Therese Van Ryne and Natalie Bodus of Zebra Technologies
By Therese Van Ryne | December 28, 2021

Inclusion & Diversity Expert: Why Every Company Needs to Assess Its “Performance”

In her Q4 Action report, Natalie Bodus talks about Zebra’s measured progress toward building a culture of belonging and explains how to identify and eliminate performative actions to become a better ally to employees, customers, and community members.

2021 has been a year of many firsts at Zebra. We launched our first machine vision solution, acquired our first robotics company, and – for the first time ever – defined clear, measurable inclusion and diversity (I&D) goals for all people leaders, with goals encouraged for all employees. Though all will contribute to the greater good of Zebra Nation and society in their own ways, we believe the last one on this list of “firsts” has the potential to move the needle significantly as we advance our broader I&D aspirations.  

Technology, though a meaningful contributor to our well-being in fast-paced, demand-intensive workplaces, can’t fulfill the one thing humans crave more than anything: other human connection. Social media contacts don’t sufficiently satisfy our need for acceptance of our authentic selves, especially in settings where we must interact face-to-face and work side-by-side with others.

Therefore, it’s imperative for all companies – even those developing the most intelligent and technologically advanced robots – to strongly root their culture in “conscious inclusion,” says Natalie Bodus, Senior Director of Inclusion and Diversity and Employer Brand here at Zebra. Companies must also appreciate that each of us are incredibly diverse in our own ways and play an important role in confronting biases and advancing a culture of belonging across the organization while focusing on outcomes, not just “feel good” activities.

In her last Inclusion and Diversity Action Report of 2021, Natalie spoke about the quantifiable progress that Zebra has made throughout the year in its efforts to become cultural change agents both within the company and in global communities. In our 15-minute sit-down, she also discussed:

  • her perspective on the meaning of allyship.
  • what it takes to be a genuine upstander versus a performative ally.
  • why it’s important that we – as companies and people – not rely on historically underrepresented populations to drive our transformation.
  • the specific actions Zebra has been taking to encourage greater allyship across the company.
  • how Zebra will leverage the momentum built in 2021 to drive greater awareness and ownership of the actions we can all take to advance inclusion and diversity, increase engagement in Zebra-hosted I&D conversations and initiatives, and continue to expand our philanthropy and volunteerism to advance equity at large.

Tune in now:

Corporate Social Responsibility, Inside Zebra Nation, Podcast,
Therese Van Ryne
Therese Van Ryne

Therese Van Ryne is Senior Director of External Communications for Zebra Technologies. She joined Zebra as part of the acquisition of Motorola Solutions Enterprise business in October 2014. She and her team are laser focused on growing the company’s brand awareness globally aligned with business objectives. Her accomplishments include leading Zebra events with Harvard University and TED as well as the creation of the annual Intelligent Enterprise Index, resulting in positive media coverage, customer engagement and revenue growth.

Prior to Motorola Solutions, Van Ryne worked at SC Johnson where she led corporate communication strategies and drove PR and branding efforts for leading consumer products. One of her top achievements was leading the Windex® placement in the film, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” resulting in a 25% sales increase for the brand.

One of PR News’ 2019 Top Women in PR and Crain's Chicago's 2021 Most Notable Executives in Marketing, Therese also has experience as a journalist, editor and producer, reporting nightly from Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Van Ryne holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Journalism from Marquette University and an Executive Leadership Master’s Certificate from Cornell University.

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