On the 21st of February, Angels of Impact had the opportunity to go to UBS’ Diversity and Inclusion luncheon, where our co-founder Laina Greene took the stage and presented about the importance of empathy for the future, and how women can amplify their strengths at the workplace.
Laina had a clear message to deliver — women can be, and are assets at the workplace, and should be valued as such. To do so, we must include women — Laina made a distinction between diversity and inclusion here. Quoting Verna Myers, Laina emphasises that inclusion enables diversity to become strength. This is so as diversity, combined with inclusion, can lead to better innovation and the attraction of better talent; in turn leading to better performances, better financial performance and better market share. Only when we overcome our ‘unconscious bias’ and be willing to change things ourselves, can women truly be “heard” at workplace and contribute their strengths to the workforce.
In the second part of her speech, Laina moved on to talk about the need for empathy in the workplace today. More jobs are getting replaced by technology, but the one thing that technology can never replace at least not for a long time, is the human connection. The ability to empathise with another person is today recognised as a ‘soft skill’, but in the future this skill will give a normal employee an edge over his or her peers and be considered a “hard skill”. With the importance of empathy established, Laina then mentioned the role of women — she believes in the celebrating women’s intuitive empathetic skills for the greater good of the business.
She called for women to lean in together, and stop trying to act like men or focus only on overcoming their weaknesses. Women, as a collective, should amplify our strengths together and stand up for each other when faced with unconscious bias. Women today have an opportunity to drive these new conversations, and we have to act upon it now. Companies will lose out if they fail to recognise the importance of women, both as their employees and as their target market. Women today have that leverage, so we must use it to our advantage.
Laina also introduced some of the Social Enterprises that Angels of Impact is working with. These Social Enterprises are founded and spearheaded by women entrepreneurs, and are bringing positive change in their respective sphere of impact. She mentioned Krakakoa Chocolates, an Indonesian beans-to-bar artisanal chocolate brand that is founded by Ms. Sabrina Mustopo. Krakakoa aims to improve the livelihood of local farmers by working with them to improve farming practices and to build up farming knowledge.
She also mentioned Torajamelo, a sustainable fashion line founded by Ms. Dinny Jusuf. Torajamelo aims to create a better life for women communities in the Indonesian cities of Jakarta, Yogyakarta and Bandung through providing them with a steady income. Torajamelo also aims to preserve the weaving skills of these women, and to promote the quality of Indonesian hand-woven textiles to the world.
Both Krakakoa and Torajamelo are examples of women-driven social enterprises that are creating change and making impact in their communities. These social enterprises are among the many other social enterprises that Angels of Impact has connected with, and are helping to create an ecosystem of empowerment and enrichment, where we amplify the impact that women can bring to society. Together, we aim to contribute towards the 3 UN Sustainable Development Goals of #5 Gender Equality, #1 No Poverty and #12 Responsible Consumption and Production.
Laina delivered an enriching session, and we are feeling more motivated than ever to become the change we want to see. Let us all lean in, and empower the workforce together.