A Culture of Belonging: Fireside chat with Pat Wadors

By Seema Daryanani

March 25, 2020

At Anaplan, we’re committed to supporting a diverse workforce that empowers all people. As part of this goal, Anaplan’s Women’s Interest Network (WIN) hosts regular presentations and fireside chats with female executives who share their personal experiences in the workplace and offer advice on how to succeed in the business world.

To kick off 2020, WIN welcomed Pat Wadors, Chief Talent Officer at ServiceNow, to share her perspective on the value of authenticity and why it’s a powerful component of career growth. An incredible storyteller, Pat discussed the importance of fostering a culture of inclusion, divulged how “getting real” with senior execs improved her career, and encouraged Anaplan employees to always be tenacious.

Pat’s conversation with Anaplan CEO Frank Calderoni and Anaplan Chief People Officer Marilyn Miller was an inspiring reminder that building a strong culture involves more than happy hour or free lunch, and requires a thoughtful, open approach to engaging with employees across the organization. We hope you enjoy highlights from the discussion:

1. Belonging Matters

Pat started off the Fireside Chat with, “When I get to be me, I’m happy.” Everyone has a genetic desire to join a community where they can be themselves and thrive, she continued. While the concept of belonging seems simple, it’s incredibly challenging. Research shows that 61% of employees cover their identities in some way while at work. While shocking, masking is often an unconscious reaction to our homogenous and non-inclusive surroundings. Pat shared her personal experience as an outsider—as an introverted, dyslexic woman—and how that inspired her to develop the concept of diversity, inclusion, and belonging (DIBs).

2. Just be Yourself

To create a culture of belonging, people need to show up — with friends, family, co-workers – authentically and honestly. Being genuine can feel uncomfortable or at times, inappropriate, particularly in the workplace. After Pat launched DIBs at ServiceNow, one woman approached her, unwrapped all her layers, revealed many tattoos, and said “I’m going to love today.” By fueling authenticity in the workplace and beyond, Pat is opening doors for people to be themselves, which has been found to reduce stress and improve physical health and performance.

3. Resilience is Required

One of Anaplan’s core values, tenacity, was another key theme. Early in her career, Pat recalled how she bombed an executive-panel presentation after months of preparation. Seemingly a disaster, Pat quickly recognized her mistake, “I wanted to be the smartest person in the room, not the wisest.” By reshaping her approach to garner buy-in and trust, Pat turned the situation around. The most important lesson she learned was, “People will remember how you pick yourself up, not how you fell down.”

As we continue to strengthen our culture of belonging, it’s wonderful to hear entrepreneurs and thought leaders like Pat tell stories of personal trials and successes. To that end, we thank Pat Wadors for sharing her story with Anaplan!