Mara Zavagno - Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer and Vice President Talent, Engagement and Rewards at Konecranes
By the Editorial staff
Hi Mara, you are the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Konecranes, a Finnish headquartered company. Can you speak about your job in D&I?
My journey started in February 2019, when I was appointed for the role. I am passionate about Diversity and Inclusion, and am honoured to be the first holder of the position within the company, which operates in an industry where female representation is still quite low. Konecranes has made a clear commitment to improve in this area, valuing D&I as an important business asset and cornerstone for corporate responsibility, and I have taken on the responsibilities with purpose and enthusiasm. I’ve learnt a lot during this period of time, not only professionally but most importantly personally. You think and observe the world around you differently; you ask yourself questions you didn’t ask before, confronting yourself every day with your biases and working according to the principle that everyone matters.
What makes D&I important to your company? And does your company have a defined D&I strategy?
In Konecranes we recognize D&I as a foundation of our culture. It is part of our corporate responsibility approach and part of the business agenda. It helps us recognise the needs of our customers and the multicultural communities where we operate, and we benefit from the full spectrum of talent that we are committed to attract, nurture and develop. We embrace the principle with a holistic perspective and in all our processes. We crafted our vision/strategy two years ago, aiming to take an industry leadership role and to build an inclusion culture where everyone can feel themselves. We built up targets and roadmaps, creating solid foundations and broad awareness. Looking back, we honored our initial commitments. Now that the basics are in place, we will increase our ambition to capture all the benefits of this culture and to play our role as a socially responsible company.
It looks like you are in an interesting step of your journey. Can you talk more about that and how do you perceive the future of D&I work in your organisation?
Since January 2021 we have a new vision. With our talented people and partners, we want to represent the multicultural communities where we operate and provide the best for our customers. We do this through our “4T” strategy, which describes the culture and mindset to which we aspire: Transforming, Talented, Trusted and Together. On this basis, we consider all diversity dimensions and are working both globally and locally to have goals that represent our ambition. Gender diversity is at the top of our agenda, and we have defined goals that include gender balance in leadership roles as well as in the entire organization. We also focus on the STEM area (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), which is crucial when looking to the future. While doing so, we also work on our sense of awareness and unconscious biases to make sure that the work environment is inclusive and people can fully be who they are. We engage people in discussions and sharing ideas; last year we created “Coffee and Culture”, our internal webinars dedicated to inclusion and togetherness.
Mara, how do you make sure that Diversity is embedded in the talent definition?
Talents is part of the 4T strategy in our D&I Vision: We want to attract, retain and benefit from a wide spectrum of ideas. This includes people of all ages, genders, ethnicities, religions, disabilities, sexual orientations, and backgrounds. That requires robust inclusion practices and policies as we have implemented in our Talent management and Recruitment practices, and in multiple channels of dialogues focus groups and initiatives that values the diversity of mind.
What are your particularly proud of in this journey?
I am very proud of our people's engagement and enthusiasm. I am also very proud that D&I is not just a “nice to have”, but it is part of our business plans and goals, and we take it seriously in our daily work.
What would be your top tip for someone who wants to promote D&I in his/her organization?
Make the challenge visible, and drive accountability in the organization: D&I is a matter for everyone, not just a single person. Be aware and communicate the importance of managing unconscious biases. Listen, and stay close to the people, acknowledging cultural differences. Engage the organization and activate people’s ideas and enthusiasm. Establish processes and practices that guide understanding. Be authentic in your journey and think how you can make a difference every day!