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Celebrating our Diverse Cultures and Backgrounds

by | Oct 16, 2023 | Careers

Karen Simpson, Managing Director—Africa, on how teams across Africa were invited to showcase their diversity during their recent Africa Quarterly Update.

In South Africa, September is Heritage Month when South Africans celebrate our many different cultures and remind ourselves about the power of our diversity. We challenged our teams across Africa to showcase their diversity during our recent Africa Quarterly Update. I was struck by how differently our teams chose to share their perspectives, show what unites us, and demonstrate how our differences make our teams even more powerful.

The presentations were creative, courageous, and inspiring and prompted me to reflect on how important it is for us all to be able to bring our authentic selves to work, to feel safe to express ourselves in a way that makes sense to us, to share our different perspectives as equals and to challenge each other to think differently. I was reminded again about our role as colleagues to create that space for each other and our responsibility as managers to hire and empower people who think differently from us to make our teams and our business stronger.

I always feel honoured when people share their successes with me, but I feel most privileged when someone feels safe enough to say “I am not okay” or to challenge the dominant view without fear. We can’t be authentic or truly creative or confident at work if we are forced to deny parts of ourselves. We must also acknowledge that some of us need a little more support than others and we all have a responsibility to play that critical role and enable a safe and inclusive culture. Being an active ally is all about being a consistent advocate for less heard voices. In Africa our HR team regularly runs Wellness Days for colleagues to assess their health, consult professionals and have some fun together.

Here are some photos from the day

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