iwd2024 -SPOTLIGHTING Change Makers

Tell us about your passion for creating inclusive workspaces for women as a talent acquisition manager.

For me, the desire to build more inclusive workspaces for other women is a way of paying forward the hand I was dealt, as I have met many women during my career. When I first started in HR, I worked as an HR manager, and although it was a highly strategic role, it became very evident to me that I needed to be someone who would create some of the things that I wanted to see in the workplace as a woman but wasn’t seeing. As a woman in any corporate function, it requires self-awareness and consciousness to recognize the role you must play and determine that this is what you want, and that is how you build more inclusive workspaces.

Tell us about your job and why you prioritize hiring women. 

I switched from law to human resources, and I remember coming in so ignorant that a woman practically held my hand and helped guide me through my transition process. I had someone I was looking up to as a mentor who came from a similar background as mine. She aided me with resources, information, and opportunities. Having all of that as a woman when I first entered the corporate sector was incredibly affirming because it’s not something you see very often. So I realized I needed to take active steps to make the workplaces that I work in as a woman more inclusive. 

So, as a talent acquisition manager, aside from my experience in general HR, when I hire, I must always be the person who advocates for increased chances for women. I am grateful that where I currently work, they have a comprehensive understanding of gender and wish to be more inclusive of women in leadership positions. My organization now has a policy that requires us to hire women for at least 30% of our positions.  

What are some backlash you have faced as a result of your preference to hire women? 

I don’t think I’ve received any backlash other than people saying, “Oh, you only prefer women.” Now, for example, I would specify in my job applications that I prefer women. If feasible, I only want women to apply for this job, but males are also encouraged. When more women apply, a lot of people come to me and question everything, saying you’re doing “favoritism,” and they begin to doubt your motives. 

What does inclusivity mean to you as regards workplace diversity?

Fostering an environment where everyone feels appreciated, valued, and heard. Like they have something to offer and they contribute. People can produce their finest work when they feel appreciated because they know their importance. Even the most inclusive-looking workspace is not inclusive enough. That’s how you should be thinking about inclusivity, like something that can always be worked on. That’s my opinion. So, you should constantly consider how far you can go when you’re in a situation where you can acquire that. How can I actively dismantle barriers that lead to further inequality and, in essence, establish a setting where everyone is free to be the best version of themselves?

What will be registered as successful to you in your pursuit?

I believe that when promoting gender equality and diversity, you’re creating an equal playing ground for everybody because you already recognize that there is inequality. Success to me would be the 50-50 hiring disposition. 70-30 sounds okay-ish, but it’s still not fair enough for me. Companies should push for 50-50. 

Thank you so much for your time. 

Happy International Women’s Day