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20 October, 2023

Official Inauguration of the Multicultural Bankers Belgium

On the 20th of October 2023, the official Inauguration of Multicultural Bankers Belgium took place. From Awareness to Action: Multicultural Bankers Belgium provided a space where we focused on growing visibility and career opportunities for people of multicultural backgrounds in the financial sector! The event was a great success, with 120 multicultural bankers filling in the BNP Auditorium. The message during the inauguration of the Multicultural Bankers Belgium on Friday was clear: we need a shift from unconscious bias to conscious inclusion, from implicit exclusion to explicit inclusion - especially by managers who can have a huge impact on employees’ experience.

The event started off with a warm welcome by Bijou Tshiunza and Salomé Aurore Adjeme Biyo'o, both members of the multicultural bankers network. A warm welcome was given to the participants, with an explanation of the 4 inspiring workshops of the day. The workshops were as follows:

-          Gaining awareness of microaggressions, male white-skin privilege and more by Dalilla Hermans

-          Drafting inclusive communications by Taha Riani

-          Learning about available and unavailable data by Claire Godding and Delia Mensitieri

-          Designing the Dream by Manu Wachter and Jason-Louise Graham

The interactive workshops aimed to instigate personal change within the participants and potentially contribute to larger transformational processes within their respective organisations. The main takeaways from the workshops were as follows:

Gaining awareness of microaggressions, male white-skin privilege and more by Dalilla Hermans

Here, we will be clarifying terms of inclusion including white-skin privilege, tone-policing, confirmation bias, virtue signalling and more. By joining this workshop you will get out of your comfort zone and gain an understanding of this vocabulary

Main Takeaways:

Privilege, microaggressions, tokenism, different types of biases: it’s a language that we can only learn about by having conversations about the life experiences that accompany them. These are courageous conversations - but we can do hard things!

Drafting inclusive communications by Taha Riani

Most of the time, the intentions of communicators are good. But so often is our message not reaching everyone or doesn’t sound like we want it to sound. Inclusive communication is about creating visibility and creating a space where all voices can be heard.

Main Takeaways:

Inclusive communication needs to be a strategic decision that is implemented in a structured way and becomes part of the company’s alphabet. It’s not about just putting diverse faces on your corporate pictures.

This strategic decision needs to be structured and focused on the different levels of Inclusive Communication:

o   Social responsibility

o   Community involvement

o   Equity

o   Authenticity

o   Accessibility

Check out Taha's inclusive marketing tools here!

Learning about available and unavailable data by Claire Godding and Delia Mensitieri

How and what can we measure when we talk about “multicultural inclusion”? Without measuring, how can you know how diverse your company truly is, how can you check progress? This workshop will mention several ways to measure, several possible KPIs as well.

Main Takeaways:

The financial sector is a data-driven sector. We need data so that senior management can make data-based business decisions, set objectives and measure success. Luckily good data and methodologies are available

Click here to learn more about measuring a diverse, equity and inclusion-proof culture!

Designing the Dream by Manu Wachter and Jason-Louise Graham

In a world that seems stuck in its ways, innovators need to be able to dream big. Jason-Louise and Manu prepared a mini design thinking lab where we formulate our wildest dreams for positive, inclusive and structural change together.

Main Takeaways:

Knowing what is your dream and following it isn’t always easy. But if you just start by writing down the dream, the first step you need to take and at least one person who is willing to walk with you - anything is possible.

After the insightful workshops, the participants were invited back into the main auditorium for the second half of the event. We started off with a moment of silence prepared by job student Mathy Muteba. We were then carried on to the welcome speech by Anne-France Simon, Head of Diversity & Social Inclusion at BNP Paribas Fortis. Following Anne-France, Claire Godding, Senior Expert on Diversity and Inclusion and Societal Needs for the financial sector in Belgium at Febelfin, gave us a context speech on the current climate of multicultural bankers in Belgium. With the results of the mystery CVs, the energy to want to do better in the finance sector was exasperated.

We then headed into the panel discussions of the event. We had two invigorating panels, with a wide range of experts, new talents and change makers. The first panel was about finding, retaining and growing multicultural talent. This panel was moderated by Dalilla Hermans, with Andy T’Jampens, Delia Mensitieri, Herve Foyan Djoudom and Marieke Arnou on the stage.

Do you want to dive deeper into the data? Check out these figures on multiculturality!

The second panel, overcoming obstacles in your career, was moderated by Manu Wachter, and featured a diverse selection of women, which included Jason-Louise Graham, Fatima Wahni, Bijou Tshiunza and Dahyeon Lee. These panellists shared their stories about being and growing as multicultural bankers.

With this, we closed the event with a closing speech by Laura Lumingu, a member of the data workstream of the multicultural banker's network. Laura summarised the key takeaways of the event, as well as shared a word of thanks to our workshop heads, panellists and volunteers. We ended the event with a group photo, followed by networking and drinks by Chef Nery.

If you are interested in participating in future Multicultural Bankers Belgium events, or you would like to become a member and make a contribution, follow us on our social media pages on LinkedIn and Instagram, as well as keep an eye on our website.