Lisa Seelau is a HR specialist for personnel marketing and participates in the LGBTQ group at HZB. Diversity plays a big role in her everyday professional life. In this talk, she mentions how much a culture of openness and exchange about different perspectives enriches her.
What is important to you when it comes to diversity?
I firmly believe that diversity in a company brings new ideas and perspectives. It changes the view that has existed for a long time, the heteronormative view of the cis-white male. There are also numerous studies showing that diversity makes companies more successful. Diversity works best when there is training on the topic, when managers and directors address diversity in a positive way.
At what points in your work does diversity play a role?
As a recruiter, diversity plays a huge role in the selection process.
Sometimes you tell yourself or are told that your team is not diverse. Nevertheless, there are many aspects of diversity, for example social background or mental ability, which are not always visible. It is important here that we are open to each other.
When did it help you that there were different opinions on a topic?
In general, I find that by having different opinions, I adjust my view of the world and it helps me to not just stay in my “bubble”.
In the work context, I have noticed, for example in the pandemic, that there are very different approaches here. I find it important to be aware that one person can never cover all perspectives alone. Through different opinions, we can optimise and redesigne processes.
Where were there also points of friction?
Sometimes, I notice that my background in the humanities makes me act very differently than people from the legal sciences, for example. I like to work creatively, to test new ideas, to “have a go” and then, colleagues approach me and share their view: “Have you considered this and that, kept this legal framework in mind”. That is very enriching, because things often aren’t as easy as they seem.
Which aspect of diversity (e.g. origin, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion) should HZB be more committed to?
Do I have to choose one? Then it would be disability, not only diagnosed, but I am talking about neurodiversity here, for example. I see a huge potential there for people for whom we are not creating an environment at the moment.
On the topic of gender, I can say that we commit strongly to equality between men and women here – but we should not only focus on this binarity. In my work, it is natural, but also important, that we as HZB become even more attractive for women or people of all genders.
The interview was conducted by Florentine Krawatzek.
Translation by Ribal Zeitouni.
What is neuro-diversity?
Neurodiversity is an account on neurological differences, such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and other conditions. These differences are normal and should be respected as unique ways of experiencing the world. Neurodiversity promotes the idea that these differences contribute to the diversity of human strengths, perspectives, and abilities, instead of seeing them solely as deficits or disorders. It advocates for inclusivity, understanding, and support for individuals with diverse neurological profiles.
In science, neurodiverse people can have great advantages in comparison to their neurotypical colleagues, if their environment promotes them to use their full potential. For example, researches have found that autistic people demonstrated exceptional attention to detail, enhanced visual perception, and the ability to focus intensely on specific tasks, which are valuable qualities in scientific research. Further, studies suggest a positive correlation between people with ADHD and entrepreneurship,.
It is important that we create an inclusive environment, in which neurodiverse people can live up to their full potential. It is an ongoing process that requires a commitment to diversity, empathy, and continual improvement.
Written by Ribal Zeitouni.
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- Wismans, A., Thurik, R., Verheul, I., Torrès, O. and Kamei, K. (2020), Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms and Entrepreneurial Orientation: A Replication Note. Applied Psychology, 69: 1093-1112. https://doi.org/10.1111/apps.12247
This blogpost is part of a series on Diversity. You can find further articles here.