What does Inclusive leadership look like? Look no farther than Pam Maynard. 

Pam Maynard, CEO of Avanade

Another stop on our journey. Jonathan and I decided early on that we wanted to illuminate incredible leaders who epitomized the ID&E principles we were advocating in our book. It was to give readers a taste of how fortunate we’ve been by simply crossing paths with remarkable leaders and human beings. It was also to give visibility to powerful examples of leaders who led inclusively every single day. In some ways too, it allowed us to humanize these amazingly talented people and show that it doesn’t take heroic, all-consuming actions to do ID&E work. No, all it took was actually caring about people, empathy, and an intentionality-focused belief that they could make a difference and that they should.

We begin the first 5 foundational chapters of our book with a profile on an inclusive leader who both illuminates and demonstrates the core essence of that specific chapter’s focus. The second chapter, “Daily Wisdom: Seven Insights for Leading Inclusively” provided the perfect opportunity for our readers to get to know Pam Maynard and for us to definitively illustrate how wisdom, courage, empathy, and an ability to truly understand what it means to listen intentionally is what leading inclusively is all about.

Pam Maynard is currently the CEO at Avanade and when we worked together she was Avanade’s Area President for Europe, Africa, and Latin America. During our discussion for the book, talking and reminiscing with Pam was such a delight. She epitomizes what inclusive leadership looks like in every way. Pam’s stories, examples, and sources of pride for the ID&E work Avanade is doing illustrate the power of dropping pebbles, the impacts that can happen when the underestimated are consciously seen, and when courage to be intentional is a daily practice.

A very quick personal memory I have about Pam. I’ll always remember the afternoon Pam spent with me and Val in our home here in Shoreline, WA a couple years ago having lunch, laughing, and talking about everything. I mention laughing because Pam has an infectious, delightful laugh that she does often. Our lunch happened about two weeks before she was announced as Avanade’s new CEO and when it was announced I reflected on our recent lunch and on the many, many times we interacted when I was Avanade’s ID&E leader. I smiled, shook my head, and exclaimed colorfully out loud just how amazing it was that Avanade picked Pam to guide and lead them. How fortunate were Avanade’s employees, how fortunate were their clients and customers, and how fortunate was the corporate world to have such a beacon of hope and inclusivity!

A quick snippet from our book of our discussion:

A natural curiosity and a desire to learn about who people really are is what comes to mind first for Pam when thinking about characterizing inclusive leadership and ultimately building cultures of belonging. Pam said, “I think it is all too easy when you are a leader in a big services business like ours is to get fixated on the employee numbers. The numbers of people that you have and getting them chargeable and understand their payroll costs and how that is increasing versus revenue. But for me, inclusive leadership isn’t about understanding how many employees you have, it actually is about really learning and understanding about who people are, right. Which is why I spend a lot of time just hosting, right, getting out there talking to people, round tables, having reverse mentoring calls, learning what is helpful for our people, and not helpful for our people. Because without that how do you know what they need in order for them to feel like they can belong and what they need from you as well as a leader, right?” Pam tied this natural curiosity and intentionality of reaching out to creating a workplace environment where people feel they can be their authentic selves and bring their entire true selves to work. She also spoke to an environment that engenders feelings of courage that ultimately leads to feeling safe. Feeling safe was a consistent theme for Pam and, in her mind, an outcome generated when leaders care about the people around them.

I can’t wait for you all to enjoy the 5 leader interviews in our book and take what you need from the power of their words.     

Photography: Jason Redmond