At the ET NOW Global Business Summit in New Delhi, a panel of experts discussed the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace. Moderated by Nipun Malhotra, Co-Founder & CEO, Nipman Foundation the diverse panel shared personal stories and insights on making businesses more inclusive.
Suki Dusanj-Lenz, Founder & CEO, of Once Upon a Media & Partner of the Gentlemen’s Clinic, opened up about discrimination she faced as a new mother at a tech company in Switzerland. “Two days before I was due to go back to work, a termination letter arrived at my door, no reason, no explanation,” she said. Dusanj took legal action and won. “I think it’s important for everybody to understand when you go into new organisations and countries, ensure that you are well informed, reach out to peers and look after yourself.”
Runa Dhawan, People Director, AB InBev GCC, emphasised psychological safety in driving inclusion. “Our research suggests that creating an inclusive work environment is beneficial not just for underrepresented groups, but for everybody,” she said.
Ada Dyndo, President, of WICCI India-EU Business Council, Poland, highlighted the importance of diversity in EU-India trade relations. “India’s a little bit hesitant about including gender equality terms in trade agreements, but there’s no need to be hesitant because it’s about creating something together,” she said.
Dhawan agreed. “It’s the stories that we were talking about today that need to be provided and spoken about again and again in a way to make people take action.”
The panelists emphasised intersectionality in DEI initiatives. “We have to look at both visible and invisible diversity,” said Purnima Sen, Chief People and Impact Officer, Sparta Global, UK. “Everybody talks about the visible diversity, which is women and ethnic heritage, but people forget the invisible diversity – neurodiversity and hidden disabilities.”
In closing, Dusanj said the key is to “find out, do something, ask questions, and raise your voice.” She added, “Let’s share our stories. Let’s be inspired by our stories and let’s take massive action. That’s where the change is really gonna happen.”
The lively discussion reinforced that while progress has been made, there is still much work to be done in creating diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces that empower all.