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Asia Dialogues forum says Diversity and Inclusion must be connected to eventual business outcomes

Asia’s first and largest network of thought leaders, has launched ‘Asia Dialogues’ with a Diversity and Inclusion event. Asia Dialogues is a forum that intends to build conversations on topics of urgent and immediate focus for the Asian region by bringing people together for progressive discussions on issues important for Asian businesses, governments, media and academia.
Later in the year, ‘Asia Dialogues’ will gather thought leaders and experts from across countries to engage on topics like Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), Sustainable Finance, Digital Transformation and Climate Change, among others.
The Diversity and Inclusion event was organised by SpeakIn in partnership with HDFC ERGO’s Sharing Circles, which is the general insurance company’s sustainable initiative aimed at true inclusivity. It had a keynote address by Sunam Sarkar, Executive Director, President and Chief, Business Officer, Apollo Tyres. The Panel Discussion that followed featured industry thought leaders that included Renee Tan, Business Transformational Leader, MD, HashTaqs; Alexander Krasavin, Chief Commercial Officer, Human Capital Solutions, APAC at Aon; Sudakshina Bhattacharya, Chief Human Resources Officer, HDFC ERGO General Insurance; ArvinderGujral, Former Managing Director (South-East Asia) of Twitter; Anthea Collier, Managing Director (APAC) Randstad; and Michael Brown, award-winning author and entrepreneur based in UK.
Deepshikha Kumar, Founder and CEO, SpeakIn, moderated the discussion. The themes covered by the speakers included cognitive diversity, cognitive bias, and creating a safe and secure environment for people to thrive at the workplace. The panel underlined how organisations can grow to their full potential when there is equality and zero bias.
The event recognised top 10 diversity and inclusion champions from the Asian region for their outstanding contribution in furthering the D&I cause. They included Sophie Guerin, Alisha Fernando, Preeti D’mello, Duncan Hewett, Lynette Pathy, Nandini Sarkar, Bianca Stringuini, Kaveree Bamzai, Daniel Clarke, AngelKilian.
Commenting on the first edition of Asia Dialogues, Deepshikha Kumar, Founder and CEO of SpeakIn said, “We have always been at the forefront of dialogues on matters that can not only initiate the change but drive the business, social and policy ecosystem overall. The intent behind Asia Dialogues is to bring forth much-needed discussions on a wide array of topics that can impact the world’s largest continent that Asia is.”
She said: “It was a day full of learning, and rich perspectives on D&I. Our expert speakers not only stressed the need for cognitive diversity but shared how it needs to be included from the very beginning of employee experience. We look forward to having more such conversations in the near future and hope Asia Dialogues will be the most meaningful platform for it.”
Delivering the keynote address, Sunam Sarkar, Executive Director, President and Chief, Business Officer, Apollo Tyres, said, “For the full potential of D&I to be unleashed many myths about it need to be busted, among them the notion that it means lowering the bar and that’s a barrier we must get rid of.” Diversity, he said, is like being invited to the party and inclusion is being asked to dance.
Taking part in the panel discussion, Arvinder Gujral, Former Managing Director (South-East Asia) of Twitter said that if organisations cannot connect diversity and inclusion to eventual business outcomes, D&I remains an amorphous concept. “While we try to remove long years of unconscious bias and accept D&I,” Mr. Gujral said, “it is time to to look beyond diversity only in terms of colour and creed, we need to embrace diversity of opinions in the objectives and key results of our organisations. That’s real diversity and inclusion.”

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