The Second Lab on Inclusive Communication Took Place

On 12 January, the Bulgarian Diversity Charter held the second Inclusive Communication Lab that gathered together business and civil society Charter signatories and supporters.

Participants in the event included experts in the field of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) management, human resources and communications from the private sector and representatives of NGOs with extensive experience in working with different vulnerable groups.

Bulgarian Diversity Charter extends its gratitude to IBM Bulgaria, a Charter signatory and the host of the event.

The Lab was held within the framework of the project NICE (Neutral and Inclusive Communication in Corporate Environments) and aims to discuss and develop communication techniques applicable in the workplace that would contribute to better diversity and inclusion management.

Speakers and presentations​​

Levon Hampartzoumian, Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum (BBLF) Chair, Georgi Ganev, IBM Bulgaria General Manager, and Plamen Staykov, Global MVS Executive at IBM Bulgaria opened the event by sharing their commitment to uphold and promote diversity and inclusion values.

Kamelia Slaveykova, Chair of the Board of Directors of Shell Bulgaria, member of the BBLF Board and one of the architects of the Bulgarian Charter again facilitated the event.

In the first part of the event, Maria Stoyanova, Analyst at the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) and Project Manager of the Bulgarian Diversity Charter, introduced the audience to the NICE programme. It brings together Diversity Charters in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Lithuania and Romania to create new and innovative training and capacity-building programmes on inclusive communication. The project is co-funded by the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values (CERV) programme of the European Union. As a result of the three workshops held so far, two national ones (here and here) and an international one (here), the Bulgarian team has arrived at key findings for the training materials to be produced. Maria Stoyanova’s presentation.

The first part of the workshop also featured guest speakers from companies and civil society organisations who shared their experience in applying various inclusion policies.

Boyka Docheva, Country HR Leader with IBM Bulgaria and Violeta Karanacheva Tsvetanova, University Relations, Learning and Diversity Country Lead at IBM presented the global DEI strategy and focused on best practice of the local team including the numerous learning resources.

Joana Koleva, Co-Founder at Jamba – Career for All and managing chair or Social Future Foundation, presented the work of the organisation and its mission to bridge talents with different abilities and the corporate world as well as the impressive outcome achieved over the last 7 years (presentation). Jamba had also prepared the catering for the event.

Dorina Mitova, Human Resources Director at Hilton Sofia, highlighted the steps the company took to hire long-term people with Down syndrome and the positive impact their presence has had on the team.

Slavyana Lyubomirova, RTD Specialist at Inditex Bulgaria, shared her recent experience in recruiting deaf talent adding the company is now looking to increase diversity in the team.

Working groups

The second part of the event was dedicated to a workshop where participants held group discussions to delved into several case studies: gender-balanced communicaiton, intergenerational balance, integration of people with different abilities and of people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. The participants actively shared their knowledge, experience, challenges and best practices. Their findings, guidance and recommendations will be used in the development of training materials on inclusive communication in the five project countries. These will be piloted at a later stage among willing Charter signatories, and then provided free of charge to all interested parties.

The event ended in a networking session and participants from IBM, Lidl, Shell, HPE, VIVACOM, Artied, Interlang, Ecopharm, Maria’s World Foundation, Trust for Social Achievement, Hilton received their certificates from the NICE programme.

We would like to thank everyone who joined us!