Driving diversity and inclusion through golf sponsorships

Driving diversity and inclusion through golf sponsorships

In an era of rapid globalization and constant innovation, the importance of diversity and inclusion in business cannot be overstated. As a global organisation with more than 195,000 professionals operating in 52+ countries in 6 continents, our combination of nationalities makes us a naturally diverse company. However, the road to true inclusion is about bringing everyone along and ensuring everyone's voice is heard. At NTT DATA, we place this at the heart of everything we do. Not only does this build a sense of belonging, where every team member feels valued and can contribute their best work, but there is also an undeniable link between diversity, inclusion, and business success.

When organizations embrace diversity, they bring together individuals with unique backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. This diversity of thought sparks innovation, fosters creativity, and drives problem-solving. By harnessing the power of diversity and fostering inclusion, businesses can tap into a wide range of perspectives and talents, leading to better decision-making, increased employee engagement, improved customer satisfaction, and ultimately, enhanced business performance. Organizations that prioritize diversity and inclusion not only attract top talent but also thrive in today's global marketplace, where diverse customers and stakeholders demand representation and authentic connections. Inclusivity is no longer just a moral imperative; it has become a strategic advantage for businesses that want to stay competitive and achieve long-term success.

NTT DATA passionately believes in these values and takes actionable steps to create a truly inclusive work culture, while also supporting wider initiatives that amplify inclusivity.

Demonstrating our commitment to DEI through our sports sponsorships

As well as building internal initiatives, we believe it's important to amplify underrepresented voices externally too. One such example of this can be seen in the sports sponsorships we choose to invest in – not just financially, but also with our expertise too. We've been a proud sponsor of The Open as the official IT provider for golf's original Championship for over a decade and were excited to extend our patronage last year to the women's game – the AIG Women's Open.

The Women's Open is the most international major in women's golf and is the undisputed leading event in the game. NTT DATA proudly sponsors the prestigious tournament, which provides a great opportunity for us to champion inclusivity and amplify progress for women in both business and sport. Our sponsorship reflects our commitment to meaningful change and promoting equality.

Women's golf continues to increase in popularity and with the work The R&A are doing to open up the sport to become more accessible for all, we are honoured to be part of this movement, and hope to continue momentum over the coming years.

We also see golf as perfect match for NTT DATA for a number of reasons. Not only is the sport inherently data-driven, but it's also naturally inclusive. Golf embraces individuals of diverse abilities, ages, and genders to partake in friendly competition on an equal footing. Through its unique handicap system, golf enables players with different skill levels to compete fairly and justly. Whether one is a seasoned pro or a beginner taking their first swing, the game offers an inclusive space where everyone can engage, derive pleasure, and embrace the challenges it presents.

We are proud to support The R&A on its mission to increase the number of people playing all formats of golf and the frequency of play, together with improving the perception of the sport.

Championing success 

As part of our patronage of the AIG Women's Open, we've launched a series entitled Champions in Conversation, featuring conversations between NTT DATA's top talent and golf champions.

The series aims to highlight the aligned and differing challenges faced by women at the top of their game in different sectors, while sharing ideas for tackling these challenges and providing inspiration for the next generation. The series, which launched earlier this year on International Women's Day has so far broadcast three episodes in which top female golfers from all over the world have met with some of NTT DATA's leading female executives to discuss their achievements in the boardroom, at work, at home and on the sporting field.

In the latest episode, Kyoko Sugiyama, Deputy Head of Global Marketing & Communications at NTT DATA, spoke with Ashleigh Buhai, the 2022 AIG Women's Open Champion to discuss their careers so far; including the successes and challenges they have faced along the way. Interestingly, despite their differing careers from the worlds of business and sport, they share striking similarities in their career paths, from their appreciation of mentors, and entering male-dominated industries, to tackling working in other countries, and dealing with mental challenges in day-to-day life today.

In the episode the golfing Champion talks about how she came to win the title at the AIG Women's Open in 2022: "Going into Sunday, I had a five-shot lead, which in golf is a huge advantage. But it's also one of the most difficult things to do because you then start to protect it and play maybe too cautiously, instead of keep attacking, play smart, which was my goal for the day. I was in the lead the whole way until the 15th hole and I had a triple Bogey, which is bad in golf and ended up being tied for the lead. So mentally, it was a big mind switch. I had to stay strong. And I just said to myself, it's okay, you haven't lost the lead. Just keep doing what you're doing, which, for me in golf was staying with the process, you know, sticking to your steps, which I was trying to do like breathing. And then I went into a formal playoff. It was getting dark, it was cold, so all the elements were against us. And then finally hit it and had a really good bunker and it was the best moment of my career."

Similarly, Kyoko shares insights on one of her biggest moments in her career, which was also the most challenging - when she was relocated to India: "My boss had recommended me to go to India to support an offshoring project, but I had never experienced work with non-Japanese before and, of course, never experienced working abroad, so I was nervous. At first, I declined the recommendation, but he said, 'please enjoy and embrace the challenges in your life' and that pushed me to go to India.

"There were different rankings, a different culture, and a different way of thinking, and it was all challenging for me. But I really appreciate my Indian colleagues, who really supported me. It was a really interesting experience, and a really important experience for me."

Ultimately, Kyoko and Ashleigh share similar perspectives on the need to always learn and improve, while focusing on thinking about what is in your control now to approach situations with a calm manner. They also discuss the need for a strong team around you of individuals you can trust, and who support you through the tough times as well as celebrating the good times with you – one team.

To watch the full, inspiring conversation, and learn the meaning behind one of Ashleigh's mantra's, which Kyoko is now taking into her work - slow is smooth, smooth is fast – watch here:

NTT DATA is proud to support female talent, both through our sponsorships and our employees. This support and sponsorship empowers all those to continue to take on challenges and further their careers.


At NTT DATA, we believe that true innovation and progress thrive when people with unique backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences come together. As an organisation that strives to build an inclusive workplace, we are keen to champion all talent and build an inclusive workforce.

If you'd like to know how we can help you with your ambitions, .

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