22 Dic 2021

What were you like when you were young- er? How were you educated? How did your parents’ cultural diversity influence your growth?

Growing up mixed German and Afro-Indigenous in a Franconian village, my identity was always very disruptive. My parents always tried to fill our bookshelves with literature about Indigenous and African history, while we spent our summers visiting my German farmers family. This helped me honour each part of my identity. I learned there is beauty and pow- er in our differences, and we shouldn’t be afraid to take up space, even if the space wasn’t created for us.

What did you study? Did you study in your country or abroad?

I have a Master’s in Global Digital Culture from SOAS Uni- versity of London and a Bachelor’s in International Business, having studied across Germany, Spain, and Malaysia. My research focussed on cultural branding strategies and how digital media connects diverse communities.

What was your first role and what expectations did you have when you started there?

I found my talent for branding quite early on as I started work- ing in my teens, promoting local sports clubs I trained at. While studying, I started my first business in Kuala Lumpur, as the Malaysian start-up scene was much more advanced than the German one at the time. The innate diversity of the country made it an exciting place to learn about cultural awareness in branding.

How have you seen diversity and inclusion change in the last 5 years?

We’ve seen companies move from a traditional ESG strategy – that often served as employer branding, and a PR tool – to realising that DEI practices should be the standard. Social justice movements have highlighted that younger generations won’t remain silent in the face of injustice. Customers, talents, and communities expect companies not only to re- duce harm but to proactively create opportunities for diverse talents. While there has been growth, many brands still miss the mark regarding what consumers, and especially Gen Z and Alpha, are truly after.

What does diversity mean to you?

Diversity means impact, for individuals just like for brands. For talents, diversity means competitive advantage. Your

unique experiences will help you understand what impact you can have. For brands, diversity is a key driver for growth. Purpose-driven companies are not only more profitable but can role model change in an entire industry.

What are your key commitments?

Through my work, I connect diverse communities with pur- pose-driven brands. A key focus for me as a consultant is to harness the power of diversity, purpose, and culture for brand success by connecting with and amplifying diverse community insights. This has proven successful in commu- nity projects I’ve led, with brands like Adidas, Google and Zalando. BIPOC professionals are still underrepresented in many industries. Through my platform and the Shared Diver- sity podcast, I am committed to providing free resources that help diverse founders and talents build their personal brands for industry recognition.

Why is diversity a strategic lever for sustainable growth?

Two key words stand out here – diversity and sustainability. You cannot drive purposeful work without a sustainable approach. And you cannot grow sustainably without diversity of experience, thought, and identity. Companies with high levels of purpose outperform the market by up to 7% per year – and they grow and innovate at a faster rate. If you want to keep up, purpose (both in terms of DEI and sustainability), should be your guiding principle.

What are the issues that need to be resolved today and what positive changes does the near future bring? How would you like to effect change?
When we measure success, companies often look at single diversity dimensions (race, ability, faith, gender, etc.). The hu- man experience goes much deeper, evolving from neat boxes to intersectionality. My goal is to provide a bridge between diverse communities and purpose-seeking brands. Moving from an ‘us vs. them’ to an ‘us vs. the problem’ approach. Change is about driving both sustainable community and brand impact.

How do you define an inclusive workplace?

A place where diverse and often marginalized identities feel a sense of belonging and where their unique viewpoints and tal- ents are recognized and appreciated. For a truly inclusive work- place, equity is a priority. To give everyone access to the same opportunities and create a space that’s built for everyone.

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