Shari Slate

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Director, Global Inclusion and Community Affairs Sun Microsystems Inc. Granite Bay, Calif. Age: 36

As the director of global inclusion and community affairs for Sun Microsystems Inc., Shari Slate’s job is to ensure that the company’s 30,000-plus employees worldwide get every opportunity to thrive. She fosters inclusion in every aspect of the business, from recruitment, retention and succession planning to innovation, marketing and corporate citizenship.

Slate has long advocated for diversity and inclusion through her philanthropic efforts and leadership roles in corporate affinity groups. The new title meant she would work globally, which she was determined to do after hearing Ed Zander, Sun’s former chief operating officer, tell a group of new hires that he was tired of people without global experience asking to become vice presidents.

“Corporate leaders are facing a broad range of issues, including the important challenge to manage people globally, remotely and cross-culturally,” Slate says. “Companies need leaders who possess the ability and aptitude to meet this challenge. From that moment on, I was on a mission.”

Slate holds a bachelor’s degree in political, legal and economic analysis from Mills College. She spent years at the Xerox Corp., where she was awarded the prestigious “Star Award” for sales.   She singles out her parents and four women — Cecelia Andrews, Jean Stone-Seguin, Candi Castleberry-Singleton and Olivia Thompson — among the mentors who stepped in at crucial junctures in her career. She’s returning the favor, she says, by ensuring that processes, policies, systems and leaders are in place to support diverse talent in the corporate pipeline.

Quote: “Don’t go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Fun Facts
Favorite book/author:
Hailey Slate
What actress should play you in a movie: Jennifer Beales
Facebook or LinkedIn: Facebook
Favorite sports team: Boston Celtics
What artist would you go on tour with: Alicia Keys, John Legend or The Gyspy Kings
Number of countries visited: 12
Favorite charity: Hailey’s Birthday Angels

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