Let's Inspire Inclusion for IWD 2024 and Beyond!

Inspiring inclusion for women builds a brighter future for all.

International Women's Day (IWD) is a day where we celebrate the accomplishments and hard-fought efforts of all women across the globe who have paved the way for equality. Celebrated around the world on March 8th, IWD gives us all a chance to remember the countless individuals and organizations making great strides to improve the lives of women everywhere, including the creation of safe spaces, increasing education access for girls, and making positive policy changes in the workplace. As we reflect on how far we have come in achieving gender equality, we also need to recognize that we have much further to go.

Each year, IWD highlights a theme that helps drive its mission of creating a gender equal world. This year IWD asks us all to find ways to #InspireInclusion to forge a better world. At KIOXIA, we value the many contributions, ideas and achievements of our women employees and leaders. We sat down with six of our women leaders to discuss their career journeys, advice they have for young women joining the workforce and how we can better inspire inclusion at KIOXIA and beyond.

Inclusion ignites a spark within women, leading to a sense of belonging, relevance, and the power to shape their own destinies.

Maitry Dholakia
VP, Memory Business, KIOXIA America, Inc.

A diverse work environment can help bring varied perspectives and experiences to the company. This will most definitely foster a sense of belonging, which will lead to increased employee engagement, collaboration and productivity.

Maitry began her career in 2003 as an Application Engineer, gaining technical expertise at Nova Sensors and Altasens. Transitioning to a client-facing role as a Technical Account Manager at Sony Electronics, she thrived in building relationships. Her success led her to Toshiba Memory America (FKA Toshiba America Electronic Components) in 2012, where she tackled the company's largest strategic customer as an Account Development Manager. Recognized for her leadership and expertise in strategic partnerships, operations, and project management, she was promoted to Vice President of Kioxia's Memory Business unit in 2023, where she continues to drive impactful results.

How do you think diversity and inclusion impact a company's success?
A diverse work environment can help bring varied perspectives and experiences to the company. This will most definitely foster a sense of belonging, which will lead to increased employee engagement, collaboration and productivity.

How do you balance your personal and professional responsibilities as a leader?
I do my best to create boundaries as well as prioritizing and allocating time effectively. I do my best to effectively communicate with colleagues about my availability and try to manage work expectations.

How does Kioxia celebrate diverse ideas and people?
Kioxia celebrates and embraces diversity by supporting different organizations such as LeadHERS as well as supporting IWD related initiatives. We are constantly looking for new ways and opportunities to be inclusive and support our diverse employee base to feel a further sense of collaboration and belonging.

What are some of the ways you have benefited from or worked with male advocates in advancing your career?
During my career at Kioxia as well as at other places, I have had great mentorship and guidance from my male superiors and counterparts. They have offered valuable insights, networking opportunities and have helped me amplify my achievements in professional settings.

Their endorsement and recognition have helped break down barriers and have created a supportive environment for my professional growth.

Diane Park
VP, Business Operations and Planning, KIOXIA America, Inc.

“I feel included when the company respects and values my unique perspective and contributions.”

Diane's career path is a testament to her adaptability and strategic vision. It began in Korea, where she honed her skills as a Manager in Corporate Strategy at SK Communications. After immigrating to the US, she leveraged her expertise in Marketing & Business Development at Symantec before venturing into the realm of Supply Chain Operations with SanDisk. Her journey then led her to KIOXIA, where she thrived as a Director of Business Planning & Operations. For the past six years, she has spearheaded the Operations & Business Planning team, driving efficiency and growth. Her dedication and leadership were recognized in 2022 with a well-deserved promotion to Vice President.

What do you consider your greatest professional accomplishment to be?
While re-starting my career after immigrating to the US, I could have never imagined that I’d go on to achieve my many career goals and more. Through the years, I’ve made great memories and celebrated accomplishments big and small. Above all, I am most proud of my steadfast perseverance. When I was faced with challenges, I made it a habit to generate creative solutions through my unique perspective. I am grateful to my community of co-workers for their support whenever it was needed. I believe that our harmony as a team is truly the key to success.

How do you think the industry has changed since you started with Kioxia?
The memory industry is well understood to be cyclical, driven by supply and demand. A year after I joined, 2019 was a historical down as demand grew stagnant, memory bit growth persisted and inventory levels increased resulting in aggressive average selling price (ASP) declines. In 2020, the memory industry bounced back, even during a worldwide pandemic as it takes a lot of infrastructure to support work-from-home, educate-from-home, and entertain-from-home environments. Looking ahead, we expect cycles to continue as strong revenue years are re-invested into capacity expansion.

How do you promote diversity, equity and inclusion in your interactions with those who report to you?
One of the simplest ways to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the team is by listening to their ideas and concerns and valuing their contributions. On top of that, I emphasize providing equal opportunities for growth and promoting an equitable work environment so anyone can speak up and flag any issues that need addressing.

What are the benefits to having women in leadership?
Decades of studies show women leaders help increase productivity, enhance collaboration, inspire organizational dedication, and improve fairness. Women leaders often demonstrate a blend of analytical and intuitive decision-making, which can lead to innovative solutions. Moreover, they promote a culture of inclusion, empowering employees to contribute their unique ideas and perspectives.

Cheri Kennedy
Director, Sales Operations, KIOXIA America, Inc.

Lead with Equality and Inclusivity in mind and encourage women to reach for higher positions within the industry.

Cheri currently leads a team of six women supporting direct and rep sales, prioritizing customer purchase orders and shipping logistics across Kioxia’s NAND memory and SSDs products. Her career in the industry spans over 35 years, beginning in 1986 as a Clerical Administrator at Texas Instruments, progressing through various roles at Toshiba America Electronic Components, a 3 year stint at a start-up as an Inside Sales and Operations Manager, before returning to Toshiba and eventually transitioning to KIOXIA. Throughout her career, Cheri has consistently demonstrated leadership skills by effectively managing teams, and relentlessly focusing on customer satisfaction, which has garnered her the respect of both colleagues and customers at Kioxia.

What advice would you give to young women entering the workforce?
Treat every minor role you perform as a learning experience. Say yes to any opportunity to be mentored by other women, attend trainings, and be open to experience new processes.  Embrace change and always remain teachable.

In your opinion, what needs to happen to encourage more women to join our industry?
Having women in leadership positions serves as a powerful inspiration for others, demonstrating how they can successfully navigate and build fulfilling careers within our industry. Witnessing how individual contributions translate into tangible impact on projects and processes fosters a sense of reward and incentivizes further engagement.

What strategies can work well to promote inclusion in the workplace? 
We need to practice inclusion within meetings, project planning, and promotions to recognize all members and ultimately value their contributions with equal respect.

What are some ways male advocates can make a difference?
Lead with Equality and Inclusivity in mind and encourage women to reach for higher positions within the industry. 

Cindy Kim
Sr. Specialist, Ecosystem Development, KIOXIA America, Inc.

"By embracing my own unique identity and challenging my own unconscious biases, I will inspire others to do the same, creating a more inclusive space for all."

Cindy's career path is a testament to adaptability and a thirst for new horizons. Starting at Samsung Electronics, she went beyond the typical Executive Admin role, wearing multiple hats: managing R&D lab contractors, overseeing assets, and handling headcount, budgets, and sample processes. This diverse experience laid a strong foundation for her future, equipping her with valuable skills and a broad understanding of the tech landscape. Driven by a passion for marketing, Cindy embarked on a new path, transitioning to data analysis and then product marketing for eMMC and UFS solutions.

Today, Cindy is at the forefront of collaboration at KIOXIA. As the Ecosystem Architect, she fosters partnerships within the server and client ecosystem, ensuring seamless compatibility between KIOXIA's SSDs and a wide range of products, including CPUs, HBAs, RAID controllers, and Retimer chips. Her expertise bridges the gap between partners and KIOXIA, facilitating impactful marketing collaborations like demos, white papers, and press releases.

Have you ever felt the imposter syndrome and if so how did you navigate your way through it?
Yes, I have definitely felt and still feel the imposter syndrome from time to time. What worked for me is asking questions and telling myself that it is OK not to know as long as I ask the questions and learn from it. You know what people say, “There are no such thing as stupid questions”. I also found that being open about to what extent I am knowledgeable in a certain subject and setting the right expectation would relieve some of the pressure.

How have you built confidence and/or resiliency over the course of your career?
I think it is a constant battle with myself not to doubt myself and not to think of myself as incompetent because of all the brilliant and hardworking people I see around me but reminding myself that what I have accomplished so far was no small feat helps me to build confidence. Not only recognizing my efforts and accomplishments help build confidence but knowing that I had and still have great support from friends/family, co-workers, and managers around me definitely adds much to my confidence. Knowing and realizing I have people around me to catch my fall if I do and help me back up, keeps me going.

What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
Everyone has a different path and starting point (time, place, position, etc.), so try not to compare yourself to others and focus on what works for you, makes you happy, feel accomplished and run with it!

Sandrine Aubert
Senior Marketing Manager, Head of Marketing & Communications, KIOXIA Europe GmbH

“I will help foster inclusion by giving trust and encouraging women to trust in their capacity to take on important responsibilities.”

Seasoned Marketing & Communications leader, Sandrine boasts 30+ years in international memory marketing. Starting at Toshiba Electronics Europe, she traversed diverse roles across B2B & B2C marketing, sales development, and project management. In 2018, she was promoted to Head of MarCom at Toshiba Memory (now KIOXIA), spearheading the successful EMEA launch of the new brand.

Her pride? Building and mentoring a talented team to implement digital branding strategies, driving brand awareness and business growth across EMEA. Recognized leadership with a knack for managing projects and teams efficiently, her efforts have significantly contributed to KIOXIA's brand recognition.

Currently leading a diverse team of five, Sandrine champions KIOXIA's values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Based on your experience, what can companies do to help inspire inclusion in the tech industry?
Actively recruit and promote women from diverse background for jobs with high skills and responsibilities. This will encourage more women to apply for high-impact roles and advance their careers within our industry. Additionally, companies should actively promote diversity and acceptance by organizing training sessions for all employees, including managers and executives that address unconscious bias, promote inclusive behavior and celebrate diversity. Finally, it should be part of the company policy that all employees have equal access to career advancement opportunities, training programs and leadership positions.

What advice do you have for those who want to be male ally and aren’t sure how to start?
Be open-minded, patient and persistent in your efforts to create a more equitable workplace.  Recognize that it is an ongoing process, which requires engagement from all sides. Encourage diverse, mixed-gender project teams that can provide female leaders with valuable opportunities to hone their skills and gain visibility.  Collaboration is key, but ensure these projects are not framed solely as a way for women to "learn" to get recognition. Instead, prioritize genuine collaboration and shared success.

Keiko Ariyoshi
Specialist, Device Technology Research & Development Center, KIOXIA Corporation

“I will help inspire inclusion by actively engaging with as many people as possible in the organization as a minority and as a woman.”

Ariyoshi-san’s dynamic career includes over 16 years of experience in advanced materials and device development. Her journey began in 2006 at Toshiba's R&D Center, where she focused on pioneering new insulating films for memory devices. This was followed by an enriching international experience leading a joint CMOS technology project in the U.S. from 2008 to 2011. Upon returning to Japan, Ariyoshi-san moved into the exciting world of SiC power devices through a collaborative project with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST). Additionally, she actively supported diversity and inclusion within the scientific community by serving on the Gender Equality Committee (now Diversity and Inclusion Committee) of the Japan Society of Applied Physics from 2017 to 2019.

Currently, Ariyoshi-san works on the development of emerging memory devices, while also contributing to talent acquisition through student recruitment.  Beyond her professional achievements, Ariyoshi-san enjoys her role as a happy mother to her 4-year-old and 7-year-old children.

What strategies can work well to promote inclusion in the workplace?
Creating a team with different genders, life stages and various cultural backgrounds helps to encourage team members to learn from one another and to have a positive impact on each other’s lives. It is important to encourage open and respectful communication across all levels, to create safe spaces for feedback, and to actively listen to everyone's voice. It’s also important to clearly define your team's purpose and vision, ensuring everyone feels connected to a bigger goal. This purpose becomes the common ground where diverse perspectives can flourish.

What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
Don’t worry so much. Always focus on your work at hand, staying true to your values, strengths, and unique voice and you will pave your own way. It's your individuality that will make you a powerful and inspiring leader.

Our team, united across continents, celebrated International Women's Day with the #InspireInclusion pose! From California to Tokyo to Berlin, these photos capture our unwavering support for our female colleagues and our commitment to empowering women in every corner of our company. We're so grateful to all who participated in this global celebration!

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