Diversity & inclusion3 min read

Putting Employees First Puts Your Company First

Being inclusive is good for morale and strengthening your bottom line.

So how do you make every worker feel like they belong? And how do you develop them and help them grow into senior leaders in your organisation?

In the latest episode of the Inclusion Works podcast Fiona Young, Head of Diversity and Inclusion Practice at Hive Learning, spoke to Adelmise Warner, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion for Sirius XM and Pandora.

As well as implementing strategies for diversity and inclusion at the newly merged SiriusXM and Pandora, Adelmise previously worked as an employment attorney and also is currently a board member for San Francisco-based nonprofit, Women’s Audio Mission.

Here’s a preview of what Adelmise had to say…

“I think people are amazing assets to companies. They’re their strongest assets. If you treat them fairly, they’ll stay. Believe it or not, if you take the approach of treating people fairly and as humans, that ends up limiting or reducing your risk of litigation.

Working in inclusion is about making sure people feel like they have to have a voice, they are treated fairly. As an employment lawyer advising, I make sure that we’re doing things that are right for the employees, and it’s not mutually exclusive from representing the company.”

In all the impact you’ve made in diversity and inclusion over the course of your career and especially at Pandora, what single thing are you most proud of?

“I would say maybe a single thing would be mentoring, mentoring people who are junior and particularly women and women of colour. I think I’m very proud of being able to take more junior folks in, get to know them, help them understand some other challenges that I faced, not that they will necessarily face but they may, and help them navigate through them.

Along those lines, I have been involved with the National Employment Law Council for quite a few years now. I’ve been able to mentor some junior attorneys, and now I’m proud to say two or three of them have in-house jobs at big companies where they’re doing fantastic work. It’s not necessarily all because of me, but I think taking the time to actually mentor people, especially women of color and how to navigate in-house jobs has been one of the things I’m most proud of.”

What was it like moving to America when you were 16. What challenges did you have?

“Coming here at 16 was extremely challenging for me. I was born and raised in Haiti where I’m the oldest of five children, and my mother is completely illiterate. She has never gone to school, doesn’t read or write. My father has essentially a third grade education. For me, it was very important for my family to make sure that I had an education. I think part of it is my mother not having had that privilege.

When I moved here to the US, I didn’t speak English. I came at 16, moved to San Diego, went to a high school, 10th grade. If you can imagine coming from literally one planet to another, that was how I was feeling at that time, being in high school or taking classes with students who spoke English and not understanding me and I couldn’t understand them. It was really difficult navigating through the school, learning the process, learning how to read.

Believe it or not, one of the ways that I’ve learned to really understand and learn English was listening to Beatles’ songs. The lyrics are simple. Here comes the sun. That’s one of the ways I learned how to speak English.

For me, it was about just persistence and resilience and being able to focus on really the north star to me, which was having an education. Every day was a challenge, particularly not speaking English and particularly not having had the support in terms of my extended family. Also, my parents not being able to help me with schoolwork was another big challenge for me.”

To hear more from Adelmise, including simple ideas on what you could do in your work environment this week to build inclusion, download the Inclusion Works podcast in your favourite podcast app or by clicking HERE

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