SC19 Proceedings

The International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis

Leading Inclusively - Redefining Effective Leadership in HPC

Authors: Kelly Nolan (Talent Strategy Institute), Toni Collis (Women in High Performance Computing), AJ Lauer (National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)), Neelofer Banglawala (Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre)

Abstract: Underrepresentation of certain groups of people in HPC leadership is causing acute talent acquisition and retention challenges in the overall pool of HPC professionals. Research shows that future leaders in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) must master cultural awareness, be aware of the impact of bias, and create a culture of inclusivity. In this interactive BoF we will present the state of leadership in STEM and discuss how HPC can adopt a more inclusive definition of leadership to ensure the sector is able to meet its talent targets and remain competitive.

Long Description: In a data and evidence-based environment, the HPC community is failing to implement the learnings from the unassailable business case for inclusive workplaces. The barriers to success are more complex than implementing various policies and programs. This is a cultural issue. While challenging for the HPC sector, a change to a more inclusive culture is a vital and necessary step to achieve the talent pool necessary to grow the sector.

Culture change starts at the leadership and executive level. New evidence suggests that achieving inclusive teams requires us to embrace a new definition of leadership - one not based on technical prowess, but based on one’s ability to understand and manage people. Often in the HPC sector, we promote our leaders because of their technical abilities but evidence shows that the ability to lead inclusively and effectively challenging our homogenous cultural norms will lead to success.

The goal of this BoF is to answer the following questions: What is this new definition of leadership and how do we implement it? How do we create an environment where we are as rigorous in our assessment of people management as we are of our assessment of science and technical innovation? And how can we build equity frameworks to overcome bias?

Attendees will learn what the model for leadership should be to achieve inclusion in HPC and how we must challenge the current cultural model to achieve the sector’s talent development goals.

Research continues to show that diversity and inclusivity at all team levels, from junior members to visionary leaders, enrich the dynamics and success of team interactions.

The goal of this session is to answer key questions around effective leadership and its redefinition, such as: What is our current understanding of leadership? What makes it effective and what does not? What is the new definition of leadership and how do we realize it? How can we create an environment where we are as rigorous in our assessment of people management as we are of our assessment of science and technical innovation? How do we create equity frameworks and practices to overcome biases and our blind spots?

Segment 1 will discuss the current state of leadership and what makes effective/poor leadership (from leaders as well as those being led), Segment 2 will explore the challenges of effective leadership, how biases and lack of awareness impact and the need for equity frameworks Segment 3 will be a redefinition of leadership, ( Segment 4 will explore best practices, helpful pointers etc.).


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