Interview with Debra Bell, Vice President of Product Engineering at Micron Technology DRAM, leadership is to face the real self, but also "I can make mistakes", without fear of showing vulnerability.

At the fifth Global Women's Impact Forum (GWIS) for women fans, Debra talked about leadership, women's power, and personal life experience. Deeply touched by Debra's sincere sharing at GWIS, women fans invited Debra to tell us about her days as a woman in the field of technology through online video.

Pictured| Debra Bell, vice president of product engineering at Micron Technology DRAM

She saw from the data that women were underrepresented

From majoring in electrical engineering at university to joining the tech sector, Debra has always been in an environment where more men than women are. In recent years, Debra has been based in Japan and Taiwan and is not part of the local majority. From the early days of joining Miko in the closet, to her willingness to talk about her sexuality naturally and support the LGBTQ+ community, to recently sharing her story with her wife on the GWIS forum. We wanted to know more about when she started focusing on women and LGBTQ+ issues, and what drove her to do so.

Debra says it's a good question, then elaborates: "I always knew women were underrepresented in tech, but the real concerns I started to worry about were when I was leading the team. I was data driven, and I started to worry when I saw a low percentage of women as leaders. This is a problem that must be addressed for me, and I want to understand the reasons behind it and discuss with my colleagues what inhibits the display of female leadership."

Later, it was found that some prejudices against women appeared in micro-discrimination, such as being the only woman in the meeting, people would expect you to make a meeting record. Will preconceived "gender roles and expectations" limit women's career development? Debra and we share the story of another well-respected peer who doesn't work at Micron but is also an engineer. Peers mentioned that when she joined the tech field 30 years ago, some people expected female engineers participating in the conference to come to the conference room early to prepare tea and coffee for everyone.

(Same scene plus: How does Micron Technology practice DEI multi-inclusiveness? Vice President Debra Bell on Team Leadership and Women's Initiation )

Debra is not only focusing on women's stories, but also began to pay attention to the situation of other groups to understand the problems they encounter. "As I continue to listen to the stories of more underrepresented groups and understand their situation, I am more consciously aware of these things happening. That's the first step, to change, you need to understand their stories."

If you want to make a difference for an underrepresented group, the key first step is to start by listening to their stories.

Debra Bell, Vice President of Product Engineering at Micron Technology DRAM

Facing Yourself To Yourself "Not a Decision, It's a Journey"

At the GWIS forum, Debra generously introduced his wife to the audience to participate in the event. Coming out publicly is not awkward for her, and it also feels natural. We asked, was the first public appearance a difficult choice for her? After taking the first step, in the face of the sun shining, what changes have changed her career and life?

"For me, coming out is not a decision, it's a journey."

I looked at Debra on the screen, and at the moment she was light and breezy. For Miko's first ten years, Debra hadn't mentioned her sexuality to anyone. Later, she found that sharing her life story brought great repercussions.

She was thankful that the business leadership had given her selfless support. "The company changed the rainbow flag as the background of the video conference during Gay Pride Month, and when I saw it, my eyes were full of tears." Accepting the warm support of others, Debra actively wanted to do something. "During National Hispanic Cultural Heritage Month, when I changed the background of a Spanish-themed video for a Hispanic colleague I've worked with for 15 years, she told me that the significance of this move was indescribable."

Pictured| Debra Bell, vice president of product engineering at Micron Technology DRAM

It takes a lot of courage to open your heart

The reasons for portraying Debra as fearless of looking at themselves as they really are also include "seeing" other role models. Early in her career at Debra, she had a female role model, Linda Somerville. At that time, Linda was the vice president of Micron, and in addition to being an efficient and sincere leader, she was also a mentor who did not hesitate to guide the younger generations. If you need her, you have full confidence that she will be there for you. It was very exciting to have such a woman in a high-level position in that era.

"Linda is real and vulnerable, and she once told us that talking in a crowd made her uncomfortable. You'll see her honesty, and you'll see how she overcomes her fears and gets out of her comfort zone."

"Leaders need to show their vulnerable side," Debra said with a laugh, "last time I shared on a women's fan forum, my superpower was 'I can make mistakes.'" The premise of making mistakes is that leaders need to accept that they will make mistakes. But Debra mentions another important factor — accepting the failures or criticism that ensues when you show vulnerability, and then adjusting your direction— and to do that, the environment in which the leader lives matters.

Debra mentioned Micron's president, Sanjay Mehrotra, as a role model to lead by example. Sanjay will share with him why some issues are important to him, not afraid to spread his vulnerabilities in the sun, not afraid of possible criticism. Indirectly, he also provides a platform for Micron's leadership to show their true selves without fear.

"Miko can actually choose not to make a point on the issue, so that no one will criticize." But Micron chose to stand up and also chose a more difficult position. Miko, which has opened its heart, has also created an environment for internal employees to show their vulnerable side with peace of mind."

Pictured| Debra Bell, vice president of product engineering at Micron Technology DRAM

Micron's DEI is to continue to "see", bravely "speak", and implement "change"

Debra, who was once transferred to Miko in Japan, talked about the differences between Japan and Taiwan, and Debra believes that there are many similarities. The company's DEI (Diversity, Equality, Inclusion) culture is fully implemented in Japan, so she can comfortably hold hands with her partner, and Miko's colleagues in Japan will invite Debra's partners to participate in the internal women's group. These are all proofs of being able to do one's own without fear.

Pictured| Debra Bell, vice president of product engineering at Micron Technology DRAM

In addition to being selected as a best place to work in Japan, Micron is also certified as a Silver Member of the Pride Index. While each country has grown differently in the field of DEI, what Debra feels in Miko in Japan is a heart-warming acceptance.

For Debra, which has been in Micron for 21 years, there are two DEI growths that I feel the most:

  • Establish the Employee Resource Group – a platform for 10 underrepresented groups, such as LGBTQ+, people of color, etc., to provide a voice and support each other
  • The percentage of women on the board of directors , when Debra first joined , was 0 percent. Today, 50% of the board is female, showing Miko's growth in this area

Micron is taking DEI to the next level in 2021.

In this year's DEI report, Micron demonstrates a fully implemented DEI strategy around the world. Start from multiple recruitment channels to ensure that there is a practice of "Inclusive Hiring" in the recruitment process. After inviting diverse groups to Micron, the second step is to create a company culture where everyone can feel that they are "seen", whose voices are "heard", and where they are "cherished" and "respected".

Micron's success stems from the existence of diverse groups. Diverse voices inspire "innovative" thinking, and the premise for employees to share diverse perspectives without fear is that there is a "Inclusive Culture" that allows them to be themselves with peace of mind.

So even as the pandemic rages, Micron is committed to the push of DEI. This year, Micron launched the Pride+Allies ERG, a 1,000-member Gay Pride Employee Resource Group in Asia. Micron also publicly revealed "pay equality" data and shared the internal promotion of Inclusion Ally Training.

Debra shared that in addition to discussing "Unconscious Bias" together, Micron's underrepresented groups also shared their stories through the platform. Through these life stories, Debra sees that micro-discrimination is also prone to occur in young people, as if because you are young, others have a preconceived notion. Through these sharing, everyone can more consciously see how "unconscious bias" manifests itself in the daily life of work, and then makes the first step of change.

In the next decade, DEI is expected to become the norm in society

The form of work is changing rapidly, and the workplace is also beginning to move towards a "hybrid work model". At a time when work-life boundaries begin to blur, Debra also shares her vision for THE NEXT 10 years.

"I hope that in the next 10 years, whether in Miko or in society as a whole, everyone's voice will be heard, treated fairly and sincerely, and then let DEI become the norm for us to treat people in our daily lives and become a mirror for the next generation." 」

Listen to Debra's description, this is a desirable world! What can a woman-obsessed reader do to achieve this beautiful vision?

Pictured| Debra Bell, vice president of product engineering at Micron Technology DRAM

Debra shared with us that the first step is to be aware. Many times we are part of a majority and need to understand underrepresented groups. But while looking outward, don't forget your own heart, we need to look inward to understand our own prejudices.

The second step is that when we see where change is needed, we don't need to force reform in a tough way. We can gently teach others, learn together, and do better together. As a majority group, we can bravely speak up for them through our own platforms and make positive changes.

At the end of the interview, women fans and Debra talk about our expectations in the DEI section. Like Debra, we would like to see more discussions about DEI happening at all levels of society, so that more people will be aware of DEI and the positive repercussions it brings. We also expect DEI to become the norm in society. Although the road is long, we would like to share Debra's words with women fans once again:

"When you see something that needs to be changed, be brave enough to speak out, and then use your own strength to cause positive ripples." 」

Take this sentence as a habit, practice it, step by step, and we will be closer to a beautiful vision.