Developing Black and Latinx leaders at ServiceNow

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  • 2021
July 16, 2021

4 Black and Latinx leaders in the ServiceNow Strive leadership development program

This is part one of a three-blog series about the Strive leadership program at ServiceNow.

When ServiceNow announced Strive, a leadership development program, in January, “I jumped on it because I didn't see myself represented in leadership at my previous organizations,” says Marco O., a senior technical curriculum developer for ServiceNow.

Marco’s mother came to the United States from Mexico when she was 11. Raised by her and his father, Marco is the youngest and first of his family of five to graduate high school and attend college. He built a life with his husband since 1997 and found his way to ServiceNow in 2019. Today, Marco is on the Pride at Now leadership team, ServiceNow’s LGBTQ+ employee Belonging Group.

“We know there is less access and less Black and Latinx employees at leadership levels," says

Lynnetta S., director of diversity, inclusion, and belonging (DIBs) at ServiceNow. Lynetta brought in the leadership program as part of a DIBs strategy focused on hiring inclusively and building greater equity in career advancement for underrepresented populations.

Breaking the negative cycle

Black and Latinx populations have been systemically marginalized in a variety of ways, including through a lack of sponsorship and mentorship. When leaders look at succession planning, for example, they find people tend to go to those with whom they mesh well, have similar experiences, or have the same college in common. Black and Latinx people may not traditionally fit into those buckets.

The yearlong Strive program is geared to disrupt the status quo. It creates visibility, provides networking, and teaches leadership skills, such as:

  • Critical conversations and managing up
  • Leading with empathy
  • Learning through feedback in 360-degree reviews

Invitations went out to members of the Black at Now and Latinx at Now Belonging Groups. Fifty senior managers and below formed three cohorts as individual contributors and people managers.

“I am a person full of values. I like trying to make a stronger team while bringing culture to the new team members.” Carolina R., Senior Analyst in Sales Operations, ServiceNow


A safe space for career growth

Each cohort is led by an executive coach. Lynnetta intentionally selected only coaches who are Black or Latinx so that participating employees see and have access to executive coaches who look like them.

April O., head of deployment, solutions enablement at ServiceNow, was the first in her family to graduate from college. April says she was motivated to join the Strive program because many employees leave their jobs due to their manager. “I didn't want to be that person,” she says. “My goal is to pour into people, to help them see their potential, and grow.”

Eric C., a single parent of three children, is a ServiceNow solution consulting manager. He read about the program’s growth mindset and decided he wanted to develop as a leader. He joined the program with the goal of becoming “the best leader ServiceNow has ever seen.” Eric especially likes the group sessions. “It's like group therapy,” he says.

April agrees. “You feel like this is a safe space to explore and explain what's happening in our careers and not be judged for it. You're in a cohort of people who are facing similar situations. We're all there to learn and grow and lift each other up.”

Managers grow too

Managers of participants in the Strive program do their own work to better understand how to incorporate DIBs into their management style—by working to eliminate bias from their performance reviews, for example. “When both the manager and employee are doing their work, I can only see amazing outcomes from that,” Lynnetta says.

Carolina R., who is from Colombia, moved to the Netherlands, where she works as a senior analyst in sales operations for ServiceNow. She worked very hard to become proficient in both English and Dutch and to become a people leader across cultures.

Carolina’s manager is supportive of her participation in the program because they understand that to lead people, you have to not only be good at your job, but also know how to connect with the team.

“I am a person full of values. I like trying to make a stronger team while bringing culture to the new team members,” Carolina says.

A positive outlook

As Lynnetta and team evaluate the effectiveness of the program, they’ll look at engagement, gather feedback on participants’ sense of belonging, and follow their careers at ServiceNow. Although participating in the program doesn’t guarantee promotion, it will help employees drive career pathways they're looking to achieve.

Carolina’s approach is to build a work plan to improve. “If you don't change the situation, the situation won’t change,” she says. “We need to improve ourselves and evolve.”

In the next blog in this series, employees will share what they’ve learned in the Strive program.

We’re hiring. Check out careers at ServiceNow.

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