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Mar. 8, 2019

Equality and Allyship Conversations at Flexport

Flexport

In honor of International Women’s Day, Flexport’s Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Employee Resource Group (ERG) put on almost 50 events and activities across our 9 global offices from Amsterdam to Chicago to Shenzhen. At our San Francisco headquarters, the D&I Committee partnered with Ueno to host “Gender Equality is a Men’s Issue, Too: How to Be an Ally."

Flexport’s Paige DeLacey (Chief People Officer), Eva Rijser (VP, Global Communications), Suzanne Ginsburg (Senior Director, Head of Design), and Ueno’s Haraldur Thorleifsson (CEO) and Gillian Rode (Executive Producer) served as panelists. Flexport’s Chair of Diversity and Inclusion ERG, Sara Golden, hosted.

From left: Suzanne Ginsburg, Eva Rijser, Haraldur Thorleifsson, Paige DeLacey, Gillian Rode, and Sara Golden

The panelists opened by sharing some of their experiences on realizing how men, women, and marginalized groups are treated differently in the workplace. The speakers shared their “a-ha moments” of realization, some of which were experienced in childhood, others later in adulthood. One panelist remarked that, when growing up in the Netherlands, girls were told to knit during school breaks while the boys played games.

Another said that, sometimes, inequality is, “so up close that you don’t realize it,” and that we should start by, “just seeing the things, even if [we] can’t do something about it.”

When asked how they define allyship in the workplace, the panelists talked about opening their eyes to others’ experiences, and being a voice of action.

One said that we need to stop “seeing it as someone else’s problem that someone else has to solve.” We need to ask “who’s missing from the table and how we can fix it.”

Some of the biggest takeaways from the event were suggestions on how to be an ally in the workplace:

  • Be mindful of words used, including praise, and how they might fall on the listener’s ears
  • Insist on a diverse candidate pool as a hiring manager
  • Trust people’s intentions, but practice candor if someone does or says something offensive
  • Look around the room in meetings and take note of who isn’t present. How could that be rectified?

Speaking up for yourself and others is critical for positive change.

“If we don’t disrupt what’s already been established, then it’s going to be the status quo. And then it’s never going to make things better for everyone.”

This amazing event was facilitated by volunteers at Flexport, and brings us one small step closer to becoming one of the most inclusive companies in logistics and technology.

Thank you to Ueno for partnering with us and having an important dialogue on allyship!

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