At the beginning of 2021, we launched our first-ever Diversity, Equity and Inclusion plan with the purpose of fostering a diverse environment of inclusion and belonging at Stuart. Our plan is built on the 3 following pillars:
- to attract, develop and retain top diverse talent from different backgrounds,
- to create awareness amongst employees with different perspectives and experiences, and
- to enforce policies, processes and best practices to better support employees and to include data and metrics to ensure fairness in our people’s processes.
As part of our ‘creating awareness’ pillar, we have put together a global inclusion calendar, which is made up of local and global celebrations related to various social causes, cultures and sustainability, on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
In January we celebrated Veganuary with a company-wide challenge to go vegan for 30 days and a newsletter with educational resources on the environment, in February we celebrated LGBTQ+ History Month with an external speaker, Gareth Thomas, organised by the UK DEI Committee, followed by Women’s History Month in March.
To kick start the month, we were incredibly excited to send a global newsletter to the company announcing all the global initiatives we had planned for the month:
- sending flowers to all women employees on International Women’s Day
- 4 different panel discussions (with 419 total attendees and an average of 104 per call)
- 2 fundraisers in EUR and GBP for 6 different charities in France, Spain and UK
- 1 global newsletter and 5 weekly local newsletters in the UK and
- a self-defence class for women, lead by one of our Stuwies in France
Our main initiative was a series of four-panel discussions with various women from different departments and levels within Stuart, which was organised over the course of the month by Global HR, the UK engagement committee and the UK DEI committee.
Women in Engineering
Our first panel was on the topic of ‘Women in Engineering’ with the following speakers: Business Data Analyst, Helen Piatkowski, based in the UK, Lead Customer Solutions Engineer, Lauren Gill, based in Paris and Mobile Engineer, Mar Barroso, based in Barcelona. Our panel discussion host asked questions such as “What women support and inspire you on your career path?” and “What initiatives do you actually think work to encourage the promotion of women in STEM?”, which were followed by numerous questions posed by the engaged audience. Many inspirational conversations blossomed from this panel discussion with our main talking points being around supporting women from an earlier stage to be interested in STEM, through university and school visits, networking events and job fairs. t We also agreed that it would be key to start actively advertising tech positions to women by having these conversations early on in their lives and by adding inclusive images of women working in tech to advertisements for such positions.
Women in Leadership
Our second panel was called ‘Climbing the career ladder whilst defying the odds’, where we heard from our Commercial Director, Nicole Mazza, based in the UK and our Head of Talent Acquisition, Maria Luchita, based in Paris. Nicole shared her experiences on being a female leader in a traditionally male dominated environment and being a part of the LGBTQ+ community, while Maria talked about climbing to the top of her career as a mother and being promoted to head of a department whilst on maternity leave expecting her second child! This sparked some fantastic conversations in the Q&A section where, when asked by our COO David Saenz, Nicole suggested we set more ambitious targets for having more women in senior leadership positions. We also discussed increasing female representation in the interview process, having more coaching opportunities for women and encouraging women to lead small teams from an early stage in their careers.
Women in Tech
In our final panel, on ‘Women in Tech’, we heard from Mobile Engineer, Marlen Aliva, based in Barcelona, Platform Engineer, Terexa O’Higgins, based in Barcelona, and our Head of Security, Ioana Hurubeanu. Our inspirational speakers were asked questions such as “Have you had any instances throughout your career when you felt singled out as you were a woman in a male-oriented field?” “How do you feel companies can retain female employees?”, which prompted a very important discussion with our C Levels around exploring the idea of creating a programme for female and ethnic minority secondary school students to work with Stuart to help drive future generations of diversity in engineering. In addition to this, sparked by questions from the audience during the Q&A, the panellists discussed the need to create goals for diversity and inclusion, implementing frequent feedback loops to monitor how women, and minorities, feel, enforcing policies that prohibit certain behaviours, continuing these panel discussions throughout the year and encouraging men to be a part of the conversation to fight for women’s rights and equality.
Finally, to conclude this month full of initiatives, we are writing this blog to share our experiences with you, to hopefully inspire similar actions for next year’s Women’s History Month, and all-year-around, in the workplace, in society, and in our personal lives. The conversations that were sparked will become central to the building of processes and policies within the company - and it is something that we want to recreate for all minority groups to ensure that our DEI program continues to flourish.
Whether it’s yourself, your daughter, mother, niece, aunt, friend or strangers in the street, we are striving to create a better environment for everyone and we hope that you feel motivated to join us on this journey towards total equality for all.