Kulturelle Vielfalt ist eine Stärke, die wir bei CONTRACT Deutschland jeden Tag erleben und schätzen, deshalb waren wir besonders neugierig, was unsere Kollegin Chaital Harry in Südafrika aus ihrer Perspektive berichtet. Kaum ein anderes Land zeichnet sich durch eine größere Vielfalt aus. Das Interview mit Chaital hat Tarek Jan Schakib geführt.
Tarek: In which Business-Contexts do you encounter diversity-critical topics?
Chaital: I encounter diversity critical topics in almost all business contexts. Working with people means working with diversity. So knowing how to understand and work with difference is absolutely crucial. I would however say that while diversity is becoming so much more present and visible in organisations, we have not yet gotten to a point of inclusion. There is so much power in having diverse thinking, perspectives and backgrounds.
Tarek: Which are/were pleasant, which are/were unpleasant topics?
Chaital: The pleasant topics are the ones that are growth and understanding oriented, even if they are challenging. When a business really wants to commit to change and inclusion, it can be really challenging and even overwhelming, but is so meaningful and valuable. When someone wants to understand the impact that they have on others, these conversations are emotional, and difficult, but still really positive.
The topics that are unpleasant are the ones where people feel so attached by the concept that they are unwilling to consider differences in opinions, thoughts and people. These situations can feel hopeless at times, but they are necessary to plant the seed for future growth.
Tarek: How do you all live Diversity in the South African Office?
Chaital: We have been running our own internal transformation process, learning about each other, our backgrounds and what has led us to CONTRACT. We have also learnt so much about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in SA and globally through this process. It has been a powerful and meaningful journey for each of us individually and for us collectively. We are all so different and we continuously try to ensure that each person feels included, can bring their voice in, and feels valued for their contribution to our success. We also live diversity through how we position ourselves to clients, ensuring that we always consider diverse facilitators in our proposals and processes to provide more value to the client. Lastly, we live diversity though our contribution to the diversity, equity and inclusion work that we do with clients. Supporting and challenging clients through their DEI processes at an individual, team and business level, has allowed us to really make a significant impact. We are all really passionate about and committed to the topic and love being in the space to support others in finding their way through this complex, important topic.
Tarek: Would you like to share a personal experience?
Chaital: I will share a client experience and a personal experience. Recently in a DEI journey with a large client who we had been working with for months, we had a participant who as a black female in SA, started off the journey saying that all was fine and she had not really felt anything negative towards to her, shift her perspective and understand her responsibility half way through our journey.
With tears in her eyes she said: “I had not realised up until this point how much I have been supressing and ignoring, every experience, comment and moment has such an impact, and while I do not want to hold it against people, I realise now that if I ignore these moments, I am disadvantaging myself and everyone else. I can make an impact for others just by sharing my experiences, calling people out when necessary and being an advocate for inclusion.” This moment was so powerful and so impactful for her, the other participants and for me as a facilitator.
Personally I am constantly learning about my own bias through this work, but one of the most valuable growth points for me has been to realise the power and impact of vulnerability. It has not been something I have ever been particularly comfortable with, but I see how being vulnerable as a facilitator and person in the process, can allow others to open up and share themselves. Those moments are so beautiful.