Becoming greater than the sum of our parts
Charlie Ward Wright IV, Capability Manager, shares his career journey and what inclusion and belonging means to him.
What's your role?
I am currently the Capability Manager for our Merchandising & Marketing execution software, formerly known as Aptaris. This role primarily involves supporting a fantastic group of people who work with our new customers to realise successful implementations and innovative promotional workflows.
What's your favourite film?
Probably Apollo 13. I've always gravitated towards non-fiction movies that capture the strength of the human spirit.
What's ONE item you'd take, if stranded on a desert island?
My wife, for two reasons. First, I can't really live on my own anymore at this point and will need her to help keep myself alive. Second, if I'm stranded on a desert island, no way is she allowed to be out having fun with the rest of society!
Summary of career to date?
I originally went to work as a software developer upon receiving my bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering back in 2001. I took advantage of client-facing opportunities to learn customer workflows along with my technical skillset. I managed to complete my MBA in the evenings as well. Holding responsibilities across sales, services, and engineering gave me powerful insights to increase my contributions to the organisation. Eventually, I was driving so much of the business, from sales to product management, that I was named the president of the company.
In 2017, I left WAVE after 15 years and joined Aptaris. I had previously met Aptaris through an integration we had done with a mutual customer, Toys R Us. My first role there was within the sales team, but after just a few months, I was given the opportunity to participate in both account management and implementation services. Shortly after my one-year anniversary at Aptaris, we were acquired by dunnhumby. Here, my responsibilities shifted away from account management and pre-sales to focus solely on our Promotion capabilities and its implementation projects here at dunnhumby – and love this organization.
What's the most challenging thing you've faced in your career?
Easily, it was leaving my position as the president of a company that I had worked and invested in for over 15 years, including all of the passion, relationships, and familiarity that goes along with that move. I’ve never been divorced, but I most often liken the experience to a professional divorce. I had to manage a lot of anxiety throughout the experience since the decision simply was not on my radar for the vision of my career path.
What are your most important values?
Not coincidentally, they are represented in my team's values which are:
- Integrity, we say what will do and we've done what we've said
- Empowered, we are proactive when we are confident, ready to ask for help when we're not
- Nurturing, we help each other grow with the understanding our team's success is our individual success
What does inclusion/belonging mean to you?
It means differences are appreciated so that our whole becomes greater than the sum of our parts.
Sometimes, society tries to create the illusion of inclusion by making it taboo to recognise our differences. But pretending they aren't there is more detrimental than staring exclusion directly in the face.
What value does inclusion or belonging in the workforce bring?
Just as stated above. Personally and professionally, celebrating what makes us unique not only makes us better individuals, it makes us a better species.
It is this understanding that gives me great confidence in our future because it's a self-correcting system. Those who include, who respect, who are objective in their pursuits to deliver value are going to inherently be more successful. This success is then replicated by others as they look to achieve success, eventually weeding out those who can't compete due to their flawed ways.
There are always singular cases that contradict this flow and it is not always conscious or readily apparent. It never happens as fast as most of us would like either. But it is there and in motion nonetheless.
What are you doing to make sure everyone feels included?
#1, be inclusive myself, sincere healthy human interactions are contagious.
#2, encourage laughter and vulnerability amongst our team. These are the two most challenging group emotions which make them an instant litmus test to the depth of inclusion, trust, and synergy amongst each other.