Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at ng-voice
Why do we rarely consider ourselves as ‘able-bodied’ when we think of our self-identity?
What microaggressions have we experienced and how can we deal with them?
Do you recognize our own privilege?
These were the questions we covered during the eight hours we spent together with Ellen and Hewan at Cross Cultural Bridges. With the increasing representation of colleagues from various backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences along with the company’s rapid growth, we organized the first diversity, equity, and inclusion workshops. As a professional coach, Ellen shared her own stories as black homosexual woman living in a foreign country to create a safe space to open participants’ minds. These sessions aimed to set the common language around diversity, to be aware of blind spots on our own bias, and ultimately to foster diversity-conscious culture.
One of the potluck party analogies is to leave a lasting impression to understand the concepts of diversity, inclusion, and belonging. A potluck party would be boring if everyone brings similar dishes. The success of a potluck party depends on the diversity of dishes to celebrate different tastes. In this context, diversity means when you organize a potluck party and ask participants to bring their own foods that are different. Inclusion means when all the participants try each other’s dishes, familiar or new, with a sense of curiosity and respect. Belonging means that the participants take turns to be organizers to invite people and plan together.
When you read the wordings on the sticky notes, it might not sink in immediately. We often use the terms equity and equality interchangeably without knowing the difference. Equality means treating everyone equally regardless of whether one’s socioeconomic status is high or low, if one has a migration background, if one has a differently-abled body. Equity, on the other hand, considers everyone’s different contexts and circumstances. That’s why we called it Diversity, “Equity”, and Inclusion workshops.
No Assumption, More Question
Another aha-moment takeaway was “Don’t assume anything and always ask what the other wants.” We should make conscious efforts to avoid assumptions but ask questions. This may sound easy but unfortunately it often proves to be challenging because people have implicit or cognitive biases. Biases are systematic errors in thinking to save our energy in decision making and judgments. What we often forget is that we make a lot of assumptions about ourselves and others on a subconscious level.
Because we are different, the only thing we can safely assume is that everyone sees and understands the world differently. Let your assumptions be flexible and light, and don’t let them get entrenched in your unconscious self.
Privileges and Solidarity
We also reflected on different forms of discrimination like racism, lookism, and ageism before discussing how to address microaggressions from our own experiences. We addressed different privileges as white, christian, heterosexual, or cisgender (A person that identifies with the gender that they were assigned with at birth) in groups and updated our profiles with pronouns as an expression of solidarity and support for LGBTQIA community.
Two sessions were not enough to go deep into each important topic or share each of our personal experiences and views. Instead, this was a great introduction to the new world where people can more easily talk about uncomfortable issues. We have so much to unlearn and learn about diversity for sure. As a first step, why don’t we reveal ourselves, our authentic experiences, our core fears, desires, dreams, and hopes to others?
At ng-voice, We are on a mission to create an inclusive, equal environment and raise the bar in the telco industry. Feel free to explore our website and learn more about our work culture.
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Seon Y. Lee
Finance and Impact Manager
With over 6 years of experience in finance operations and project management in Seoul and Berlin, Seon has a track record in ecosystem building and business development. She’s known for her reliability, attention to detail, and for initiating new ideas proactively. She’s an avid supporter of women’s empowerment, veganism, and the K-pop boyband, BTS.