08 Mar 2024

Empowering Voices: Insights from Inspirational Women on Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

The 8th March marks International Women’s Day each year. On this day, the global community comes together to celebrate the achievements of women and calls for action to create a gender equal world. This year the theme is ‘Inspire Inclusion’ which aims to foster a culture where everyone’s differences are valued and accepted.

To celebrate International Women’s Day at Intertek we interviewed inspirational women from across the business to understand why they believe diversity and inclusion are important in the workplace and what advice they’d give to women starting their careers.

Why do you think it’s important to see diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

Saskia Hansen-Beck, Global Key Account Director, Food - The word consists of so many different people and that should be reflected in the workplace in the same way. Diversity and inclusion are crucial as a diverse workforce brings together so many people of different backgrounds, views, and different values. This mix fosters creativity and new solutions to find new ideas together. It’s so important for everyone to feel respected, valued and seen.

Sandra Meixner, Global Program Manager ATIC Food Authenticity Services - Our world is huge and complex and we need different people who reflect our whole society with different perspectives, experiences and ideas to be a successful, diverse team, stimulate collaboration within and between the teams and lead to better solutions.

Ayesha Kanth, Director C&P NA and Global Food Services - Diversity is important because that's what drives innovation, improves decision-making, and attracts top talent. It's also very important in understanding diverse consumer needs.

Lisa Marie Rossetti, Branch Manager, Caleb Brett - I think equal opportunity should apply to anyone who is willing to work hard and share valuable life lesson ideas.

Judy Carranza, Lead Coordinator, Caleb Brett - Seeing diversity and inclusion in the workplace is crucial because it brings together a wide range of perspectives, experiences, and ideas. It creates a more vibrant and innovative environment where everyone feels valued and included. Plus, diverse teams often lead to better decision-making and problem-solving. It's all about embracing and celebrating our differences to create a stronger and more inclusive work culture.

What message would you like to send to young women who are starting their careers?

Ayesha Kanth, Director C&P NA and Global Food Services - To all the young women embarking on their careers I want to say that we've come a long way. A McKinsey 2023 report on women in the North American workplace highlights a very important and positive trend. Since 2015, the representation in the C level, especially for women, has increased from 17% to 28%. There is also a significant improvement in the VP and SVP roles. I’d say that is a testament to our collective resilience and the opportunities ahead of you, so believe in your potential. Pursue your passions, know that your contributions matter and that you're part of a movement driving positive change.

Saskia Hansen-Beck, Global Key Account Director, Food – Firstly, I would tell them that they need to believe in themselves. Secondly, you need to remember that you can only grow if you're willing to never stop learning. Seek advice from colleagues and mentors who provide different perspectives or have experience in an area you want to grow in. It’s also important to regularly check in on your career path to see if you are still on track to meet your goals.

Sandra Meixner, Global Program Manager ATIC Food Authenticity Services - Be authentic and stand up for your values. Seek out a female mentor who inspires and supports you throughout your career. Develop your network and have fun.

Barbara Taubenheim, Branch Manager, Caleb Brett - Set goals, ask questions, listen to people in your profession with experience, and work on both your skill set and ability to work cooperatively and productively with many different types of people.

Judy Carranza, Lead Coordinator, Caleb Brett - To all the young women starting their careers, I want to say this: believe in yourself and your abilities. You are capable of achieving amazing things. Don't be afraid to take risks, embrace challenges, and pursue your passions. Surround yourself with supportive mentors and allies who will uplift and inspire you. Remember, your voice matters, so speak up and make your ideas heard. And most importantly, never stop learning and growing. You've got this!

To hear more from our inspirational women you can watch our series of videos on LinkedIn and listen to the podcast on Assurance in Action.

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