Held for the fifth time by the Greek Charter this annual high-profile event aims to foster the equal opportunities, diversity and inclusion agenda across workplaces in the private sector and the society at large as well as focus on best practice sharing and relevant topics.
Helena Dalli, European Commissioner for Equality addressed participants via video message while Adonis Georgiadis, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs and Dr. Domna Michailidou, Deputy Minister of Education, Religious Affairs and Sports among other public sector officials attended live.
After an inspiring keynote speech by Emmanuelle Verhagen, Diversity Consultant, Leadership Coach & human rights activist the conference featured several panels of lively discussions and success stories on topics such as neurodiversity as a business opportunity, how to measure results in D&I, why inclusion matters in business and ways to overcome stereotypes in an engaging and interactive manner. Speakers included business executives, experts, activists, and influencers.
Importantly, the Bulgarian Diversity Charter along with partner charters from Cyprus, Greece, Lithuania and Romania had the opportunity to present the NICE programme (Neutral and Inclusive communication in Corporate Environments). In a dedicated panel, the five regional partners presented their efforts so far, focusing on the project’s most recent outcomes and challenges reiterating the importance of introducing inclusive and neutral communication policies in successful diversity management strategies.
The Bulgarian Diversity Charter was represented by Maria Stoyanova, Analyst with CSD, and Ani Ivanova, Communications Manager with BBLF
Maria Stoyanova presented major milestones of the recent NICE survey, and the “From Words to Actions: Enhancing Inclusive Communication in the Workplace” report she recently authored. Maria Stoyanova emphasized the foundational role of inclusive communication in progressive workplaces and addressed the critical question of awareness and training needs in this area. In her speech, she highlighted the interconnectedness of dimensions like avoiding stereotypes and biases with other aspects of inclusive language like gender- and culture-sensitive language. Maria underscored a significant gap revealed by the NICE survey—only 20% have received training while an overwhelming majority of respondents (90%) desire to improve inclusive communication skills. She emphasized the underestimated nature of inclusive communication and urged for dedicated training encompassing various interactions in verbal, non-verbal, face-to-face, online, textual, and visual formats.
Photo: Diversity Charter Greece
Photo: Diversity Charter Greece
Ani Ivanova focused on some good examples identified during the research phase and the importance of hands-on tools for inclusive communication in corporate environments. Good practices include workshops on relevant working environment for persons with various disabilities and existing guidance on inclusive communication with regard to LGBTIQA+ employees. On the one hand, these individual efforts and initiatives indicate a good level of awareness, particularly in large companies, of the need to build tolerant and inclusive workplaces and ensure the right communication tools. On the other, they suggest the need of a more comprehensive, consistent and practical approach via trainings and other instruments for inclusive language that the NICE programme is set to offer.
Greek business executives also joined the panel sharing their thoughts on and experience of adopting inclusive language and the added value for organisations.
Photos: Diversity Charter Greece