Inspired Human founder Perrine Farque hosted the diversity panel at our recent Leaders Forum. Kavita Singh shares the insights discussed surrounding the lack of diversity in the marketing sector.
Along with Perrine, Cognizant’s Tricia Stinton, AppDynamics’ Ridgy Lemarier, and Omobono’s Jen Hennings all joined for an insightful discussion on diversity. Here were some of the issues raised.
Diversity challenges in the workplace
One issue that was raised right away was the idea of intersectionality. Tricia, who is Cognizant’s head of field marketing, brought up the fact that she is a woman of colour, experiencing different types of challenges related to gender and race. As a mother, she had to start expressing her need for flexibility and couldn’t stay at the office as late as some of her male colleagues.
She also addressed microaggressions that she experienced relating to race and recalled a time when her colleague had returned from holiday.
She said: “He came up to me and held his arm out and said “oh, I almost caught up with you in skin complexion.” He didn’t mean anything offensive by it, but he hadn’t really thought about the implications of it.”
These microaggressions can manifest in different ways and make marketers feel uncomfortable in their own workplace. Omobono’s Jen Hennings mentioned that, from an LGBTQ perspective, Omobono found that, among the 18-24 demographic, over 50% identified as not straight, with about 60% feeling like they need to go back in the closet in the workplace due to the lack of representation and role models. That means 30% of the workforce don’t feel comfortable being themselves – and that’s just one aspect of diversity.