International Women's Day is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate women who drive our success and help us grow. But it’s also a very important reminder of why diversity and inclusion matter in the first place… and that each of us has a role to play in creating a welcoming environment.
This year, we decided to center our conversation around building an inclusive workplace here at Klook. We invited three wonderful allies — Cary Shek, Vice President, People & Culture, Dina Shin, Senior Director, Entertainment and Eric Gnock Fah, COO & Co-Founder — to talk about what inclusion means, why allyship matters and what each and every one of us can do to drive change. The panel was internal-only but we couldn’t resist sharing some of the learnings with all of you.
Diversity is in Klook’s DNA
Diversity is a topic close to Eric’s heart. Growing up in Mauritius, he experienced a real melting pot of cultures. “I learned the power of diversity which is the power of difference.”
“It’s one of the reasons why I loved starting Klook — travel has a wonderful way of bridging differences. It’s important to me that as a travel and leisure company, we serve as that bridge, enhancing people’s experiences and deepening their understanding of the world. A deep appreciation of diversity has been in our DNA from the start.”
Of course, this is not to say that our work here is done. We continue paving the way forward and conversations like this one are an important part of that process.
What does inclusion mean to you?
Our moderator for the evening, Amrita Toor, kicked off the panel with aligning on what inclusion in the workplace actually means.
“Inclusive workplace means that anyone from any background feels like they can succeed and maximize their potential and be themselves,” added Dina. “That’s crucial as we become a more diverse company. One very unique strength of Klook is that we are always encouraged to do more, we’re always being pushed to achieve something greater, no matter your background.”
“For me, it’s about open-mindedness,” said Eric. “We’re lucky to be working and interacting with people from so many different cultures and backgrounds every day. It’s important we all promote open-mindedness and remember that everyone is learning along the way. Inclusion is about creating a safe space to be on this learning journey together.”
The power of allyship
While we all agree that we want to build a company where everyone belongs and thrives, it can be difficult to know how to achieve that goal. Where do we start? Our panelists spoke about the idea of allyship and the power that comes with showing up for each other.
An ally is any person who actively promotes and advances the culture of inclusion through intentional efforts. For Dina, finding an ally earlier on in her career journey was incredibly impactful. When she found herself working as the only Asian woman in an investment firm, a senior colleague stepped in to coach her, give her stretch opportunities and assign tasks that involved working with senior stakeholders. “She showed me how to turn my difference into a strength and I’m forever grateful for that lesson.”
Inclusion starts with all of us
To end the panel, our speakers shared different ways in which they support their teams and colleagues today. Allyship doesn’t always require grant gestures. Sometimes it’s the little things that can make all the difference in our working environment. Here are some pieces of advice that you can start incorporating into your work life today.
Take the time to get to know your team on a personal level
“Working remotely means we have less face-to-face time with the team so managers may need to put in extra effort to stay in touch,” added Cary. “As a manager, schedule some time for a catch-up, for discussing how your team members feel, how their mental wellbeing is right now.”
“How we become more inclusive is understanding what everyone is going through,” added Dina. “To give you an example, I used to run meetings until 7:30 PM, past our office hours. One day, I heard from a colleague that her partner had commented how our meetings end late. And that was great to hear because I didn't intend it that way. Having that personal conversation made me realize that this is something we can change. Work is part of life and we need to make sure we achieve a balance.”
Start an informal mentorship
“I find mentorship is really important,” shared Dina. “It doesn’t have to be a formal scheme organized by the company. I actually catch up with Cary and other women leaders at Klook regularly. It’s a safe space to openly share our challenges and thoughts. That type of communication is really important at work.”
Speak up when something doesn’t sit right with you
When we know better, we do better. According to Eric, honest feedback is crucial in building a better workplace for all. “Nothing is more important than having transparent conversation, whether it’s upwards, downwards or lateral. We really hope for people to seek feedback on how they can do better and to provide it to others, to call out anything they see that doesn't align with our culture. All of us here are committed to learning together.”
Be an active participant
“Inclusion is not something that can solely be driven by your People & Culture team,” concluded Cary. “Everyone plays an important role to show respect to each other, speak up if you have concerns and lend a helping hand. The beauty of a growing company like Klook is that we all get to build our culture together.”
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Posted by Klook Careers