lot about how to succeed.
Q. What advice do you have for current students?
A. Enjoy your time at Illinois. It’s precious time. Enjoy the moment. Yes, you have exams, papers and bills to pay. But it’s a moment in time that you can’t get back. Enjoy the opportunity to meet some of the brightest folks in the world, and be their friends because those relationships and those networks are going to help you beyond the university.