Building trust and driving equity through transparency

May 09, 2023

As fractured geopolitics, social tensions and global events unfold, we are presented with opportunities to strengthen trust among our stakeholders. It is more important than ever to build growth strategies that emphasize diversity, equity and inclusion, and motivate people to support the needs of our communities.

In this episode, Shannon Schuyler, PwC’s Chief Purpose and Inclusion Officer, is joined by Carin Taylor, Chief Diversity Officer of Workday, to discuss how building trust through transparency and leveraging the right data can drive an equitable future for businesses, their people and communities at large. 

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About the podcast participants

Shannon Schuyler, Chief Purpose and Inclusion Officer, PwC

Shannon is PwC’s US Chief Purpose & Inclusion Officer - working to activate PwC’s purpose to build trust in society and solve important problems and to create a fulfilling employee experience. 

Responsible for furthering diversity, inclusion and equity across the firm’s workforce, she connects purpose with belonging to create an environment in the firm that celebrates identity and intersectionality as a way to drive innovation and business value.

Shannon worked alongside US Chair and Senior Partner Tim Ryan to lead CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™, the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion. In this role, she drove the strategy for engaging more than 2,400 company CEOs, academic institutions and associations.

Carin Taylor, Chief Diversity Officer, Workday

Carin Taylor is chief diversity officer at Workday and has global responsibility for the development and execution of Workday’s inclusion and diversity strategy. Additionally, Carin serves on the board of Watermark, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase the number of women in leadership positions.

Prior to joining Workday, Carin served as the head of diversity, inclusion, and innovation at Genentech where she was responsible for strategic initiatives including executive coaching, building and leading highly effective teams, and increasing employee engagement. She was also responsible for creating strategies to successfully recruit, develop, and retain diverse workforces as well as enabling large organizations to leverage diversity and inclusion to drive innovation. Before Genentech, Carin held various positions in human resources, inclusion and diversity, finance, and customer service at Cisco Systems.

Episode transcript

Find episode transcript below.


00:00:01:00 Welcome to PwC Pulse, a podcast to provide insights to help you solve today's business challenges.


00:00:09:19 Hello, I'm Shannon Schuyler, Chief Purpose and Inclusion Officer at PwC and I'm delighted to be your host. We're welcoming somebody I greatly admire Carin Taylor, who is the Chief Diversity Officer at Workday.

00:00:22:19 Today we're going to dive into how businesses can build trust through transparency and how using the right data can help drive progress towards a more equitable future for our people and for our communities.

00:00:32:18 As we face major shifts like fractured geopolitics and escalating social tensions, businesses have a unique opportunity to invest in building trust. It is invaluable to society. Trust and equity are incredibly important for business as well, and they are fundamental for sustainable growth. At PwC, trust in society and solving important problems is our purpose and truly the North Star. It is the why behind what we do day by day.

00:00:59:20 So I'm excited for this opportunity to learn from Carin's vast experience and hear how she has galvanized her workforce to drive strategies that break down barriers and help support Workday’s people, their customers and the community in doing it with data at the center. So, Carin, welcome to the podcast.


00:01:19:06 Thank you so much, Shannon, And I'm so excited to be here today.


00:01:22:14 Well, I'm so excited for this conversation. We talk a lot, but this is great to be able to share everything that you know and really have a meaningful dialog. But before we get into that, I do want to just learn a little bit more from you personally. And so there's a couple of rapid fire questions that I would like to throw your way if you’re game.


00:01:40:03 Sounds good.


00:01:41:03 Okay. So what is your favorite city in the world to visit?


00:01:45:22 Sydney, Australia, for sure. I have a daughter named Sydney and I have another daughter that was actually born in Sydney, so that's definitely my favorite city.


00:01:53:09 Oh, my goodness. Was that planned? Like that seems like two things coming together in such a crazy way.


00:01:58:17 It definitely was not planned, but I had an opportunity to live in Australia for five years where both of those events actually happened so.


00:02:05:14 Oh my gosh. That is amazing. So of all the books that you read, what do you recommend for the folks that are listening and that will really get to interesting topics and something that really shows who you are?


00:02:18:06 This is an interesting question. So my advice for this one is actually a book called Courageous Discomfort by Wiseman and McBride, and it's a phenomenal read, and it's about having conversations around race and uncomfortable conversations, but it's from the perspective of a black Christian woman and a white Jewish woman.

00:02:39:06 And so just understanding and hearing their different perspectives on all the topics they're talking about is a phenomenal read. So I definitely recommend that one.


00:02:46:10 That's great and I have not read that. So I will now put that on my reading list. And then last, who's your inspiration?


00:02:53:08 I'm actually going to say it's a group of people and it would be the strong women in my life.

00:03:00:08 So whether or not they are here with us now or if they've passed, I think about people like my mother and my grandmother and my great grandmothers and my aunts and my nieces and my cousins and my daughters. All of the really strong women in my life are the ones who bring me the most inspiration.

00:03:17:00 The men do as well, but the women definitely have a special place in my heart because I've had some phenomenal women, including my friends, that have helped to kind of guide me around my journey.


00:03:27:08 I think that's amazing. You and I share something in common. I think it's the women in our lives who have led very different paths, but who've all brought something to make us stronger and they sit on my shoulder every day and push me forward, especially when I'm having challenging times.

00:03:42:08 So with that, I wanted to jump in. You are truly a long time leader and trailblazer within the DE&I community in doing that. I think that you've really been able to see the value and the challenges that we've had as well as the barriers. So what have you seen to really continue to drive what you're doing?


00:04:02:19 When I think about this particular body of work, I would say that there are probably three main reasons that I would say I continue to go back to this work and I think about, first of all, the underserved people in this world.

00:04:17:19 So those who are struggling financially, those who can't find ways to have their voices heard, those who are sitting in all of our communities dealing with things like mental health and housing and nutrition barriers, those people, we need to continue to make sure that we're taking care of from an overall perspective.

00:04:35:00 The second, I would say, are the kids of this world. This can be the best we have to offer for our kids that are coming after us. And so we need to continue doing things like investing in our educational institutions, including how we support and pay our teachers, right?

00:04:53:00 We also need to make sure that we're making further investments to ensure that for those who want to go into math and science, that they actually have that opportunity.

00:05:00:04 We know that the math and the sciences are going to continue to drive innovation in our world. And so we have to continue making sure that our kids have the opportunities to go into some of these types of careers.

00:05:11:00 And then lastly, I would say those of us who are working in corporations or institutions in general and folks who are facing unnecessary barriers to opportunity and advancement, so whether or not it's mentorship or sponsorship or just finding new opportunities within our corporations, no one wants to stay stuck, right?

00:05:31:22 We all want to make sure that we can progress in life. And so how do we continue focusing on removing the barriers so that everyone has a chance to succeed.


00:05:40:11 And Carin, that's such a phenomenal place to start, because I think in so many corporations, one of the things that never happens is the individual who runs social, who runs the foundation, never shall meet the person who runs DE&I, let alone just never meet the people who do policy and or the person who does environmental sustainability. 

00:05:59:09 And when you look at that, it comes together. So you invest in communities to be able to lift up different populations, to become and to have the ability to be more resilient. And that at turn ends up being your future talent pool that comes into your organization. When you do that, how do you think that that really builds trust?


00:06:15:06 Yeah, I mean, I think you're absolutely right. And I think this notion of trust, which I really want to stick on for a second, we need to make sure that we can build more trust, certainly in the workplace.

00:06:26:06 But as we're thinking about all of the interactions that we're having, we've gotten to a point to where we've almost stopped and broken down the lines of communication between us, and that has broken down levels of trust as well.

00:06:40:03 And so the more we can open up the conversations and continue talking about the hard things, that's what we're going to continue to lean in and break down some of the issues that we have and how do we become more open so that we can actually receive those people into the conversation.

00:06:57:06 And so the more that we can think about how do we break down those lines of trust and those lines of communication, the further we're going to be able to move together through this really difficult space of DEI.


00:07:09:01 I totally agree. And how do you look at that? And so one of the things I think you do have to be more courageous, especially our leaders. Our leaders have to be more vulnerable than they ever have before, saying, “I don't know” which we know our C-suite and individuals don't like to say.

00:07:23:01 How has data played a role in being able to get people either more on board or more galvanized towards saying there is something that we need to solve for?

00:07:35:00 It's not just something that someone has said, but it's actually tangible, just like our financials are tangible, something that people didn't want to talk about because they were so afraid to talk about their data because they thought the ramifications would be so huge that they wanted to hide it.

00:07:50:00 Where now we've changed to people actually are realizing the positives to sharing it. What have you seen with that?


00:07:54:23 I love this question because as I look at what's happened over the last several years, right? So I've been at Workday for about five years and I say think about the work in the transitions that we've made to being more transparent around the data that we're actually sharing. We started with our leaders so that they could clearly understand where we were doing well, but also where we had more opportunity.

00:08:16:06 And then, Shannon, one of the phenomenal things is after George Floyd, like many companies, we doubled down on our efforts around representation. The more we shared the data throughout the company, the more that our hiring managers, the more that our leaders, the more that our peers said, this isn't good enough for us. We can do better. And that's where we started sharing even more data.

00:08:38:05 But let me touch on another thing that we have found was really critical over the last several years, and that is looking at data from points of intersectionality. We realized that we couldn't continue to just have these broad swaths of data to look at large categories of our employees. We had to start looking at things like race and gender compared together or race, gender and location.

00:09:02:02 And then the last thing that I can say around data is the importance of getting data from your employees. We asked a lot of questions, but it really is what drives the feedback that we get and then the issues that we actually come back and address for our employees.

00:09:18:02 So if you take a look at the pandemic as an example, and where some of your caregivers were struggling or some of your folks who were more isolated because they didn't have family members, right? The more data we got from those folks during that time, the more we were able to solve for some of the challenges that they were having.


00:09:34:18 Well, that was one of the reasons why I so admired your work, because I think we have to really be able to hold the mirror and authentically say this is where we are. But having more people see the data means that more people can take action on a daily basis. Now, Carin, you've looked at all that data. Where have you found the KPIs?

00:09:52:12 Because one of the things that we all get asked is what are the right KPIs? And I happen to say KPIs. Yes, there's probably some that are general, but there's also some that really drive what you see happening in your industry and ours are certainly around who's coming in the door from a hiring.

00:10:08:12 When we look at promotion parity, how are people progressing in that equitable way and then who's staying? What are the core? When you look at those KPIs, where did you start?


00:10:17:07 Yeah, I think you always have to start where you are, right? Take a look at your organization and see what's the data that you have at hand, whether or not it's gender data or race data or data around people with disabilities.

00:10:30:07 But I would also say start combing and looking for other areas in which you can actually get more data, because the more data you have, the more you're going to be able to solve for some of the internal challenges that you may be having.

00:10:42:01 So whether or not it is your hiring managers and what you need to do from a representation standpoint, or it's your people, leaders and how they develop people within your organization, start sharing the data so people can actually do something with it.


00:10:55:07 And it's interesting. And I think one of the things as you talk about, especially intersectionality, it's hard about how do you get the data in order to do that.

00:11:02:07 So we all know that we're struggling with how do you make sure that people self-ID, that you're collecting the right information, that the systems that we have can actually collect the information that our people want to share?

00:11:12:07 A lot of times self-ID is around trust, right? Is people want to know what you're going to do with my data. So I will check a box, but you got to tell me why I'm checking this box because I'm not totally trusted about why you want all this information. How do you put those things together?


00:11:27:00 There have been two things that I have found that make significant progress in this space. The first thing is telling people exactly how you're going to use the data, because no one wants to give you data just because you want to know.

00:11:38:00 So the first thing is tell people why you were actually asking for the data. The second, and this is probably more important, is do something with the data, do something with the data, but then also tell people what you've done with it.

00:11:50:16 We actually have pretty incredible numbers around self-ID from a race perspective. It's in the high 90s. From a gender perspective, it's obviously 100 because you have to self-ID from a gender perspective for your benefits.

00:11:59:16 But other than that, the more you can build trust around why you're asking for the data and what you're going to do with the data, the more employees will share it.


00:12:12:08 That's incredibly helpful. And as you've worked your career with really showing the value of this, you've always been able to take the C-suite and take your leaders and have them on this journey with you. And to say this has to be something that you lean into as you're looking to give advice to others, both within DE&I and outside of it.

00:12:33:01 How do you galvanize leaders? It's not just a nice to have, but it's something that really ties together the sustainability of the business.


00:12:40:19 And it's a great question. Our diversity strategy here is called VIBE or Valuing Inclusion, Belonging and Equity for All. And here's the first thing that we talk about. VIBE is everybody's responsibility.

00:12:54:19 It's not just my responsibility as a Chief Diversity Officer, it's not just the Neil's responsibility or Carl's as our co-CEOs. It is every single person within our company’s responsibility to drive the culture that we want to drive completely, but especially around our DEI work.

00:13:09:08 And so if you are a marketing professional, you have to look through a DEI lens, through the work that you are doing, just like your HR professional, just like your engineering professionals have to do as well. And so we really push for VIBE being everyone's responsibility. The other thing that we do is we make it so that more people can participate in our DEI efforts.

00:13:32:02 So we have ERGs or employee belonging councils, all over the world where those folks participate as well.

00:13:39:02 And so we give people all types of opportunity, but we really talk about this in the context of it is everyone's responsibility, whether or not you're a leader here or an individual contributor, we all have to lean in.


00:13:49:23 One of the things that we've talked about in the past is this whole notion of culture of belonging and people like to talk about the difference between diversity and inclusion. How does that play out in Workday and how do you see that as really being something that's key as we progress diversity, equity and inclusion?


00:14:05:14 I think that the impetus of what we are trying to get to in our DEI work is really around belonging. And I went on this journey last year to really kind of discover what belonging went in. And ironically, I started out thinking that I could actually solve for belonging for the entire world. Well, I would tell you.


00:14:25:19 Well done here. And I like the overachiever in you.


00:14:29:14 Exactly. Well, I will tell you that I very quickly found that that was my biggest mistake I couldn't solve for belonging for the entire world. So what I did was went through a journey of trying to figure out what it meant for myself. And I did it through this lens of something called Peace. And I'll tell you about that.

00:14:45:22 So as I was going through this journey, trying to figure out what makes me feel like I belong, it was these five things. The first one is psychological safety, because without psychological safety, you have psychological trauma. And so you want to make sure that you're building a culture of trust and safety and curiosity as you're going through the workplace.

00:15:06:06 The second one was empathy. If we haven't discover anything over the last few years, that whole notion of caring, compassion for one another is something that needs to stand true. And we all need that as a part of our toolkit when we are leading other people. The next thing was acceptance and acceptance of my authentic self. I talk a lot about you can't bring your whole self to work, right?

00:15:28:03 Because there are pieces of me that really shouldn't be exposed to other people. But my best authentic self, I want to be accepted for who I am as a person. The next thing is around connection and connection to both people and purpose. But another part of connection for me was about feeling wanted and feeling a part of something.

00:15:48:11 I wanted people to want me in the room as well. And then the last thing around piece was the embraced piece. And think about a big hug. For me, this was really around the notion of feeling valued, respected and appreciated for what I was bringing to the table.


00:16:05:10 I think that's so incredible because I think the notion of belonging like purpose sometimes can be very nebulous, and we've tried to put that purpose is around the relationships that you have, the impact that you have and the growth that you have in the feeling that that gives you. It is not just another catchphrase.


00:16:21:20 That's it.


00:16:22:17 And as you think about it, there's a lot of companies that never had a CEO, never had an organization outside of human capital that looked at DE&I, and if you were to give them advice of where to start?


00:16:34:01 So I would say start somewhere. Whether or not that is looking at a strategy, having a conversation, starting an ERG, looking at your data, every culture in every company is different. The important thing is that you're going to start somewhere. What I also say, though, is don't be afraid of the data. Don't be so embarrassed about the data that you don't want to look at it.

00:16:58:07 The data is where it is and where you start is where you start, so just lean into that. One of the things that's super, I think, scary and important about this space right now, Shannon, is that it's evolving and it's changing every day.

00:17:14:06 And there's so much of the unknown that we can't anticipate some of the solutions that we need to solve for some of this stuff. So I would say leverage your strength and your courage and your humanity to lean in and be a part of making this world a better place for all people.


00:17:30:16 I think that's such great advice. And I think the one thing we have to always make sure that we say is that the data is critical and so is the storytelling.

00:17:40:16 So make sure you embrace the stories, because the stories are for some people, what actually brings their heart to it, which we need, but we also need their minds, and we also need them to be driven by what this means for our customers and our clients and how do those things come together.

00:17:51:00 But this is hard work. Like this is one of the most challenging things that I've ever done and one of the most meaningful. And I think we have to make sure that people realize that you got to get some thick skin in order to be in this role. And if you're just starting it, start knowing that. And the faster you do, I think the more successful you will be because you'll have a little bit more courage to move forward.


00:18:12:03 You're absolutely right. And also think about your network in doing this work as well. You cannot do DEI work alone. So whether or not you're starting out or you've been doing it for 20 years, you've got to lean on those who are also coming along in doing this work with you. So find those folks. Don't recreate the wheel.


00:18:31:00 I think that that's a great place to end on, that we're here for each other as practitioners, lean in because we're all here to support one another. Well, Carin, thank you so much for joining us today.

00:18:43:00 As we've talked about, it's so important to share our experience and our learning so we can learn from one another and really as business leaders so that we can step forward and truly build trust and open doors in society to be able to uplift individuals who otherwise wouldn't have a voice.

00:18:56:16 I know as always that I learned so much from you today and really appreciate the giving that you do to share with us. And to our listeners thank you for joining us on this episode of PwC Pulse. I'd love to hear your thoughts about today's conversations and you can leave a review wherever you listen to the podcasts. Carin, thank you so much.


00:19:15:19 Thank you.


00:19:18:01 Thank you for joining us on the PwC Pulse Podcast. Subscribe to PwC Pulse wherever you listen to your podcast or visit to hear our next episodes.


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J.C. Lapierre

J.C. Lapierre

Chief Strategy and Communications Officer, PwC US

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