Corinne Cahen opened the event on Wednesday evening by pointing out that there is no other country like Luxembourg:
“With 47.7% of residents holding foreign nationality, there are few countries who exercise diversity like we do.”
Cahen, the DP minister of family affairs, integration and the greater region, added that “businesses who live diversity, whether it be in sex, age or religion, are far more successful.”
The keynote speaker of the evening, Kary Bheemaiah, a consultant atUchange and author of “The Blockchain Alternative” commanded the stage used data, humorous analogies and mathematical equations to explain diversity and the value of it. He drew upon personal stories--his time spent in the army when diversity saved his life--and referenced Netflix to give a present day example of the value of diversity. Bheemaiah’s speech covered the ways in which “cognitive diversity and cultural diversity play a key role in challenging a team to make everyone perform to the best of their abilities.”
Following Bheemaiah’s speech, he joined fellow panel members for a discussion which was moderated by Karen Wauters from The Network, a women’s business networking club. Two of the panel members, Alberta Brusi, country officer at Citibank, and John Parkhouse, who is CEO of PWC Luxembourg, engaged in dialogue about diversity in a larger scale workforce. Brusi raised the issue of “unconscious bias” and how this hinders progress, whilst Parkhouse gave practical examples of the responsibilities of advertising roles in a way which appeals to all genders and backgrounds.
They also addressed the challenges of diversity and Catia Fernandes, the coordinator of the Diversity Charter run by IMS Luxembourg, was able to lend a hand by explaining the ways such issues could be addressed.
The rest of the evening continued with a Q&A and a networking reception giving the audience an opportunity to discuss the topics that were raised earlier on in the evening. Following the official programme, Laurent Peusch from Adem, the national jobs agency, told Delano that as the deputy head of employer services the talk gave him a lot of food for thought:
“It was particularly inspiring to hear from Mr Bheemaiah, who is from Bangalore but works in France and has a great perspective of what diversity actually means.”
“The panel gave a great insight into diversity from the point of view of the leaders. In my workplace, we’re already very diverse, something which I am grateful for. We’re all invited onto panel discussions no matter what level we are. I’m proud to say that we’re a diverse faculty and staff.”
Most people were blown away by the keynote speaker’s take on diversity, Pierre-Adrien Grange felt that the message was clear:
“with a speaker who comes from a pure data science, business leaders and a minister, the panel embodied diversity. Most fascinating, however, was the connection Mr Bheemaiah made between what goes on in our brains to what goes into our everyday behaviour.”