It is only in the last five years that Diversity & Inclusion started to play a role in my life. Before, I never really had an idea what to do with it and I never was really paying much attention to this topic. In the mean time, being involved changed my life. I think differently about what is valuable in life and where to pay attention and put effort in. It is about creating opportunities for others, reshaping culture towards more opportunity and more positive energy. If you have the luck to experience this, it will become a value worthwhile to embrace.
I have a technical background, but very soon shifted in my career towards strategy and innovation. I was really lucky to build experience in a fundamentally changing organisation at Philips Lighting and the opportunity to co-drive this transformation. A very good learning opportunity.
Already at Philips, but for sure after my Philips-life, I get often invited to tell my story about Diversity & Inclusion. But I also learned from this. I noticed many organisations although maybe inspired where not able to reproduce this kind of transition. The important lesson is that procedures, processes, structures you can to some extent copy – paste into other organisations, but D&I is about norms & values, unconscious biases, behavior and attitude and is a transformation at the core of an organisational culture.
On one side, there is a lot of potential in humanity that is not developed or not used and on the other side, there is this same humanity struggling with gigantic problems. We do no longer have the luxury to exclude this potential or let it turn against us, because we don’t care.