Paradigm for Parity® CEO Spotlight Series: Charles Meyers, Equinix
The Paradigm for Parity® coalition CEO Spotlight Series showcases member company CEOs who are transforming their corporate culture to be one that advances women of all races, cultures and backgrounds.
This week, we are featuring Charles Meyers, President and CEO, Equinix, who reflected that “plain and simple, we want the best talent — it is a requirement for innovation and long-term success. By demanding a level playing field, we weed out the mediocracy that is protected by privilege. It creates a place where the best, regardless of gender identity, can thrive and contribute to our collective success.”
- What motivated your company to join the Paradigm for Parity® coalition?
Diversity, and specifically gender equity, is a key priority for Equinix and we believed that joining the coalition would be a powerful way to formalize our commitment in this area and a resource for helping us get there. We initially set a target of 30% women in leadership by 2025 but we have already achieved this goal in 2022 and are looking to raise the bar further. By no means have we “figured it out” and we have a long way to go on representation for women and people of color, but the coalition is a way for us to be vocal in our commitment and transparent about our willingness to keep listening, learning and innovating towards being a more diverse, inclusive and equitable organization and culture.
- What role can/should CEOs play in leveling the playing field for marginalized groups, including women and people of color, in the workforce?
The data is clear, from the coalition and a myriad of other sources, companies that have diverse leadership teams outperform their competitors and create greater shareholder value. I see creating a diverse organization that mirrors the communities in which we work, from Board to intern, as a core responsibility of my role. We are committed to sustainable success and that means bringing in, embracing and developing the best talent. As CEO, I need to be listening comprehensively to the voices within our business and our communities, understanding their felt experience and mobilizing the resources and energy of Equinix to remove barriers to their success — enabling all our people to be able to confidently say, “I’m Safe, I Belong, and I Matter.”
- What do you consider to be the benefits of leveling the playing field for women in the workforce for your company and society as a whole? If we aren’t integrating the full and rich perspectives and extraordinary capabilities and experience of women in shaping the future of our business and our world, we are missing the boat. Plain and simple, we want the best talent — it is a requirement for innovation and long-term success. By demanding a level playing field, we weed out the mediocracy that is protected by privilege. It creates a place where the best, regardless of gender identity, can thrive and contribute to our collective success.
- How is your company advocating for, lifting up and supporting women of color in your workplace? What has made the biggest difference in advancing all women in your company?
We work to address systemic racism and change public policy through our engagement with other companies as part of CEO Action for Racial Equity. Equinix funds multiple full-time fellows to work on racial equity and digital inclusion. We also have sponsorship and mentorship programs designed to support women of color. We track our metrics on a quarterly basis to surface gaps in representation and differences in employee experience.
What has made the biggest difference is a clear and unequivocal commitment to gender equity, a willingness to take action and ensuring accountability by linking compensation to our progress. In many cases it means slowing the hiring process to ensure a diverse slate of candidates for senior roles and supporting continued investment in our Equinix Women Leaders Network (EWLN) which has been “promoting, connecting and empowering women” within the company and beyond for more than 10 years.
- When you look at the Paradigm for Parity® coalition 5-Point Action Plan, is there one step that you think is most critical to ensuring that women of color have the same opportunities for advancement as their colleagues?
I’d point to the combination of two steps: 1) Measure Targets at Every Level and Communicate Progress and Results Regularly. And 2) Give Women Sponsors, as well as Mentors. Through commitment, awareness, support and accountability we continue to make tremendous progress on the journey towards gender equity.
Charles J. Meyers, President and Chief Executive Officer, is responsible for leading Equinix’s strategy, innovation and continued track record of growth, execution and service excellence. In this role, Charles partners with his more than 10,000 Equinix colleagues around the world to be in service to one another and the customers, partners, shareholders and communities where Equinix operates.
Charles has shaped the company’s strategy and continued industry leadership, including doubling the number of global IBX data centers, evolving the capabilities of Platform Equinix, building ecosystems with thousands of the world’s leading businesses as customers, and quadrupling revenues during his tenure.
Charles joined Equinix in 2010 with more than 25 years of experience in executive leadership positions at leading technology and IT companies, including at Verisign, Level 3 Communications and BellSouth. Charles earned dual master’s degrees from Northwestern University’s J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management and McCormick Graduate School of Engineering. He also holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Colorado.
About Paradigm for Parity®
Paradigm for Parity® is a coalition of business leaders dedicated to addressing the corporate leadership gender gap. The coalition is made up of CEOs, senior executives, founders, board members, and business academics who are committed to achieving a new norm in the corporate world: one in which women and men have equal power, status, and opportunity.