Edua Dickerson, ServiceNow

Edua Dickerson

Making the World Work Better

Editors’ Note

Edua Dickerson’s current role includes leading and scaling ServiceNow’s ESG strategy and program throughout the enterprise, embedding it into the ServiceNow operations and culture; driving strategic initiatives that help shape and amplify the CFO’s vision, leadership and voice; and spearheading key initiatives that enable the finance organization to operate effectively and at scale. She also leads the finance talent and career development strategy, including post-university and post-MBA rotational programs. She brings more than 15 years of experience in finance, business strategies, operations, and diversity program leadership with a demonstrated history of working in the Internet industry. Her specialties include management, revenue recognition, business process improvement, analytics and training, and business development. She also has experience in serving as co-chair of an employee resource group for Black professionals at a global high-tech company, where she helped establish more leadership accountability for and investment in Black talent recruitment, progression, and retention. Dickerson launched Edua Lena Coaching, a premiere leadership coaching service that is helping diverse, rising leaders unlock their power and change the world. Dickerson earned a BS in applied mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles and an MBA in Decision Sciences and Strategy from Duke University – The Fuqua School of Business.

Company Brief

ServiceNow (servicenow.com) is making the world of work, work better for people. The company’s cloud-based platform and solutions deliver digital workflows that create great experiences and unlock productivity for employees and the enterprise.

What excited you about the opportunity to join ServiceNow and made you feel it was the right fit?

From day one, I was drawn to the fact that our company’s purpose – to make the world work better for everyone – is so evidently built into everything that we do from our technology to our leadership. Bill McDermott (CEO) will tell you, “the world’s greatest challenges are our greatest opportunities.” What this means to us at ServiceNow, and to me, is that we have the opportunity of a lifetime – and a responsibility – to help solve challenges facing the world today. And it was important to me that people who look like me or who may identify with my experiences and background were a part of solving those challenges.

Our progress and where we’re headed as a company, and from an ESG perspective, keeps me excited every day. ServiceNow is a rocketship and I knew from the get-go that I wanted to get onboard. We all share in the dream to make ServiceNow the defining enterprise software company of the 21st century, but we recognize that this doesn’t just mean developing the best technology on the market – it also means being a force for change and leading by example for decades to come. As we continue to grow, we have even more of an opportunity to help sustain our planet, create equitable opportunity, and act with integrity all while creating more value for our organization.

Will you provide an overview of your role and areas of focus?

Like many others, ServiceNow recognizes that environmental, social, and governance (ESG) is no longer a cost center. It has become a business imperative that has real impact on stakeholder trust and long-term value creation.

My role is to establish ServiceNow’s best-in-class, enterprise-wide ESG strategy and policies and to drive and scale our global impact program initiatives. This goes beyond simply defining how our business impacts and is impacted by the world. It’s making ESG a natural and consistent part of our business decision-making, operations, and culture through each line of business and investment strategy to ultimately mitigate risk, deliver competitive advantage, and build stakeholder trust. This also includes consistent engagement with our partners – from operating partners to our supply chain – to help them create more sustainable business strategies.

Separately, I lead our finance organization’s talent and career development strategy, including post-university and post-MBA rotational programs.

How do you describe ServiceNow’s culture?

What we all share is a hungry and humble mentality to make our ambitious dreams a reality. We do this by listening and responding to our employees and impacting change within our communities. Our incredible growth trajectory is a byproduct of the dynamic leaders and people working each day to make the world work better. We don’t just talk about change – we act with purpose to build equity into everything we do.

Will you highlight ServiceNow’s ESG strategy and how ESG is embedded into ServiceNow’s operations and culture?

My mission is to ensure ESG is built into ServiceNow’s DNA. We know that to be the defining enterprise software company of the 21st century, our impact must extend beyond our four walls and make it easy for everyone to do their best work, live their best lives, and contribute to a more sustainable, equitable, and ethical world. This is a journey without a destination, but we have built the right structure to help solve some of the world’s greatest challenges.

Our ESG strategy centers on three main pillars, all supported by our ServiceNow platform and solutions: sustaining our planet by championing the transition to a net zero-world by accelerating decarbonization and advancing responsible procurement; creating equitable opportunity by empowering and engaging our employees, cultivating diversity, equity, and inclusion, and increasing community investment; and acting with integrity by building trust through ethical, transparent, and secure business practices. This includes leading with ethics, transparency, and disclosure, assuring security and data privacy, and fostering responsible and ethical use of data, and respecting human rights.

Governance is at the core of ServiceNow’s approach to ESG. It keeps us aligned, accountable, and provides transparency for all of our stakeholders. We prioritize oversight of our ESG strategy through our board of directors’ nominating and governance committee, the sponsorship of ServiceNow’s Chief Financial Officer, Gina Mastantuono, the guidance of our ESG steering committee, which has representation from every part of our business, and through third party verifications.

What do you see as the keys to being effective in a company’s ESG efforts and how critical is it to have engagement and commitment from the C-suite for this work?

The last couple of years have cemented ESG as a business imperative. It has skyrocketed up the list of business priorities and there’s a rise in demand for executives to drive and implement ESG initiatives. But for an organization to have a successful ESG program, the tone has to start at the top. Each member of the leadership team must understand the intersectionality of ESG pillars and recognize how each part of the company, not just a select few, can take collective action and drive alignment to make progress on its goals. A successful ESG strategy recognizes that each pillar is inextricably linked and presents a shared, rich opportunity across the organization. As you’ve probably heard before, but I’ll say it again, “Organizations can’t manage what they don’t measure.” The right technology can help consolidate, centralize, and offer visibility into ESG data that companies are already collecting across various applications and teams, to help business leaders embed ESG considerations into daily decision-making across the business that’s aligned with financial and corporate decision-making and governance.

Our collective mission at ServiceNow is to ensure ESG guides our business strategy, impacts the decisions we make, and contributes to our corporate culture at every level. Our own C-suite doesn’t just speak in theory – they live in practice. My own manager, ServiceNow CFO, Gina Mastantuono, is among the rare CFOs – let alone female CFOs – steering ESG strategy and purpose-led investments. She is deeply focused on not only ensuring our ESG steering committee represents every single area of the business, but that she is also empowering every one of our employees to act with purpose and understand where they play an active role. We also recently announced that executive compensation is now tied to our environmental and diversity goals. At ServiceNow, we’re harnessing the vision, determination, and ingenuity of our people and our platform to help effect change and help other companies in their ESG journey to do the same.

“We have big ambitions as we advance our own ESG journey and build systems to help our customers do the same. It’s a continuous cycle that helps us make the world work better.”

How important are metrics to track the impact of ServiceNow’s ESG initiatives?

Transparency has become a primary issue for a lot of organizations, ultimately because they lack insight into their own ripple effects. Data and analysis must play a bigger role in helping companies deliver on their promises and conform to industry and regulatory standards. At ServiceNow, data collection and management are critical for us to not only increase our accountability, transparency, and trust, but to drive lasting change. Knowing that you can’t manage what you don’t measure, we’re using our own products to do just that. As we make progress against our own goals, we’re building the systems to help customers turn their own ESG strategies into action. Our goal is to be an example that inspires other business leaders everywhere to aim and achieve higher, and to do this, it requires transparency and accountability.

In publishing our second annual Global Impact Report last month, we provided a comprehensive, year-over-year update on our ESG strategy, initiatives, and metrics. The report highlights the progress we’ve made against our ambitions and outlines what we need in order to accomplish our future goals.

Will you discuss ServiceNow’s commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workforce?

At ServiceNow, we believe that where we focus, we make progress. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is not merely an “HR program” or “corporate initiative,” but a moral imperative for all of us. With this in mind, we established a collective leadership commitment to listen, to have difficult conversations, and to take action with transparency.

Over the past five years, we’ve grown from 6,000 employees to nearly 18,000 and all the while we’ve listened, we’ve learned, and we’ve made an impact. We’ve seen a nearly 10 percent increase in global female leader representation, a nearly 4 percent increase in the representation of under-represented minorities in the U.S., and a 9.2 percent increase in representation of under-represented minorities in leadership in the U.S. We’re also proud to have achieved systemic pay equity since 2020.

Beyond the data, we’ve expanded our DEI learning and virtual reality training programs and created new DEI-focused leadership and executive development programs. We’ve grown total membership in our Employee Belonging Groups to nearly half of our employee base. Additionally, we’ve launched and fully distributed a $100 million Racial Equity Fund to drive sustainable wealth creation by funding homeownership, entrepreneurship, and neighborhood revitalization within Black communities across the U.S. We also created a Center of Excellence for Accessibility to ensure that our products provide an optimal experience for all users.

Do you feel that there are strong opportunities for women to grow and lead in the industry?

Yes – my own journey shows that women can grow in tech, but it takes organizations like ServiceNow to lead by example and foster that growth and opportunity. As I mentioned, our 2022 DEI Report data showed impressive progress toward elevating women leaders – we grew global female leader representation by nearly 10 percent. And we’re not stopping there.

Our bench of brilliant women leaders continues to grow. This year, Karen Pavlin joined ServiceNow as Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer, bringing new vision and leadership to help us execute our bold new DEI strategy. We named Jacqui Canney our new Chief People Officer in July 2021, leading all aspects of talent strategy, including DEI, for our rapidly growing workforce. And, with our CFO, Gina Mastantuono, at the helm of our ESG efforts, we’re ensuring equality is woven into the strategic business and stakeholder investment decisions that the company makes. I personally feel supported and empowered to make my own impact on this organization and beyond, and I’m inspired every day by the women I work alongside.

What are your priorities for ServiceNow’s ESG work as you look to the future?

We’re extremely proud of the pace we’ve set and the progress we’ve made so far, but we know we have more work to do and we’re always dreaming bigger. It’s my number one job to listen to and learn from our stakeholders to both help us better support the people and communities we serve and enable ServiceNow to be a force multiplier for change.

This year, as we outlined in our Global Impact Report 2022, we’re focused on: continuing to deliver solutions on the Now Platform that help address our customers’ risks and opportunities; expanding our carbon neutrality commitment and continuing to meet 100 percent renewable electricity; developing our roadmap for our 2026 near-term SBTi targets with a focus on supply chain engagement and responsible procurement; delivering a new enterprise-wide strategic workforce plan and location strategy focused on underserved communities; delivering a new DEI framework; and accelerating our impact in communities by increasing donations, volunteerism, and scaling the NextGen Professionals digital skills program.

We have big ambitions as we advance our own ESG journey and build systems to help our customers do the same. It’s a continuous cycle that helps us make the world work better.