Why becoming a mother has made McAfee’s CHRO more aware of prejudices

4 min read | Chatelle Lynch | Article | | People and culture

Man, woman and four children

In each issue of the Hays Journal, we invite someone to discuss a life-changing moment. Chatelle Lynch is Chief human resources Officer of Cyber security company McAfee. She explains how having children has made her more aware than ever of the prejudices many groups face, and how this has pushed her to tackle these challenges in her work.

Growing up in Australia, I had a pretty clichéd small hometown childhood, but my father loved to travel and we went to a lot of different countries. That started my love of other cultures and at an early age I became a little enamoured with the US.

I did an internship at Colorado State University and after I finished my degree in Australia, I wrote to every company I could think of to get an internship. One company replied to me and they ended up hiring me in an HR role.

I left that role when my husband and I moved to Texas, which was when I joined McAfee, and I’ve now been here for 15 years. I’ve grown through the company to become Chief Human Resources Officer.


Learning lessons from family

I’m married to an amazing man who happens to be African American, and together we have four African American children. I have never been more aware of what inclusion means since having children. I thought I had a good handle on it, but people making overt references to my children’s skin colour is something I’ve noticed.

Recently my eldest son, who is 11, said to me: “I know that there’s equal rights now. I know that even back when Dad was born, you wouldn’t have been able to get married because you were white and Dad was black. I think we’ve done well with the equal rights, but I don’t think there’s equal respect, Mum. I don’t understand why people get pulled over just because they’re black. I don’t understand why there’s not the respect there, even though equal rights are.”

It hit me so hard that he recognises the difference between rights and respect, and those are the things I’m mindful of.

With my girls, sometimes I see nuances in how they are treated too. My daughter sometimes gets called bossy. I tell her: “No, you’re not bossy, you’re a leader.”


Creating diverse opportunities at McAfee

At McAfee we asked ourselves how we could give children exposure to new experiences so that they think differently about their futures. Our answer was to create the McAfee Explorers programme. It brings children into the workplace from around the age of 11 to spend a day with an engineer, a data scientist or an IT specialist, or any other professional within our organisation, to give them exposure to a profession that maybe they couldn’t have experienced otherwise.

We’re also working to ensure our staff are treated equally. In December 2018, the World Economic Forum calculated that it would be 202 years before we reach gender pay parity around the world. That is entirely too long and at McAfee we’re committing to achieving full pay parity this year.

Despite these challenges, I am so encouraged by the progress that I’ve seen in my short career. For my kids, I want to see a world where people are respected. Sometimes people approach it like it’s too big a problem or like they can’t make a difference, but collectively we all can.


About this author

Chatelle Lynch, Chief Human Resources Officer

Chatelle Lynch is Chief Human Resources Officer of McAfee – a cyber security company. She oversees compensation, benefits, rewards and recognition, human resources systems, human resources services, and workforce intelligence, along with learning, development, and talent. Chatelle was previously head of human resources for Intel Security.

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