Talent & Tech Asia Summit 2024
Creating an inclusive, diverse & equitable culture at work: 10 leaders share what it means to them

Creating an inclusive, diverse & equitable culture at work: 10 leaders share what it means to them


"As leaders, we need to recognise and address unconscious biases, promote equal opportunities and break down barriers to create a level playing field for everyone," one leader affirms.

"Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance."

This quote by American diversity advocate Vernā Myers so aptly describes what it means to be embody the concept of diversity & inclusion — one that has resonated with many leaders and individuals over the years.

As we continue to spark conversations around what it means to be a workplace that drives diversity & inclusion, alongside being equitable, this edition of HRO's International Women's Day series shares the views of leaders from HP Thailand, Citi, Norton Rose Fulbright, ofi, and more.

Read on and be inspired, and following that, be sure to have a look at the rest of the stories in this series here. :)

Varanit Athijaratroj, Managing Director, HP Thailand

Inclusion is a key tenet of our talent strategy at HP Thailand — we pride ourselves on building a workplace where everyone feels valued, connected, and empowered. Today, our diverse workforce continues to propel us forward in the innovation race, thanks to very intentional DEI initiatives put in place to promote gender equality and accelerate professional development, such as our Women Impact Network and Women in Leadership Lab programmes. Our long-term goal is to make HP the preferred destination for underrepresented groups in the technology sector.

Deven Somaya, Head of Emerging Commerce Solutions, Citi and Co-Chair of Citi Women Singapore

An inclusive environment is one where, regardless of any difference, one feels valued, respected and heard. Creating a culture of inclusion, I believe is a three-pronged process:

  1. Advocating authenticity in being and bringing your true self to work.
  2. Being an active listener, allowing yourself to learn from a diverse range of voices and growing your empathy as a leader and/or peer.
  3. Championing a cause – this is especially true for leaders who can use their influence to promote diversity and inclusion as well as empower others to contribute and grow.

Sue Ann Gan, Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright

I believe that empowering and delegating helps to encourage and motivate a diverse team as it demonstrates trust and recognition of our colleagues' value to the team. It is also important to ensure that I capitalise on their key strengths, their working style and what they like to do to unlock their potential. These play a key role in hopefully inspiring the next generation of female professionals both within my workplace and beyond into the wider shipping industry.

Wendy Yeo, Regional Head of HR, APAC, ofi

Leading with 'Inclusivity', ofi advocates for IDE by embracing unique strengths, celebrating our differences, and driving empowerment across our professional workforce. Leaders and IDE Allies role-model inclusive behaviors and are equipped to foster collaborative environments – where everyone has a seat at the table, their opinions valued, and can co-create an inclusive, diverse, and equitable culture. This initiative is an example of how we cultivate ownership of our shared purpose to Be the change for good food and a healthy future.

Lynn Wu, Head of Human Resources, Singapore, Indosuez Wealth Management and Azqore

Diversity and inclusion are embedded in our group's DNA. Our Equal Opportunities Charter champions equitable fairness, respect and diversity of perspectives which allows us to build a diverse workforce at all levels. Our robust gender equality action plan includes mentorship programmes to nurture female colleagues for leadership roles. We are committed to fair compensation practices and our parental leave policy applies to both women and men to ensure work-life balance for all.

Personally, I'm passionate about fostering a workplace where everyone feels valued and empowered to thrive.

Tsu-Shien Teoh, President, Henkel Malaysia

#InspireInclusion means leading with empathy and compassion. As leaders, we need to recognise and address unconscious biases, promote equal opportunities and break down barriers to create a level playing field for everyone. In addition, we strive to provide our employees with the resources and support that they need to excel and succeed.

I am proud to work for a company that values and promotes inclusion. Let us continue to #InspireInclusion in our organisations and beyond, and create a workplace where everyone is included, valued, and empowered. Because we all thrive when everyone is included.

Nicole Yo, Vice President, Creation, Design & Development, APAC & Principal Flavorist, ADM

At ADM, diversity forms the bedrock of our inclusive workplace. As the APAC leader of ADM’s Women's employee resource group (ERG), a voluntary employee-led community at ADM that provides support and fosters open exchanges of views and experiences, I’m focused on cultivating a culture of respect where everyone is seen, heard, and valued.

Through these efforts, we aim to create an inclusive and safe workplace environment that not only embraces differences but also harnesses them for collective growth and prosperity.

Sophie Mathur, Partner, Asia Head of Corporate, Singapore, Linklaters

Inclusion happens when every person feels seen and heard. As a member of the firm’s leadership team in Asia, I am intentional about creating space for those who may be reticent to take it and using my voice to amplify quieter voices. I focus on growing my team, as individuals – to know who needs that push to put themselves up for a promotion and who needs to learn how to say no. And finally, I keep listening – if my team know I will listen, they will tell me when I am getting it wrong.

Rimmi Harindran, Senior Director, Corporate Affairs, Asia Middle East & Africa, Kellanova

When women support each other, incredible things happen. Providing opportunities to share experiences, and support and inspire one another is key. It’s about amplifying diverse voices and perspectives and ensuring that every woman has a voice and place at the table. From women-focused development programmes across levels to monthly coffee chats on important topics such as allyship, our 'Women of Kellanova' employee resource group partners with our HR and corporate affairs teams to champion initiatives that advocate for gender equity across our organisation.

Sandy Ng, Director, Talent Acquisition, APJ, Akamai Technologies

The tech industry is constantly evolving so we strongly believe that diversity is a strategic advantage and strive to make everyone feel heard. Inclusion is a pivotal driver of our success. Actions must align with our rhetoric, for instance, we have proactively eliminated biased languages across internal and external communication channels.

Career development is also a critical aspect for our ethos. We pioneered the Akamai Technical Academy to empower underrepresented populations (fresh graduates, mid-career professionals) with the necessary tech skills.

Photos: Provided

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