I've always cared about making an impact on the world, and I believe that companies bring about social change faster than other strands of society. When I was starting out in my career, I knew I wanted to work in an area where I could have an impact on society, help create equality in the workplace and improve business performance. Over the years, I've learned that organisations have made strides that government and policy has followed. What I love about working in diversity and inclusion is that it is a shared goal across industries and sectors; together we are striving for a more equal society and world.
Gaining experience and skills
While I knew the impact I wanted to make on the world, it wasn't always clear exactly how I'd get there. However, I gained some of the skills I'd need in my future career by taking opportunities to work. My first job at 16 was in a large cafeteria kitchen; I scraped food from plates and trays before they were sent to be washed. As well as communication and teamwork skills, I discovered how good leadership motivates; our team leader ensured that everyone felt valued.
My first corporate position was with New York Life Insurance Company, where my roles included internal communications and underwriting life insurance. I also gained my first position in diversity and inclusion and became more aware of how businesses can make a positive social impact.
The value of volunteering
In school and in university, I'd use my free time to volunteer. I was the first in my family to go to university in the USA, having lived in India, Hong Kong and Switzerland prior to that. So, I understood how it feels to be an outsider and I had to adapt and learn a new way of doing things. This encouraged me to volunteer to help others in a similar position.
As well as fulfilling a desire to help, I developed skills and values through volunteering that helped me as my career progressed. Leading projects and teams was particularly valuable, as it bolstered my confidence for when I became a manager later on. It also became clearer that I wanted to work for a company that gave back to local and global communities and encouraged their employees to do the same.
Finding a company that matches my values
The more I learned about Bloomberg, the more I realised it was the right fit for me. As a global information and technology organisation with many departments, employees have an immense range of skills sets and perspectives. I find this thrilling as I'm a collaborative person and enjoy working with people. I was also impressed by its larger philanthropic mission; most of the company's profits go back to the community through Bloomberg Philanthropies. I feel humbled and excited that my work has a direct impact on the larger community.
How my role contributes to a common goal
As the head of diversity and inclusion (D&I) for Bloomberg in EMEA, my goal is to advance the company's D&I initiatives across the region. The role itself is multi-faceted and complex. I'm both a leader and subject matter expert; I consult across stakeholders and provide strategies for Bloomberg. These efforts are put towards a common goal of ensuring all our employees from across the world benefit from being part of a diverse and inclusive workforce. This leads to superior performance within Bloomberg, which improves client satisfaction.
A culture that lets you thrive
Part of the reason I've been able to develop is because Bloomberg's ethos matches my own. All employees are empowered to lead. Levels don't matter; we don't even have formal titles. This has allowed me to lead in my own way.
My work at Bloomberg has also enabled me to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. I work with uncertainties — 'grey zones' — frequently, which has led me to trust my strengths and instincts. I've learned that it's OK not to know something and I'm confident in the experience and knowledge I bring to the organisation.
Colleagues with different perspectives
I'd advise students to look for a company where you'll work with people whose experiences and perspectives vary, so your own thoughts are challenged. This will also help you discover new interests, projects, and possibly even your next career move. Particularly in my early career, networking groups have helped me to build connections with different people and leadership skills. Working for a global company has also been eye opening. I've worked in London and New York during my time with Bloomberg and I've been on many global projects with people from all over the world.
Discover your values and interests
It can be hard to figure out what your values are and build your career around them. However, you can learn a lot by trying new things. Hard work will help to build a strong foundation for your future career, but success takes more than this. It's important to be proactive in pursuing your interests and be bold by taking on complex work and leading projects.
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