Diversity isn’t just about gender – it’s about culture, gender, sexual orientation, age and many other factors.
At Inspiring Rare Birds we are global and inclusive, and take great pride in the leadership of diversity, which is not gender exclusive – 54% of our digital readers are male.
What we don’t ever do is make decisions about employment based on degree qualifications alone, your CV, the school you went to, if English is your first language, where you live and what your personal religious beliefs might be.
We look at wisdom, attitude, problem-solving skills, passion, persistence, logic, compassion and resilience as much as appropriate skills.
None of this is influenced by age, gender, sexual orientation or culture. It is influenced by the willingness of the individual to be curious and share our values.
I would hire a 60-year-old if they showed these qualities and was willing to be part of an entrepreneurial environment. More than 30% of SMEs in Australia are founded by migrants and I absolutely love and embrace cultural diversity.
Mentoring is essential within the business and workplace. ‘Sending the elevator back down’ isn’t enough – fill it with tools and wisdom and experience as well. This means honest, good conversation from both parties and the mentor should also be prepared to learn.
I learn every day from the younger, less-experienced people in our office because I am curious and want to understand the thinking behind the impact. Women mentor men, men mentor women, women mentor women, men mentor men, but the proportion must always be equal, always.
Everyone deserves an equal opportunity.
I hear a lot of talk, but leaders must also walk the talk.
Be brave and demonstrate true diversity, thinking and action, not because it’s a policy, but because you believe it – If you don’t believe in it, you are the problem and should think about the world you want to leave behind for the next generation.
Patriarchal hierarchy is old thinking and is driven by fear and control – you should flip the organisation and listen to new employees who are starting their careers.
What do they want, and are willing to give, to create a true value exchange within the organisation? Answering this is authentic leadership.
You have to be naturally inclusive and non-judgmental. Everyone has a story and a journey, as seen in our two titles, Australia’s 50 Influential Women Entrepreneurs and #IFSHECANICAN – all the stories are remarkable, no matter what the business or who the founders might be.
Rare Birds is not a women’s organisation – we are a commercial enterprise that supports women entrepreneurs and that support comes from all the glorious diversities we celebrate.
Jo Burston is the founder of Inspiring Rare Birds and the author of #IFSHECANICAN