ZS Principal Manish Sharma was recently honored by Working Mother and Avtar for the Male Ally Legacy Choice of Jury award. The award honors male leaders from India who have spearheaded the cause of gender equality at their workplace. The winners are chosen based on their contribution to mentoring women into leadership and their role in influencing and curating their organizations’ journeys toward gender equality.
Apoorva Aggarwal, principal at ZS and the Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) lead for India, has worked with Manish on several WLI projects. “Manish has been a great thought partner ally for the WLI team at ZS. Having a male partner as passionate and vocal about the cause of seeing women grow professionally has added great value to our team. He has brought diverse thinking to our group and is leading programs in our India offices,” she shared.
Anne Brocchini, manager from ZS’s San Francisco office, congratulated Manish and reflected on his journey. “Manish has stood out as a strong ally to women, championing the allyship program within India for the WLI and across ZS’s inclusion and diversity groups. He has continuously challenged our thinking and his own. He is committed to creating more support for women throughout India and the world.”
We sat down with Manish to learn more about what it means to be a male ally at ZS.
I am humbled to receive this award on behalf of ZS, the WLI team, and the growing inclusion and diversity communities across ZS. We now have bustling ally communities across the globe, and I can sense that they will make a huge impact on inclusion and diversity at ZS.
The reason I became an ally was to uphold the ZS value of “Treat people right.” The least we can do is be aware of the inequities in the world and help to amplify others’ voices. I feel I am ‘paying it forward’ for all the love and guidance that I have received from my mother, sister, wife, and many other women in my life. Several stories inspire me to do more. In one such instance, I felt gratified when one of my coachees shared how my guidance helped her thrive at ZS and grow despite a challenging personal situation.
Allies have a vital role to play in ZS’s inclusion and diversity mission. They can use their perceived privilege and position to educate themselves and others. They can support marginalized groups, amplify their voices, and have difficult conversations when required. Allies can also play a role in coaching and mentoring people.
ZS is an amazing place for people with diverse backgrounds. However, we strive for growth and continue to work to make ZS a more inclusive and diverse organization. Today more than ever, I see very active inclusion and diversity groups like WLI, Pride@ZS, Black and Hispanic Alliance (BHA), and Veterans@ZS. ZS’s inclusion and diversity council is working on several initiatives like diversity recruitment, leadership development, and allyship. Embracing and celebrating our individual differences has always been at the heart of ZS’s values, so it is no surprise that we are consistently recognized by renowned industry organizations for doing so. We are humbled and eager to continue to promote a better working environment for all.