This year's International Women's Day theme #ChooseToChallenge represents the idea of challenging norms related to gender equality to create change. At Phaidon International, we choose to challenge and promote gender diversity and inclusion.
Alexis Colombini, Talent Acquisition Partner at Phaidon International, shares her thoughts on this year's theme, and how she chooses to challenge in her role.
What does the #ChooseToChallenge message mean to you?
I think #ChoosetoChallenge means that in society we should constantly be looking for ways to better ourselves when it comes to gender equality and diversity. Individuals can do this by continuously educating themselves on the matter and making sure to never become complacent on the topic as the world is ever-changing and there are always ways to improve. To create real change, we need momentum and a huge way to gain that in society is to not only focus on our individual efforts, but to also take a proactive approach in creating awareness on the topic and challenging others to do their part.
What sort of conversations around gender equality do you have with your clients in your role? Has Covid-19 had an impact on gender equality?
As a Talent Acquisition Partner, I deal with entry level candidates daily, many of whom are in college or recent graduates. It is very encouraging to see that candidates often ask what our company does to improve gender equality and DE&I efforts as it is a topic that is becoming increasingly valuable to them when considering an organization and is a motivating factor for many individuals entering the work force. Given that these entry level consultants are the future leadership team in our organization, educating them on the topic early on is very important to making sure that our efforts to create an equal work force have a lasting impact for generations to come. COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the recruitment industry, with one of the biggest trends being the adaptation of work from home policies in organizations and increased flexibility in the work force. Allowing that flexibility invites greater opportunity for all individuals to be considered for positions regardless of gender or other identifying factors.
What role can recruiters play in challenging norms and creating change?
As recruitment consultants, not only do we have a responsibility to ourselves to never became stagnant when it comes to our company’s efforts, but we are also in a unique position to advise our clients on efforts that they can make to improve gender equality in the work force and to challenge them to do so. Similarly to how we update our clients on market trends, we should also be informing them on relevant articles, forums, and events they can participate in to educate themselves on gender equality and other DE&I efforts. This reinforces that gender equality is not accomplished by simply filling a quota or doing the bare minimum but by constantly looking for ways to engage in the conversation and create a more equal world.
What advice would you give to a company trying to create a diverse hiring strategy?
Being aware and mindful of the situation is the first step. A huge way to create awareness is not only by educating senior leadership on the topic, but also increasing efforts as a business to host different trainings, forums, etc. on unconscious bias in the work force and the importance of gender equality this way it will impact future generations of leadership in the business as well. When it comes to hiring, the best way to focus on equality is to treat people as people regardless of how they identify and get in the mindset of hiring individuals that add different backgrounds and viewpoints to your staff instead of continuously replicating the same profiles.
As a female leader, what advice would you give to other aspiring leaders in overcoming potential gender biases and achieving career success?
Find a mentor who inspires you and challenges you to do better! Whether it is a colleague, professor, relative, etc. a mentor can be instrumental in helping you to develop both personally and professionally and regardless of what level you are at in your career you should constantly be looking to progress further. Mentors can also be important guideposts when any obstacles are thrown your way and can make sure you do not lose sight of your goals and worth.
About Alexis Colombini
Alexis Colombini is a Talent Acquisition Partner at Phaidon International. She joined Phaidon in 2017 after graduating from the University of Delaware with a Marketing Degree. In the past 3+ years, she has helped Phaidon grow across all 5 of our micro-specialized brands in the U.S. and helped to find the future leaders of the organization.