The 2021 Edition of the Virtual alumni reunion was a big success and an important step in the formalization of EU Business School’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy.
The three-day conference kicked off with a Keynote Speech by Victoria Williams, Global Corporate Implementation Manager at American Express, who gave a fascinating overview of Diversity and Inclusion in Business. She confirmed that “diversity brings transformation, innovation, better productivity, and better engagement from your employees,” while highlighting that the corporate efforts are shifting toward inclusion and equity.
During the second day of the VAR, we hosted a discussion panel on what businesses should consider when drafting a corporate D&I strategy. EU Business School is taking its first steps toward the creation and implementation of it’s own D&I Strategy, this open discussion delt with the process to be undertaken, typical road blocks found by organizations when approaching this kind of action and things to keep in mind to ensure the longevity and efficacy of the strategy. Magali Querol, Consultant and Former EMEA Diversity & Inclusion Lead at Dow Jones, “The key point for me (when implementing a D&I strategy) is to understand where you are as an organization… also where you live and who your audience is, so that diversity demographics can help you and, if you are a smaller organization, I would say observe what your practices are, observe what inclusion means in your reality with your audience, the employees of your company or organization.”
The panel had representation from all EU stakeholder groups: alumni, student, faculty, public business and private business including Ugo Ikpeazu, EU Alumnus, Consultant, Middle East and Africa at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Mahrijemal (Mia) Orazmuhammedova, Student Board member at EU Munich, Magali Querol, Consultant and Former EMEA Diversity & Inclusion Lead at Dow Jones, Gurchaten Sandhu, Programme Officer on Non-Discrimination and Equal Pay at International Labour Organization (ILO) and Anastasia Naranova-Nassauer, Lecturer and Research Coordinator at EU Geneva.
Later in the afternoon, we heard from Begonia Merayo, President of Net4tec, who joined our Munich campus’ Career Development Lead, Sara Rapsch, for an open dialogue on diversity, equity and inclusion in organizations. Net4tec is a global, professional network for ambitious women in STEM and digital business fields and EU Business School’s newest professional partner. An expert on diversity, Begonia says: “Companies working on diversity also create the space to speak about diversity.”
On the final day of the VAR, the program continued with a Masterclass on Tackling Bias: Step 1 to Inclusion. Taught by Jorel Rodriguez, Training and Development Specialist at Starboard Cruise Services (an LMVH company), the session was structured to provide individuals the opportunity to understand what unconscious bias is, why it exists, how it can manifest, and the impact it will have on their colleagues, their organizations, and the future of work. “Everyone his biases, it’s part of being human… [having biases] can be very functional because, without these shortcuts, we wouldn’t get through the day. The problem comes when making people-related decisions, this can sometimes steer us in the wrong direction,” said Jorel.
The program closed on Thursday evening (CEST) with our alumni professional panel on The Role of Developing Inclusive Leaders in Organizations. The discussion panel, moderated by our Munich Campus Manager, Iris Mayerhofer, included EU alumni like Öykü Api, Senior Human Resources Business Partner at Metlife, Liliane Spiers, Executive Assistant to EVP at AstraZeneca, Ewa Pietrzak-Jania, MEU Biscuits Product Change Management Hub Lead at Mondelëz International and and Gabriel Rodriguez-Nava, Global Head of Social Brand and Responsibility at YouTube. “Diverse teams lead to better products and more meaningful marketing campaigns,” said Gabriel.