Business and government leaders from Brainport’s top-tier organisations lit up nearly three hundred Zoom screens around the region during INCLUDING YOU, a one-day Diversity and Inclusion. This multi-session virtual event on January 28 was hosted by the Expat Spouses Initiative, Holland Expat Center South and Brainport Development.
INCLUDING YOU tackled issues that are critical to the region’s prosperity. Ed Heerschap from the LivingIn program helped introduce the day and described how changing business requires companies to adjust to the ‘new now,’ which includes attracting and retaining international talent.
Co-host Kavita Varathan, CEO of the Expat Spouses Initiative, stressed the importance of diversity and inclusion in this equation. Organisations with inclusive cultures are twice as likely to exceed financial targets, three times more likely to be high performing, and eight times more likely to have better business outcomes. She pointed out that international appointments often fail when companies don’t engage accompanying partners (who are often also highly educated) and their families.
ASML Corporate Communications head Monique Mols moderated a lively discussion panel that addressed how companies like ASML and Fluke are engaging and supporting the partners and families of the international talents they hire.
Panel members Peter Bailliere, Executive Vice President HR & O at ASML, Paul Feenstra, Vice President at Fluke, and Monique List, Alderman at Gemeente Eindhoven, also responded to tough questions from the audience and Mols on gender equity, telework, and language challenges.
Morning presentations featured leading practitioners from TU/e, ASML, Summa College, and the Holland Expat Center South. Presenters shared strategies to successfully recruit more women professionals in the sciences, mentor international talent, build an innovative international work culture, and create a collaborative and inclusive region.
The afternoon got underway with a fantastic panel on workplace diversity moderated by Ingelou Stol, Communications Manager at the High Tech Campus. Panellists and thought leaders Astrid Balsink, Global Diversity and Inclusion Director at Philips, Justin Foster, Chief Diversity Officer at DLL, and Rodrigo Caetano Texiera, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Uber, shared compelling personal experiences and described why diversity and inclusion are vital for global competitiveness.
According to Balsnick, “What we’re striving for is a workplace where everyone belongs.” But panel members also acknowledged that building diverse and inclusive workplaces is not without challenge. Foster joked that his role at DLL was often to be the “Chief Disruption Officer,” and the others agreed that changing the status quo can sometimes be uncomfortable.
Topics in the afternoon presentations ranged from innovations in hiring and team building to equity and best practices in employee engagement. Presenters represented ASML, Brainport Development, Edufax, Expat Spouses Initiative, Female Tech Heroes, Fluke, Gemeente Eindhoven, Holland Expat Center South, Philips, TU/e, and Wageningen University.
The program was full of inspiring and informative sessions that offered ways to attract and retain diverse talent (especially female talent), support dual-career internationals and create an inclusive ecosystem for international employees and their families to thrive and contribute to the regional economy.
The day also featured highly skilled International talents from the current edition of the LivingIn and Expat Spouses Initiative Women for Women program. Their video pitches and all panels and presentations, are now available and can be viewed for free on the Expat Spouses Initiative YouTube channel. The Women for Women program’s grassroots effort supports local dual-career households and mobilises international talent in the Brainport region. Stronger Together is not just an adage but an attitude shared by those in the program that a gain for one, is a gain for all.
If you are a Career ReStarter, looking to build a professional network and receive guidance on restarting your professional journey in the Netherlands, please contact Expat Spouses Initiative & LivingIn at [email protected]
Written by: Meagan Macvie
Source: Expat Spouses Initiative