Ms. Archana “Archie” Deskus has been the Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Baker Hughes Incorporated since January 2013. She oversees all aspects of information technology globally and partners with business leaders in executing transformational projects that enhance operational and business capabilities. Prior to joining Baker Hughes, she was Vice President and Chief Information Officer with Ingersoll-Rand Plc. Before joining Ingersoll Rand in 2011, she was Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at the Timex Group for four years. Previously, she was with United Technologies for 19 years, where she grew through a variety of leadership roles in multiple businesses, including Pratt & Whitney Aircraft and Carrier Corporation. Her last position at United Technologies was as Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Carrier’s HVAC business in North America.
Ms. Deskus holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Management Information Systems from Boston University and a Master of Business Administration from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Baker Hughes Incorporated (NYSE: BHI) provides technology and services that enable oil and gas companies to deliver safe, affordable energy to the world. The company has been in business for more than a century and employs 53,000-plus people in more than 80 countries.
At the core of the Baker Hughes DNA is innovation in the design and construction of, and production from, oil and gas wells. Today, that technology leadership creates value by developing new ways to help customers improve well construction efficiency, integrating technology and services to develop new solutions that accelerate and optimize hydrocarbon production, and researching new ways to increase ultimate recovery.
Baker Hughes held its first STEM event in 2013, inviting 22 students to visit its drill bit manufacturing facility in The Woodlands, Texas. The success of the program, and positive feedback throughout the industry is propelling the company to expand its STEM program worldwide.
Talent Pipeline: Status of the education system. Challenges and opportunities in developing a technology workforce.
Transforming our education system is essential to improving our future workforce. We must adjust our educational approach to keep up with the pace of change, provide for targeted and customized learning, and create pathways for continued and lifelong development. To accomplish this, changes are needed at all levels of the education system, along with stronger partnerships between schools, academic/research institutions and corporations.
We must inspire children in early education and foster the development of STEM skills to encourage interest in science, technology, math, and engineering careers. Schools, working with corporations, can target areas where we face our biggest challenges in STEM and make learning exciting, challenging, and desirable. Technology should be leveraged for a more customized and adaptive learning experience. When children start with an early interest in STEM, we increase the chances they will choose and continue in a STEM field.
At the college level, even further advancements are needed. Students enter the education system to earn a four-year degree, but by graduation, some of what they’ve learned is no longer relevant. We are preparing students for jobs that don’t exist today; using technologies that haven’t been invented to solve problems that we don’t know are problems yet. It’s critical that we adjust our educational approach in order to keep pace. A more dynamic system needs to be developed to meet the needs of the workplace and changing technology.
Role of continued education.
Today’s workforce no longer earns their degree, enters the workforce, and then remains with the same company or career for life. There has been a fundamental shift in the workplace, and in the future a majority of the workforce will have multiple jobs and even careers throughout their lives.
With the speed of innovation and rapid technology advancement, continuous learning is crucial to keep our skills current, and to stay relevant. This learning will come about in a variety of ways. In addition to formal learning, today, we have on-the-job-training, mentorships, summits, online classes, plus many more options to choose from.
One thing is certain, a degree is only the first step in a lifetime of learning—at graduation the journey has just begun. And as people grow in their STEM careers, learning becomes increasingly self-initiated.
What Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) does your company have in place? How is your company encouraging more women, girls and minorities to enter STEM careers? What support groups does your company have in place for women in the STEM pipeline?
Baker Hughes has two main ERGs: the Women’s Resource Group (WRG) and the Veteran’s
Resource Group. I am proud to be the executive sponsor of the Baker Hughes North America WRG. Our objective is to build an inclusive culture that values the diversity of the global workforce, mirrors the demographics of our customer base, and sustains an environment in which employees—both men and women—can reach their ultimate potential.
Through a variety of WRG events, we strive to support the advancement of STEM careers for both genders and bridge collaboration with others in the energy and technology industries.
The WRG, in collaboration with one of our customers, recently launched an exciting new initiative: Million Women Mentors. Through this initiative we are working to mobilize one million mentors—male and female—for young girls and women, instilling confidence, and empowering them to pursue careers in STEM-based industries.
The importance of women and minorities.
According to a study conducted by the American Association of University Women, the number of women in computer and mathematical occupations has fallen from 35% in 1990 to 26% in 2013. Women in engineering roles has increased a mere 3% (from 9% to 12%) since 1990. The numbers are even lower for Hispanic, African American, and American Indian women.
How can we reverse this downward trend? We must see more women in STEM leadership roles if we want to inspire the young women in our workforce to continue breaking the barriers in their own careers. A workforce should reflect the demographics of the world in which we operate. A diverse workforce, including those from different backgrounds, experiences, genders, and thought processes, is key to increased innovation, heightened problem solving, and ultimately superior performance.
However, a diverse workforce alone is not sufficient. There must also be a strong focus on inclusion to ultimately bring together a diverse workforce to create a culture of engagement, where differences are valued. Innovation, high productivity, and great thinking occur when you have a diverse team that feels included and engaged.
What advice do you have for minorities and women progressing through the system?
Always deliver outstanding results. Successful people take responsibility, are accountable, and will overcome any obstacles. They are driven and work hard, but most importantly, they stay laser focused on delivering results.
Be flexible and take risks – It takes courage, but taking risks encourages growth. Define your career aspirations, values, and goals. If an opportunity aligns, have courage, take a risk, and go for it. Do not fear change, but rather embrace new challenges and opportunities that come your way.
Build a meaningful network – Relationships are critical in business as in life. Whether to augment your own skills, seek help on a work assignment, or look for a new opportunity, a strong network can be a great asset in helping you achieve your goals.
Embrace being different – Being in the minority can be daunting, but don’t run from it, welcome it! You are unique, which gives you something distinctive to offer. Then persevere; build your skill set, experience, and mindset so that your leaders will take risks on you. Eventually, as you take charge, stay in the game, and deliver because you are no longer a risk, but the safe choice.