Rackspace Technology Celebrates Women’s History Month in a Discussion with Chief Diversity Officer
by PJ Lovejoy, Senior Manager, Racker Experience & HR Communications, Rackspace Technology
On the heels of being ranked one of the Top 50 Women Leaders of San Antonio for 2023, Rackspace Technology® Chief Diversity Officer Kelly Butler recently shared her career story, experience and insights with fellow Rackers at an event celebrating women in technology for International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month.
The mission of the Professional Organization for Women’s Empowerment at Rackspace Technology (or POWER, as it’s known internally) is to create a community where women thrive and drive greatness through unity, support and growth in an environment of trust, freedom and accountability. Alongside eight other global Racker Resource Groups, POWER helps create a sense of belonging by offering women and allies professional development, networking and opportunities to give back.
At Rackspace Technology, Butler is responsible for global people strategy and solutions, as well as diversity, inclusion and belonging (DIB). Her goal is to enable better business outcomes through a diverse, highly engaged and high-performing workforce.
When mentoring students and young professionals, Butler advises them to choose a general direction for their career that includes opportunities to learn and build skills in new areas.
“Think about what you can learn from every opportunity — it might be a technical skill, presentation skills, project management or leadership skills. And remember, you build confidence by jumping in and doing something new,” Butler said. “I never imagined a mathematics degree would lead me to where I am today. But I followed a path into many unknown areas, found great role models and mentors, and took leaps of faith throughout my career.”
That career path is an interesting and “fun journey,” as she describes it. “Everything you do teaches what you’re good at, what you’re interested in, and sometimes, what you’re not interested in doing.”
From guiding pack trips on horseback in the Rocky Mountains and studying to become an FBI agent, to leading technology development at organizations like Dell® Technologies and Accenture, today Butler serves as the Senior Vice President of Global HR and Chief Diversity Officer at Rackspace Technology.
“When I first moved into HR, I wasn’t sure it was the right place for me after working in sales and directly with clients for so many years,” Butler said. “Then I got excited, because I realized I was in a position to influence the company and its culture in a big way. I had the ability to do things that would connect with and support everyone — from frontline employees to the leaders of the company.”
It’s this type of impact that lies at the core of the company’s DIB strategy. We want Rackers across the business to actively think of ways they can unleash innovation to make a positive impact for our customers — and also for one another as allies.
“We want representation from all kinds of backgrounds, cultures and experiences. We want people to be their authentic selves,” Butler said. “Each one of us brings a unique perspective and set of experiences to our jobs. That variety makes our end products and services so much better for the world.”
When asked what International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month means to her, Butler answered, “It’s an important time to acknowledge the contributions that women have made throughout history. It’s also meaningful to pause and recognize the women who came before us and blazed new paths in so many ways — and to be sure we’re doing the same for the next wave of talent coming along with us.”
Butler is passionate about helping others discover how excellence, perspective and balance are keys to happiness and success. She believes in the power of the whole person and taking action on the things each person cares about.
To this end, Butler’s volunteer work includes serving as the Board Secretary for the Bands of CTJ Foundations and several pet rescue charities. She regularly gives back to her community, including through events hosted by Rackspace Technology and using the 40 hours of paid volunteer time offered by the company.
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