“Diversity & inclusion is not a dream, but rather a journey, preparing the future generation and leaders to more equality in accessing education, jobs and prosperity. Diversey is proud to inject fresh air into LEAD’s sails”

Dr. Ilham Kadri

President & CEO of Diversey

LEAD Newsletter Sponsor Spotlight Sept 2018

  1. Can you tell us a bit about your organization and your role?

Diversey is a leading provider of smart, sustainable solutions for cleaning and hygiene that drive increased productivity, food safety and infection prevention. I’m honoured to lead the company, proud to be the first female President and CEO of the company’s history, and I’ve been busy over the last year positioning Diversey as a standalone business after the Bain Capital acquisition.

Being in the industry for over 5 years, I have been working closely with our team on key innovations and services that support cleanliness and overall health, sustainability, cost savings and enhanced productivity. As a knowledge-based company, Diversey is backed by thousands of scientists, engineers, equipment, application and industry experts, delivering tailored solutions to our customers. Through the integration of new technology-enabled services and systems, we strive to enhance our customers’ end user experience and ultimately create profitable sustainable enterprises.

  1. Why is diversity, and specifically the advancement of women, so important to your organization?

It is personally important to me to encourage women and make a difference in this world. I was born and raised in Casablanca, but it certainly wasn’t anything like the Hollywood film of that name. We had to do without many basic essentials, including good food, electricity and running water. There’s a saying in Morocco that every woman has two exits. The first one is from her home to her husband’s home, and the second one is to her grave. That’s not a journey my grandmother wanted for me. She was illiterate, but she impressed the importance of education on me – telling me to find my ‘third exit’. And that’s what education became: my third exit.

The opportunity to impact the lives of women in the cleaning industry who may not have any other chance at a better life is a privilege. Promoting diversity and the advancement of women in their careers at Diversey, I hope, can show more women their third exit into the workforce and many more other opportunities.

Seventy percent of the workers in the cleaning industry are female and half of them are illiterate, so my commitment is to do all I can to give them the chance to prosper. It is very important for Diversey, as an international company, to set a good example in the industry, and even other enterprises, that the glass ceiling for women at work is meant to be broken.

  1. Which diversity initiatives do you have in your organization?

To foster a culture of diversity and inclusion within our organization, we always encourage employees to engage with us and reach their full potential. At Diversey, we established the Women’s Initiative Network, aiming to ensure that Diversey attracts, retains and advances the professional development of women. We also recently developed our Diversity & Inclusion Strategy to promote our core values to all levels of employees.

We believe that diverse backgrounds and experiences can make us stronger as a team. That is why we seek to attract, recruit, and retain top diverse talent globally. It’s great to see the progress we have made so far, and we look forward to continuing these efforts within Diversey and beyond.

  1. What role does the LEAD Network play in reaching your organization’s diversity goals?

Working on diversity and inclusion within an organization is not sufficient to truly promote the initiatives. As our internal Women’s Initiative Network is sharing diversity goals very similar to those of LEAD Network, we hope to develop and implement our overall diversity and inclusion strategy both inside and out.

Through LEAD’s networking events, we look forward to building a community where members from different organisations can support each other on the journey of achieving diversity in the workplace. LEAD Network can surely offer a great platform to our employees to share ideas on how companies reach their diversity strategy and goals.

We believe the strong network of LEAD can provide us guidance and advice from other companies and, together, we can create more sustainable value within our organization and lead us to the next level.

  1. What would you like your employees to take away from the LEAD Network?

A Diversity and inclusion strategy only works when all employees engage in the company’s initiatives. When we are designing and developing new company policies, it is crucial to make sure that our employees’ value on diversity is aligned.

From the LEAD Network we hope that our employees can gain a better understanding of diversity and inclusion. For members within the leadership, they can learn more about how to enhance representation and manager commitment to grow our inclusive workforce. Mentoring and affinity groups at Diversey can also be established with the support of LEAD Network. We hope our employees can bring their whole self to work and grow together as an inclusive team.