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Diversity & Inclusion - Equality is what led me here...

Updated: Jan 8, 2019

Many people ask me; what drives you to do this, its hectic, complex & difficult. Yes. My answer is simple; because I can and we need it, now. I am a change agent - a catalyst - and have found a unique way to bring my skills together and pay it forward. As human rights advocate, operations manager and interlocutor, I work with many people from different places in countless contexts which makes diversity and inclusion the norm in my mindset. Equality is ethics, the base from where I operate. The role of catalyst was born a long time ago supporting teams, advising board decisions and contributing to management strategy. I navigate cultures, organisations and personalities with excitement. Work often focuses on strategic analysis - mapping the current situation for an organisation and then charting the way forward in a specific context. Negotiation, open communication and managing or mediating conflict - be it altercations or organisational risk, characterizes a type of leadership which renders positive relations and results inter-departmentally, in multicultural, agile and remote teams. We have coined the term diversity and inclusion but it is no more than broad equality in action, although I encounter more trepidation than action in my experience, it is why this role serves a specific purpose. I have said many times, diversity is at its minimum representation and inclusion at its best equality. As a catalyst, I bring this to life, from planting the seed, nurturing gestation to embedding an additional dynamic in the organisational culture. Facilitating dialogue is the first layer of this process and should remain ongoing however after initial analysis; structures, processes, policies and leadership may need to accommodate an extra mindset to be equal, diverse and inclusive. As a manager, employee and in the realm of public or stakeholder engagement, I encounter detailed human interaction with a vast array of professions which I have learned and continue to learn the most from. Scoping analyses & investigative work are core elements of building projects, managing teams and controlling operations, and with that, I spend a great deal of time studying people and their behaviour in various settings, including those where threats to security are heightened. Those trained in interpersonal communication and handling conflict show confidence in their work and that emotional intelligence can be broken down into specific elements which benefit the team. These people manage to keep focus despite problems, the internal tumult and effects it has on the team. Of course, I witnessed behaviour that was intimidating, aggressive, illegal and classified misconduct. I have seen and faced discrimination first hand as a woman, as being different, as a migrant, a person of colour, for being assertive, for being vocal, for being an advocate, for where I came from....it was clear. Discrimination is damaging - the body keeps the score but I found ways to tackle, counter and expose it. This motivates me to change things for everyone that faces it. I would like to teach HR and managers to deal with this more effectively, how discrimination cases should be handled from the outset, so we protect employees rights and observe labour laws that are put in place for that purpose. There will always be a great need to train staff in the basics of relationship management ( which we previously had in place and often skip) and allow team dialogue on subjects that are not common knowledge or need a platform. Understanding that elements of communication, conflict & bias are fundamental to optimal relations and team dynamics, is key. Sometimes a team mediator can help facilitate conversations that allow distillation of key concepts and to understand different vantage points and perceptions. So here I am, I will continue to blog on the subjects I raise here. I remain dedicated to incorporating human rights in all I do. I believe in kindness and respect as a basic courtesy. I work from my heart and intuition, that steers much of how I interact with others and the way I lead a context analysis in order to craft a strategy. What do my peers say about me? I offer smiles & laughter, I generate new ideas and challenge old ones, I find solutions to problems, bring organisation to disarray and warmth to others - as the catalyst rolls. I look forward to this new chapter and to open minds building better workplaces, communities and lives.

Best always

G

passion that led me to be a catalyst for diversity

© 2018 Registered with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce - KvK Amsterdam, The Netherlands  gerri@catalystconsulting.nl