By Mariagrazia De Angelis, General Manager, Landor Middle East Africa
In our fast-changing world, equity is essential for organizations to grow and innovate. But there's a tricky issue – we want to do that, but not create new divisions. To navigate this, we need to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to thrive, regardless of where they're from, their beliefs, education, or gender. We do this by recognizing that each person has different circumstances and allocating the suitable resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome. This will help create an environment where people can flourish without limits. As we strive to create a work environment that fosters growth and potential, it is imperative to transcend traditional approaches. It is not about merely empowering a single group but about understanding that equity transcends labels. By breaking free from preconceived notions, we can craft a space where everyone is valued for their unique contribution, irrespective of gender or other markers. This shift in perspective is instrumental in nurturing a thriving ecosystem where talents are unleashed, and potentials are realized.
In the image above: Mariagrazia De Angelis, General Manager, Landor Middle East Africa
The Gender-empowering Discussion
One remarkable aspect of creating an inclusive work environment is to view oneself beyond societal constructs. An essential ingredient in fostering inclusivity is the ability to recognize that our primary identity lies not in our gender but in our shared humanity. This approach, where gender is not the foremost consideration, enables the creation of an environment that accommodates and celebrates diverse voices
. while acknowledging individual circumstances. To truly advance toward an inclusive workplace, the focus must shift resolutely toward talent and performance. When these benchmarks drive decisions, the stage is set for a thriving environment where success is attainable regardless of extraneous factors. Drawing from a wellspring of capability and potential, individuals are empowered to excel, irrespective of any conditions that might have otherwise acted as barriers.
Countless instances where I have been in executive meetings as the only woman in the room have shown me that true empowerment goes beyond token acknowledgments. The last thing I thought of was that I was the only woman in the room. I believe that true empowerment lies in the ability to perform one's duties, unfettered by stereotypes. By focusing on the task at hand and valuing contributions over arbitrary distinctions, a culture of true empowerment can be cultivated.
Achieving inclusivity requires a dual approach. First, shifting mindsets entails altering perceptions and cultivating a culture where differences are celebrated. Simultaneously, empowering individuals who lack a voice involves equipping them with the tools to succeed. By addressing both ends of the spectrum, we empower individuals to perceive themselves positively and provide them with the means to realize their potential.
How to do this? Initiatives such as WPP’s "Walk the Talk" and “WPP Stella” exemplify the transformational impact of genuine commitment to diversity and empowerment. “Walk the Talk” is a program through which executive women from across WPP are challenged and coached to build a bigger vision and plan that gives renewed energy and focus to their professional and personal lives. While WPP Stella network addresses barriers that could prevent women from progressing their careers to senior levels within the Group and facilitates the sharing of good practices between WPP companies. With a focus on aligning goals and values, these initiatives are highly experiential, with self-reflection, networking, sharing, and practical guidance to empower our leaders to pay it forward. Today, WPP companies include 115,000 people employed in over 100 countries across the globe, with 40% Women in executive leadership roles.
It is important to note that while an individual's resilience and dedication are commendable, there comes a point when a shift to a more inclusive environment that values and nurtures talent, regardless of its challenges or differences, may be necessary. A single person's endeavors cannot revolutionize an entire company's culture. Hence, if discrimination persists at an organizational level, exploring new avenues becomes a step toward personal growth and fulfillment.
As we reflect on the journey towards an inclusive and boundary-free workplace that is based on equity, the paramount role of empowerment becomes undeniable. It is the driving force that propels growth and fuels innovation. The ongoing endeavor to nurture an environment where talents thrive unencumbered by artificial constraints is a shared responsibility, one that holds the promise of shaping a workplace that celebrates the richness of human potential. Embracing diversity and recognizing the power of each unique perspective is the foundation for a brighter future. A brighter future where every workplace is a Great Place to Work.