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TALKING POINTS

Embracing Diversity and Inclusion with the Taikoo Place Community

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Diversity and inclusion (D&I) are no longer just buzzwords; these days, they’re celebrated through impactful initiatives, such as Taikoo Place’s Pink Friday campaign in November. How else is our community supporting D&I? We ask a few Taikoo Place-based companies to share their visions in creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace.
Holly McGhee, Diversity and Inclusiveness Leader, Asia-Pacific Financial Services, EY; and Co-Chair Taikoo WIN
“If we enable everybody to fulfil their potential, then not only will our business and society be better, but individuals will overall have better lives. This is what D&I is about, and why we try to embed D&I into who we are as a company and what we do. Our Hong Kong and Macau D&I leader, Alex Lai, is transforming the journey from onboarding and throughout
the employee life cycle, to create opportunities for building D&I into our practices.

Leadership engagement is really important to create sustained success of D&I programmes. The chair of our Asia LGBT Unity network, for instance, is also the leader of our Taikoo Place office. Started as a small group a few years back, the network has created a snowball effect through successful events, including online allies training and live workshops – we ran one on Pink Friday by using Lego as a fun way to invite staff to express what inclusion meant to them.

I’m seeing a shift from passive to proactive, visible support for the LGBT community, and not only at events, but also in the everyday, like people wearing unity pins and rainbow stickers on laptops. Ultimately, it is about creating an inclusive environment which can bring more trust and empathy amongst team members so that everyone can bring their full self to work.”

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Wendy Chan, Senior Director and Chairlady of China D&I Committee, JLL
“I want my children to work in an equal and accepting environment when they grow up. So what we are doing now is essentially planting the seeds for a better world for the generations to come.

For JLL, diversity is about three G’s: Gender, Generation and Geography; and inclusion is about creating an environment where people can be themselves. That’s why we run the ‘Celebrate Who We Are’ campaign each September to create greater impact. Themed ‘Be Curious, Challenge Assumptions’, this year’s programmes spanned virtual talks and mentoring sessions, including an online Inclusive Leadership workshop where leaders shared their new business initiatives and challenges with colleagues from different departments and levels. It proved to be a great platform for leaders to listen to our staff.

Our other groups, such as the women’s network and the LGBT+ resource group ‘Building Pride’, offer ongoing support, and our D&I materials are all bilingual to resonate with local and expat staff alike. All of these contribute to a more open culture where people feel comfortable to speak up, which is an important first step to a better future.”
Maria Smith, leader of BakerWomen and regional cohead for Global Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Asia Pacific, Baker McKenzie
“Everyone has a right to be respected and heard, to feel safe and secure in the workplace, and to have an equal opportunity to realise their potential. This is why I’m so passionate about promoting D&I.

As a global firm with a diverse workforce in terms of race and ethnicity, cultural diversity and sexual orientation, it’s very important to us to be mindful of our people and make sure they all feel included and engaged. We have a range of D&I subcommittees, focusing on specific issues relating to multiculturalism, generation gaps, physical and mental disabilities, and the LGBT community. Recently, we’ve also formed the Global Race & Ethnicity Task Force to promote anti-racist and non-discriminatory practices and develop strong allies and advocates.

Our wellbeing programme particularly resonates with me. It was recently launched on a global level and gained momentum this year due to COVID-19. It includes workshops, training, group yoga and meditation classes, and a hotline that allows employees experiencing stress or other issues to talk to a professional at any time. Many people are finding the hotline particularly helpful. These initiatives are important as they help to de-stigmatise mental health issues and ensure that everyone feels supported, which is really what inclusion is about.”
Anna Thompson, Director, Human Resources and executive sponsor of D&I committee, Swire Properties
“The ‘People’ pillar under our SD2030 initiative embraces a number of D&I and volunteering initiatives. For us, diversity and inclusion sum up how different everyone is – not just based on looks or ethnicity, but also personalities, feelings and identities – and how we respect everybody’s differences so they feel confident in being their authentic selves.

D&I shouldn’t be just an HR initiative, but something woven into the fabric of the company: we’ve signed up to the Equal Opportunities Commission’s Racial Diversity and Inclusion Charter; co-founded Taikoo Place’s women’s network, Taikoo WIN; and organised staff events like Pink Friday. Swire has also launched the Embracing Inclusion Series involving all Swire companies, which features workshops, panel discussions and awareness campaigns from September to December.

Our HR team’s recent Design Thinking Day was really eye-opening for us. We’d partnered with Inclusive Impact to create an inclusive experience for both disabled and abled bodies, by spending the day in wheelchairs. Events like this help bring empathy and different perspectives to the team, and turn our vision of D&I from paper into reality.”

The Mag also celebrated LGBT+ inclusion with the Pink Friday Photo Contest last month – thanks to everyone who took part! Check out the winning entries here.

Want more food for thought on diversity and inclusion? Here’s what entrepreneur and LGBT+ activist Kayla Wong thinks of the Future of Diversity.
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