Your Difference Is Your Superpower
Insights and learnings from LMF Life Skills Summit 2022
Diversity in the workplace is a concept that has become a hot topic in recent years. The literature on the subject is abundant, and more companies display diversity as a flagship action.
Diversity is the condition of having many different elements. An example of diversity is a room full of children full of people of diverse backgrounds, ethnicity, and disabilities.
Diversity Equity and inclusion (DE&I) are more than policies, programs, or headcounts. Equitable employers outpace their competitors by respecting their team members’ unique needs, perspectives and potential. As a result, diverse and inclusive workplaces earn their employees’ deeper trust and more commitment.
On 21 July, the LMF Network organized an extremely comprehensive Life Skills Summit as part of the mission to build the careers and confidence of 25,000 people by 2025.
Don’t forget to sign up to get a FREE TRIAL on LMF’s new Career and Inclusion platform: https://bit.ly/3Q0xNq3
One of the panels was entitled “Your difference is your superpower”, and since it is a topic I feel passionate about, I had to attend!
In this panel, there were three exciting panellists:
- Farrah Ekeroth is Head of Employer Brand at EY and leads EY’s recruitment marketing and talent attraction strategy in the UK.
- Rituja Ravikiran Rao is a Senior Enterprise Project Manager at Deliveroo and a strong advocate of skills diversity in Tech. She uses her platforms to raise awareness about no-code tech careers.
- Tanya Marwaha is the Founder & CEO of Championing Youth Minds, which bridges the gaps in our education system surrounding mental health education.
And the moderator was Siwan Smith, Award-winning Diversity, Equality & Inclusion Expert & Speaker and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Arup.
Here are three insights I found the most interesting on this panel.
Diversity is a superpower.
Rituja was the first to express her experience and commented that diversity is the key for a company for employee detention. She started her career in journalism and then shifted to tech. Even though there are some challenges on the way, she said that:
“Diversity is always an asset and not a liability. That was an asset to me because it contributed to giving me unique knowledge insights.”
According to Farrah, a lack of diversity would limit the team’s creativity, and companies would not be able to reflect the audience, especially in the marketing sector where she works. People will thrive and perform more when they are free to express their personality at work.
Talking about being herself at work, Tanya added that:
“Even if I felt fortunate with my jobs because my companies embraced my difference, most of the benefits came from always being honest since the recruitment phase.”
For example, she is introverted; in companies, she finds it difficult to voice her voice heard. Still, she was honest with her boss immediately, which allowed her to be supported in the workplace — like being shared the agenda of the meeting before so she could prepare.
Being honest also will enable you to filter companies and jobs because you don’t want to work in a place that doesn’t value your differences.
Embrace and celebrate your difference…and be kind to yourself.
Tanya suggested embracing and celebrating that difference of yours that could allow you to help many more people. If you see your differences as a negative thing, you will always kind of struggle. Especially now that companies are trying to do something, we are more able to celebrate these differences. If companies don’t appreciate you, they are not a nice place to work in.
Rituja suggested trying to find others with similar things, like an ally, a sponsor, or a mentor. Actively seeking out a senior leader will give you confidence and allow you to grow and progress as a person.
Finally, Farrah mentioned that:
“Everyone is different, which means that what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for others. So, be kind to yourself, try to find your way to accept your differences, be your own cheerleader, and surround yourself with the right people. And worry less about trying to fit in and focus more on your strength, like resilience.”
Companies are not doing enough on diversity and inclusion.
All the panellists’ answers aligned and shared that no, companies are not doing enough. They are making some improvements, and something is happening. The problem is that it has to be an effort from the whole organization, not a limited or partial attempt.
These are just a few of the main takeaways that I take away from this exciting panel.
After attending the LMF Network Life Skills Summit, I will be more aware of my differences and learn what a company is doing regarding Diversity and Inclusion before considering working there.
This blog contribution was made by Eleonora Papini.
Eleonora has 3+ of experience in sustainable development and international cooperation with a background in Economic Development and International Cooperation with Finance.
Her background includes working as a Project Implementation Officer in a European project about urban sustainable development solutions to value the young and female entrepreneurship industry.
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The LMF Network is an education careers platform bridging skills and the gender gap. We know it will take 257 years to achieve gender parity, but that’s too long. Our community trust us to support their development needs, build their confidence and align ourselves with trusted, inclusive partners who can nurture and grow talent to progress in their careers. We’ve upskilled 20,000 people in 3 years — we know what we are fighting for and need your help in creating true equitable change.