dhOne interviews on diversity & inclusion

dhOne interviews on diversity & inclusion

dhOne (dunnhumby’s Multicultural Network) spoke to several of its members from across all areas of the organisation.

dhOne interviews on diversity & inclusion

They were interviewed about their challenges at work, as well as their views on diversity and inclusion. Here we share some of those interviews, which we hope you find insightful.

1. David Jack,
dhOne Executive Sponsor

What do you do at dunnhumby?

I’m the chief tech nerd – ultimately accountable for all technology, science, security, development and operations and related systems. Obviously, I work with a great leadership team

What are some of the challenges which you’ve faced in your career?

Constant self-doubt – I spent much of my career trying to be as smart as the smartest and as effective as the best. It was a great relief a few years ago when my coach showed me that being good enough was often more than enough, and sometimes the slightly odd shape career experience/thinking could deliver simply brilliant outcomes (without understanding why).

An unbalanced work/home life – I got it totally wrong when my children were young, I thought that the spoils of working so hard would be worth it… they weren’t. I particularly regret not understanding my daughter’s challenges better (she has Asperger’s syndrome) and giving her more time when she was struggling.

Being someone I wasn’t – being told that I had to wear a tie to a board meeting and thinking that I should comply to fit in, of course it was nothing about the way I dressed/still dress - I was in the wrong company. We didn’t share the same values and I was only there for my own vanity. (I left...)

Figuring out that the only value I could bring to a team at moment of cataclysmic technical failure (all systems were down) was making the tea and buying biscuits. Humbly acknowledging your place/value is sometimes hard. The team recovered everything, and we survived/thrived as a business but it is has stuck with me.

What are your most important values?

In the workplace - doing the right thing (for the whole org), even though it can be very hard for individuals.

Generally – it is just simple honesty – even if the message is hard…

Incidentally, I love optimists. Especially those that are honest about not knowing all the answers and are happy with ambiguity

What does inclusion/belonging mean to you?

More than just creating a feeling of safety – but providing a place for people to be at their best for everyone.

What value does inclusion or belonging in the workforce bring?

Twofold – firstly, the act of creating an inclusive environment encourages reflection and thoughtfulness especially on how we behave and what we celebrate. This process alone has a magical effect on what we say and do and how people respond to us. Secondly, it’s just a hard-commercial fact – diverse (in every dimension) organisations are more successful and I like success.

What are you doing to make sure everyone feels included?

Obviously we can always do more (and we should)  – but the technology and science leadership do think and talk about inclusion (a good starting point) and are involved in a number of initiatives in place, ranging from ensuring a diverse leadership, funding the women returners programme, being involved in dhOne (Multicultural Network), kicking off a neuro-diversity recruitment campaign and many things in between.

How do you empower your colleagues?

I set really high expectations and don’t give many of the answers (not that I know them!) – so, my colleagues must figure it out, sometimes fail and sometimes take completely different routes to the one I would.

Figuring out how to manage ambiguity while landing radical change can transform someone’s confidence and effectiveness. Empowerment comes with confidence.

How do you create advocates out of your colleagues?

It’s a mix – challenging the behaviours that poison the environment/teams we work with and celebrate the good – showing that advocacy supports diversity and diversity brings success and as I said before – everyone loves to win.

The informal questions

Outside of work I love to…

Music – I play (badly) lots of instruments – my favourite is my Cello

Sport – I run/cycle – not particularly fast but I get there and I love the pain

Outdoors – I love to be in my garden, or out walking with the dogs

Spend time with my Fiancé –  we were due to get married in June :-( but now plan on a winter wedding (in our garden) :-)

My favourite Podcast/tv series/book/film…

Books

Even though as a bit of a dyslexic I have struggled at times with reading lots, but here are some of my favourites:

Opening of Skinners Box – Lauren Slater

Thinking in Pictures – Temple Grandin

Tales of the City – Armistead Maupin

First Favourite Film – Diva – loved it as a pretentious teenager, still love it now

Shameful secret favourite film - Princess Bride

Recent binge – After-life – what a well observed series!

 

 

2. Mariama Kamanda,
dhOne UK lead

What do you do at dunnhumby?

I’m an Applied Data Scientist in the Customer and Solutions team

What are some of the challenges which you’ve faced in your career?

The main challenges that I have faced during my career are valuing my unique perspective and not forgiving myself when I make mistakes. The former arose because I'm usually the only black/ black female Data Scientist in the companies I've worked at, so I didn’t have role models. Thus, I felt a pressure to adjust and conform. But I’ve come to appreciate that there is a power and liberation in embracing myself; flaws and all. I am not saying I am 100% there, but I have come a long way. 

What are your most important values?

Fairness, Compassion, Openness, Loyalty and Optimism

What does inclusion/belonging mean to you?

Belonging means I can be Mariama Kamanda, a proud Black African British immigrant, who can live freely within any society without being reprimanded, questioned or judged. Belonging means that I am a part of the collective – which accepts, supports and uplifts.

What value does inclusion or belonging in the workforce bring?

The richness of variety, something that dunnhumby has a boatload of! It’s a real privilege to learn from other people’s life experiences and culture, not only does it widen our world view, but it helps to bridge knowledge gaps that can be enforced by our own biases.

What are you doing to make sure everyone feels included?

I am currently the lead of the dunnhumby’s Multicultural Network (dhOne) in the UK. As the lead I have worked to nurture a community where all members, BAME and non-BAME feel safe, heard, visible, represented and most importantly empowered to be themselves. The role has truly been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my career!

How do you empower your colleagues?

As the dhOne lead I empower my colleagues by listening. Listening to their suggestions, concerns and feedback on my leadership. My aim is for the members to wholeheartedly join me on this thrilling journey to promote diversity and inclusion within dunnhumby.

How do you create advocates out of your colleagues?

Get to know them, without an agenda. There is a beauty that comes from just talking to someone and building a rapport, respect and acceptance. I find that once you’ve worked on those things, it’s easier to have those honest but tricky conversations about diversity and inclusion.

The informal questions

Outside of work I love to…

I LOVE to Cook! I mostly enjoy experimenting with flavours when I am creating marinades for foods. But I also enjoy attempting to cook my traditional cuisine (from Sierra Leone)

My favourite Podcast/tv series/book/film…

I am a sucker for a good/trashy series: Tiger King, The Office, Money Heist, X-Men Marvel (90’s cartoon)

 

 

3. Pankaj Mishra,
dhOne member, India

What do you do at dunnhumby? 

I’m an Applied Data Science Director. I lead Tesco UK&I Applied Data Scientists (ADS) to deliver brilliant work to Tesco, suppliers and our media partners by helping them to do their best for customers.

What are some of the challenges which you’ve faced in your career?

Challenging the status quo, even now when I’m in a leadership position. For example, I’ve found it difficult to change the opinion that an individual’s abilities are determined by their age, years of experience etc. So, I am trying to make my team more audacious, especially when it comes to rewarding talent - irrespective of the preconceived checklist of success/ seniority.

What are your most important values

  • Discipline, as it helps to make things happen
  • Respecting commitments

What does inclusion/belonging mean to you?

Belonging to me means having mutual respect and promoting diversity to make things better for everyone.

What value does inclusion or belonging in the workforce bring? 

An inclusive culture is one where all individuals feel that they can contribute, be themselves, be treated equally and be in an environment that is non-hostile. When everyone is included, everyone wins. We accomplish greater things together and cherish the bonding which we build with each other on this journey!

What are you doing to make sure everyone feels included? 

In my view, the first step to inclusion is to connect widely to bring people closer. So, as a leader of a team which spans across markets, I find it’s important to maintain frequent communications with the wider team. For instance, to bridge this gap of geographies, coalesce the team and spotlight success we host bi-monthly ADS meetings and distribute a newsletter.

How do you empower your colleagues?

By nurturing an environment of camaraderie within my wider team as well as joining company Networks that promote diversity and Inclusion.

Firstly, nurturing camaraderie within the team means that everyone can buy into a common goal, which they truly believe and own - so that they are empowered to do their best for themselves, as well as the team! Furthermore, by encouraging knowledge sharing by advocating “failing fast,” my teams can innovate rapidly and develop optimal solutions.

Secondly, I recently joined dhOne, the Multicultural Network as a senior committee member. Having joined the network, I have found that it is dedicated to encouraging inclusion within dunnhumby and empowering the members to be themselves. It’s a brilliant feeling to be part of it!

How do you create advocates out of your colleagues?

Firstly, as a data company, I think it is imperative for our leaders to reiterate the importance of Diversity & Inclusion using a data lens. For instance, an article published by the Harvard business review stated that a diverse team tend to outperform non-diverse teams by 35%! With such evidence under out toolbelt, we have great evidence to start/ continue having open dialogues around diversity and inclusion. 

Secondly, as I have mentioned, it is important to start dialogues with our colleagues, so that we can gauge everyone’s needs. This way we can ensure everyone feels supported, included and valued as that is the culture that we want to embody within dunnhumby.

Outside of work I love to…

Play cricket & TT - beer does help me to multiply my skills!

My favourite Podcast/tv series/book/film…

Friends!

 
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