Richard Templeton is the chairman, president and CEO, Texas Instruments Inc., a global semiconductor design and manufacturing company. Here, he discusses inclusion and diversity and how they have made TI a stronger company.
Tell us a little about your background.
I joined TI in 1980 after earning a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Union College in New York. I spent the bulk of my operational career in the company’s semiconductor business, beginning in sales.
How has diversity and inclusion changed at Texas Instruments since you became CEO?
Diversity and inclusion have always been important at TI. We believe diversity fuels innovation by bringing different viewpoints and perspectives together to ignite different ways of thinking and inspire new approaches to problem-solving.
One example of our commitment to diversity is our grassroots, employee-led diversity network. Having started as a single resource group 25 years ago, the network now boasts more than 20 diversity initiatives across TI.
We have also nurtured diversity in our supply chain for several decades through initiatives to attract and support minority- and women-owned businesses, especially in North Texas near our headquarters.
Inclusion is an integral part of the way we do business. In an environment of almost constant, dynamic change, it is critical that every employee thrives and has the opportunity to take part in the company’s success.
As Texas Instruments looks at the changing market demographics and its diverse customer base, how will these shifts impact your human resources diversity talent pool? How does diversity and inclusion fit into Texas Instruments’ vision for the future?
Diversity and inclusion are critical to our continued success. The pace of change and the dynamic nature of our business make diversity — as well as innovation — an imperative. Ensuring that our workforce and supply base mirror the demographics of our customers and communities helps us better understand their needs and design innovative products and solutions that meet those needs. A strong market for minority- and women-owned businesses contributes to the stability of the regional economy because these companies create more jobs and employ more people in the communities where we work and live, attracting great talent to our backyard.
What should diverse suppliers who want to provide goods and services to Texas Instruments be prepared to bring to the table? What advice would you give to applicants aspiring to work for Texas Instruments?
The tech industry — and particularly the chip industry — is a place of constant change. Diverse suppliers should focus on being competitive and understanding our business. They should learn about our company, culture, products and challenges, so they can develop and offer solutions that are cost-competitive, effective and sustainable. Suppliers that innovate and build on their strengths — while pushing to exceed expectations — are the ones that win and maintain business at TI. Most importantly though, all suppliers must commit to and abide by TI’s core values of integrity, innovation and commitment.
What are you most passionate about and what drives you to be your best self?
I am an engineer. I like to solve problems. When I wake up in the morning, I’m excited to go to work because for 35 years, my job has offered me challenge after challenge and opportunity after opportunity. I give each challenge my all in order to learn from it and use those lessons to take on the next challenge and the next.
Looking to the future, where do you see acceptance for diversity and inclusion in the year 2020?
For companies that want to attract great talent and stay competitive, we are long past the point of acceptance for diversity and inclusion. It has to be a way of life. But even beyond competitiveness, as humans we spend about one-third of our adult lives working (according to the World Health Organization). I want to work in a place that not only accepts, but also values the differences each of us bring to the office each day.