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Andrea Hancox

Inspired by stories of diversity


Recently, I have attended several events with inspirational speakers exploring diversity.  Together, these talks have helped strengthen my understanding of diversity and how it really works in organisations.

For example, just twenty years ago, the New Zealand Police entry requirements included minimum height, excellent vision, fitness, intelligence and no history of depression.  Now however, the force is much more inclusive said Assistant Commissioner of Investigations Richard Chambers during a talk at Spark.  In fact, now Valuing Diversity is one of their core values.  Just this week, their latest recruitment video went viral for all the right reasons!  The New Zealand Police are now more representative of New Zealanders and welcome applications from anyone, regardless of height, gender, ethnicity, culture, sexuality or faith.  The reason is simple, the Police want to better reflect our nation’s growing diversity and want new recruits to bring their background, culture and values to the job.

During Richard’s presentation, I was particularly moved by the Always #LikeAGirl video.  As a mother of a seven year old, who is not overly confident, it was a harsh reality check of how disempowering words can really be.  Personally, I have made it my mission, to empower my daughter and build her confidence in all areas of life.  At times, this feels like eating an elephant, but the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time!

Last month, I also attended the Government Women’s Network and listened to Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of Industry Toni Townes-Whitley.  Toni shared interesting details of her life and career journey.  She also spoke about the difference in horizontal and vertical career paths.  High achievers for example, aspire to be promoted vertically, but both career paths are equally valid.  Not all learnings are achieved by taking steps up the career ladder.  Horizontal promotions can lead to individuals becoming subject matter experts.  Toni recommended we should always endeavour to apply what we learn and resolve to empower those around you.

Toni also shared fascinating statistics from the World Economic Gender Gap report on digital transformation.  For every male job that is digitally transformed, four traditional male jobs will be lost.  Conversely, for every female job that is digitally transformed, a staggering 20 traditional female jobs will be lost.   Women were more representative in job categories likely to be disrupted.  It appears that the digital economy will create a greater gender divide!  For more, listen to Toni’s presentation here.

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by Andrea Hancox

Andrea Hancox Experienced National Director with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry.