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Accenture – Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

This year the Digital Freedom Festival was held for 2 days on 5 stages, and gathered over 1,600 attendees from 30 countries around the world to discuss how we can all benefit from the digital revolution. 40% of this year’s speakers were women, which is an improvement from last year. Diversity is an especially important topic in the tech sector, and our partner Accenture Latvia joined the DFF to talk about the issue of diversity in tech.

Accenture hosted the panel discussion “Innovation for Future Talent – When She Rises, We All Rise”, presenting their latest research on global gender equality and sharing lessons learned. Panelists included Leader of Nordic PCS and Latvia Inclusion & Diversity at Accenture Latvia Alda Zeila, Adobe Solutions Consultant Dana Icikzone, Angel Island Founder Ton Van’t Noordende; and entrepreneur and an activist in edtech and robotech Ariana Ivan all shared their experience with tackling the issue of diversity in their organisations.

 

When She Rises, We All Rise

 

Alda Zeila kicked off the discussion with a presentation on Accenture‘s research on diversity in the workplace. The global company has created two main goals for promoting diversity within their own business: to achieve 50/50 gender balance by 2025, and to have 25% women managing directors by 2020. Their research shows that improving workplace diversity benefits companies in a number of ways, from improving financial returns, to higher productivity and customer loyalty.

After surveying over 22 thousand people in 34 countries, one of the main outcomes of Accenture‘s research was identifying 40 factors that influence workplace advancement. These 40 factors fall into three categories necessary to changing workplace culture. First there is bold leadership – a diverse leadership team that openly measures equality targets. Second, comprehensive action in forming policies, which are family-friendly and support both genders. The third category is forming an empowering environment – one that trusts employees, respects individuals and offers freedom to be creative and to train and work flexibly.

 

Adobe for All

 

Dana Icikzone shared her experience with Adobe’s vision for advancing diversity and inclusion called “Adobe For All”. “We believe that everyone deserves respect and equal treatment, regardless of background or identity. When people feel appreciated and included, they can be more creative, innovative, and successful,” says Icikzone. Adobe‘s global strategy for growing diversity focuses on four areas.

The first area is the pipeline. By focusing on this area the company can increase opportunities for women and ethnic minorities to pursue tech careers. Attracting and hiring diverse candidates through university partnerships, targeted recruiting, and neutral hiring practices is another key area for promoting diversity. Creating an inclusive workplace through community building, training and internal awareness-building helps helps retain the diversity achieved in hiring practices. Lastly, working with customers, partners, suppliers and peers to share best practices and drive meaningful impact is crucial for large-scale industry change.

 

Preparing Future Leaders

 

Panel moderator Ariana Ivan steered the conversation with two main questions: why do we need to talk about diversity, and can education be a starting point for solving diversity issues? “I think a unique angle is education – we all believe that in order to make a change, we need to address the education system, as well and what we teach our kids in school,” says Ivan.

Discussing an issue such as diversity is the first step to making a change, and at the Digital Freedom Festival we will do our part no only to make this crucial first step, but also to implement real-life changes. In addition to becoming one of the most influential tech events in the Baltics, DFF CEO Dagnija Lejiņa has made it one of her missions to have women represent 50% of this audience. This isn’t an easy task in such a notoriously male-dominated industry, but nonetheless, this year’s statistics improve upon last year reaching a 40%/60% split while maintaining the golden rule of “no all-male panels”. We hope that at the DFF 2019 will be the year we finally achieve our 50:50 diversity goal for speakers. Please help us our by nominating a fabulous woman to our #Women4DigitalFreedom speaker list!

 

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About the Digital Freedom Festival

The Digital Freedom Festival is a global technology, startup, policy and lifestyle festival, which will be held on November 30th and December 1st in Riga. It will gather technology and startup entrepreneurs, experts, policymakers, investors, journalists and motivational speakers from all over the world to look for answers to how entrepreneurs, society and and policymakers can better cooperate and use the benefits provided by technology.

In 2017 the Digital Freedom Festival gathered 1300 technology and startup entrepreneurs, experts, policymakers, investors, journalists and students from 36 countries. The conference livestream was viewed more than 9000 times.

The conference is organised by the Digital Freedom Festival group, the DFF NGO, as well as the Lejiņa & Šleiersreputation management agency. Festival official bank – PNB Banka, startup competition partner 500 Startups, Rockstart, European Commission, USA Embassy, Dutch Embassy etc. Media partners – Delfi, Dienas Bizness, LETA, Diena, SestDiena, Kapitāls, The Baltic Times, LabsofLatvia, bel.biz, BerlinBalticNordic.net, la.lv, inbox.lv etc.

Two-day festival tickets are available online.

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