Published on 18th June 2017
Ambition is proud to have had our team members speak and attend the ‘Spain Means Business’ series presented by the Spanish Chamber of Commerce at Metta in Hong Kong on the topic, ‘Diversity & Technology: Is technology promoting diversity in the workplace?’
The panel featured diversity at its peak with Hong Kong Chinese, Spanish, Filipino American, straight, gay, female, and male panellists. The panel included Barbara Navarro, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations at Google, Candace Chan, Senior Manager Strategic Marketing HK & APAC at eBay, Marisa Flores, President of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce and Managing Director of Perspectiva Asia, Zo Lorenzo Paglinawan, Social Media Coordinator & Diversity Representative at Ambition with moderation from Alfonso Ballesteros, Secretary General of Spanish Chamber of Commerce.
In front of a full crowd, the panel discussed a range of thought-provoking questions including:
- Has technology made it easier for workplaces to be more diverse? If yes. In what way?
- Which companies are a good example of diversity? How did they get there? Did they originate like this or have they transformed over time?
- Is diversity a moral imperative or an economic one? Or both?
- Are the improvements that are happening coming from the mindset of the tech community or from the possibilities that technology enables (remote work)?
- Are there any specific steps that could be taken by companies to improve diversity, especially any technological solutions (remote working app)?
The answers varied depending on each person’s personal experience gained from working in Spain to Hong Kong and around the world, but each panellist echoed each other in that diversity has been beneficial and rewarding to the workplace.
Below are a few of the key powerful takeaways for people to consider when hiring and retaining their workforce:
- The mentorship of different groups helps and starts at a young age – Leaders of ethnic diversity with an array of various experiences can help younger employees go past any glass or bamboo ceiling. According to Candice, her CEO pushes for diversity actively and she herself has joined the eBay in-house women’s network and the non-profit Global Women’s Network to promote women’s progression. She asked, “How do we bring our children and team to think differently?” Zo from Ambition discussed mentors inspiring him as a minority. His managers showed him how being gay should not hinder his career path, but embracing his identity at work will help him succeed in the face of adversity.
- People in top performing companies really believe in diversity – Faced with the question, “Is being diverse, good morally or economically or both?” Barbara from Google noted, “many people truly believe and are passionate about doing the right thing” and discussed that her teams are always on the lookout for diverse talented individuals as their contribution impacts the team positively, bringing in new ideas, skills, and experience. The panellists then went on and agreed that all technology firms that they had worked for strongly promoted diversity within the business.
- Diversity and Technology allow for a richer workplace environment – Multicity interactions, cross-team collaboration, pushes people out of their comfort zone, allowing teams to work smarter and collaborate no matter the distance or background of another person. Marisa noted working globally and in Hong Kong has allowed her to interact with various nationalities, allowing her to experience different cultures and communicate with a myriad of people.
- Join external organisations and volunteer – The panel is very active in promoting diversity and inclusion outside of the workplace for the greater community. Most of the panel is involved in volunteering in organisations exemplifying diverse and inclusive practices. Marisa is President of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong with a 50/50 female/male board and sponsored the event. Candace volunteers with the Global Women Network. Zo volunteers with LGBT+ advocates Planet Ally and Out Leadership.
In conclusion, the consensus was that technology has improved diversity in the workplace for regional and diverse teams of women, the LGBT+ and more. However, it really is about how leaders do need to take the lead on educating their employees about the importance of having a diverse culture within the business and also leading by example.
Many thanks to panellists and the sponsors. Ambition and our employees actively volunteer and support women, the underprivileged, LGBT+, and animal causes and host a range of professional development seminars. Please get in touch with us if you would like to collaborate or attend our events.