I have a talentcrush on Floria Moghimi: “Diversity & Inclusion is much more than a buzzword or a neoliberalist strategy to improve your business results”
Floria Moghimi is a certified Diversity Consultant and helps organizations to discover and foster diversity & inclusion efforts. Floria says that she is already all life long a diversity activist but started her career in communication departments in big corporates. After some time she quit and started her own endeavour She is so inspiring !
How come you decided to become a diversity coach/ consultant?
I started my career in internal communications in big international organizations in Germany. After spending years in the corporate world, I decided to leave because it got very clear that there is a lot of diversity work to do: Not only because of the lack of women in leadership positions, but also because of the lack of women of color in leadership positions.
"I have never felt that I belong. I didn’t feel represented at all. Now, I see this as my mission"
My mission is not about me, it is about the many talented, underrepresented and marginalized people that are left out of conversations. I want to create diverse and inclusive working cultures where everyone feels that they belong.
Why is diversity & inclusion important?
D&I has always mattered. But it took long for organizations in Germany to realize that diversity drives innovation and to undertake all the steps that are needed. Diversity & Inclusion is much more than a buzzword or a neoliberalist strategy to improve your business results. The concept of diversity has a long history, going back to the black civil rights movements in the US. There have always been brave black civil rights activists fighting for social justice, also in Germany, Audre Lorde, Peggy Piesche, Katja Kinder or Maisha Auma, just to name a few. They paved the way for this work. We also do live in difficult times: The far-right is gaining structural power and I think that D&I is an approach that speaks to many people who want to fight against this political agenda, also on a company level.
What is the difference between diversity and inclusion?
I really like the quote from Verna Myers:
“Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance”.
Diversity is a fact in society. It is everything that we have in common with each other but it is also what makes us unique and different from others. Inclusion means to value that diversity and to choose heterogeneity over homogeneity. Inclusion means creating an environment where everyone can thrive, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, disabilities, age, social background or religion. Our society is basically designed for a specific norm: being white, male, able-bodied, Christian, heterosexual with an academic background. But this is basically just one category of diversity of human beings. Inclusion means to break that norm on an organizational level.
Do you truly believe for-profit organizations really care about “diversity” or it’s just a smart PR tool?
You can bring D&I to your PR agenda, if it’s a true value for your organization and if you are doing the hard work behind it. I have a really good radar for organizations that are serious about the topic.
"I can smell those who who are not serious — and probably many others have that radar, too. Watch out!"
What is a smart way to assess the current “diversity status” of your organization?
The smart way is to work with me or another diversity consultancy that fits your needs. What is also smart is to gather data: As a first step, your HR data can actually tell you: the distribution of men and women on different levels of seniority, gender pay gaps, the rate or lack of people with disabilities, different nationalities and age structures. This data has definitely its limits. You can also start with your own patterns: Do I surround myself with people who feel differently than me?
What are the three steps every organization can do to improve diversity efforts?
Step 1: Defining the Why. I see many organizations with great diversity grassroots communities. This is a great starting point! But at some level, your management board needs to support the initiatives financially. It needs to be clear why you are implementing diversity & inclusion into the core of your business. This is the starting point of your D&I strategy.
Step 2: Collecting data. I already mentioned quantitative HR data. What you can also do is to gather qualitative data by conducting single interviews. This will help you understand how your employees feel and give you deeper insights into the nuances of possible discrimination.
Step 3: Taking action. After you have gathered the data, you’ll have a bigger picture of where you should take action first, whether that’s de-biasing the hiring process, creating a more inclusive working culture or educating all colleagues on implicit biases.
In general, I recommend to always start with educating yourself: to better understand your own identity and privilege and to better deal with your own biases and stereotyped thinking. It’s easy, comes at almost no cost and has a huge impact.