For the second year running, Coface held a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Week for its 4,500 employees around the world, offering our teams the opportunity to participate in conferences and workshops, with the aim of breaking down stereotypes and reducing unconscious bias.
We kicked off D&I Week with a conference on Gender Equality. We had the plreasure of welcoming Laurence Miall d'Aout, former Commercial Director of Deezer, and Marie-Christine Maheas, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Mazars.
This conference was sponsored by some of Coface's senior executives: Secretary General Carole Lytton, CEO Xavier Durand, and Group Human Resources Director Pierre Bevière. The discussion was moderated by Group Communications Director Saphia Gaouaoui.
- Marie-Christine Mahéas began by explaining that gender diversity is a performance lever for companies. Many studies (SKEMA Observatory, McKinsey Women Matters studies, BCG Study to name a few) show that gender-diverse companies perform much better than those with male-dominated teams.
- Carole Lytton shared her experience of balancing a personal life with two children at home and a busy professional life. For Carole, "Times have changed, society has changed, people and companies have changed, (...) but we must not rely on that alone. We must rely on ourselves, fight our tendency to be too modest (...) Let's not rely only on others to make things change."
- Laurence Miall d'Aout spoke about ways to develop gender diversity as a leader in a company: "Women tend to do a good job (...), but they rarely plan the next step in their career. And it's a company's role to support women's career advancement."
- Xavier Durand also shared several professional and personal anecdotes, and concluded: "It's easier to organise your own workload when you have a high-ranking position in a company, because you decide when the meetings take place. And so, as you progress in your career, you have more control; you set the schedule, and you can decide that, after 6pm, you are no longer available."
Improving LGBT+ inclusion at work
On Tuesday, the focus was on inclusion: "How can we make our workspace more inclusive, especially for LGBT+ employees?". For this session, Coface brought together Christy Caragol (SVP, Talent Management & Diversity & Inclusion at Arch Capital Services Inc), Florence Dossogne (Director of Transformation Programmes and L'autre cercle's Ally-Model 2019), Aurore Foursy (Senior Manager, Sustainability at Coca-Cola France and L'autre cercle's LGBT+ Model 2020) and Cécile Lambert (Head of Project Management of the Coface Group, and L'autre cercle's LGBT Role Model 2021). This conference was sponsored by Phalla Gervais (CFO of the Coface Group) and Pierre Bevierre (HR Director of the Coface Group).
- Christy Caragol presented the successful internal LGBTQ+ network she helped to create at Arch Capital. The main objective of creating such a network is to encourage employees to exchange with each other. She recalled the importance of giving visibility to LGBT+ people in the company and the need to regularly remind people that they can be themselves at work. She also emphasised that the involvement and support of allies is crucial to ensure that the voice of minorities is heard throughout the company's groups and networks.
- Aurore Foursy spoke about the specific difficulties faced by lesbians in the workplace, based on her own experience and on a study published by L'autre cercle.
- Florence Dossogne shared the importance of LGBT+ allies and how non-LGBT+ people can all act for more inclusion in business and society in general.
This session, sponsored by Marcele Lemos, CEO of Coface Latin America, saw the intervention of Ashton Applewhite, writer and campaigner against ageism, and Renske Witlox, the Coface employee who co-founded the internal group Coface Young.
- This session was an opportunity for Pierre Bevière, HR Director of the Coface Group, to announce the launch of a reverse mentoring programme within the group.
- Renske presented the internal group Coface Young, which aims to promote actions initiated by employees under 35 while involving all employees.
- The last part of the conference consisted of a panel discussion and a world tour, with Coface employees from Brazil, the United States, Denmark, Singapore, and South Africa sharing their experiences.
Sponsored by Carine Pichon, CEO of Coface Western Europe, the session saw Nathalie McGloin, the only female quadriplegic racing driver in the world, speak about her journey:
With this, she shared her unique and incredible story, encouraging us to believe that anything is possible.
The final session was moderated by Shaazia Khan from Coface South Africa, and sponsored by Jarek Jaworski, Managing Director of Coface Central and Eastern Europe. Together with other colleagues, they demonstrated the strength of multiculturalism, which is deeply rooted in Coface's DNA! Jarek leads the business in a region consisting of 14 countries. For him, the diversity of cultures, the creativity and the strength of innovation that result from this is a real asset that must be cultivated.
Employees from all over the world were also able to talk about their experiences of international mobility, a key element of Coface's HR policy.