It was the sharing of one such personal story that inspired many of us to dress up in traditional outfits or wear something that resonated with us.
In a heart-to-heart with Unite’s newly formed voluntary DEI - Employee Resource Group (ERG), our IT colleague, Zohaib Jawaid, shared how he had considered packing traditional menswear from Pakistan (Shalwar Kameez) for last year’s summer party but decided against it because he didn’t want to stand out from the crowd.
Unitees dress up for DEI Day
In the ERG meeting, a collective consensus emerged, grounded in the belief that we should all bring our most comfortable selves to work. After all, Unite has cultivated such an amazing, open corporate culture that encourages authenticity. Many conversations and consultations later, an email announcing the first initiative of the DEI-ERG, inviting Unitees to dress up for DEI Day on 14 September, was sent out. In parallel, Teresa Garcia Corbalan, a doctoral student seconded to Unite, extended a warm invitation for a ‘bring-your-own-food’ luncheon at the Marketplace.
The two initiatives dovetailed nicely, and the Marketplace transformed into a melting pot of diverse cuisines and cultures. It was a table of abundance, with the Spanish team bringing cheese and ham while our colleagues from Asia and Africa tantalised our tastebuds with sweets like cashew fudges covered in edible silver, dried mango dusted with sugar, and savoury snacks made from lentil flour. Board Members Peter Ledermann and Christel Constant also enjoyed the lunch.
Food and conversations
Amidst this colourful feast, engaging conversations emerged - on traditional costumes and how some countries have plenty and others few – and what constitutes cultural appropriation or appreciation.
In the spirit of appreciation, Amruta Pallewar, our Senior Tech Recruiter, delighted her teammates by bringing traditional Indian attire.
Carolin Fischer, HR Business Partner wore an Indo-fusion saree and shared, “It’s the first time I’ve worn anything showing my midriff in almost 20 years. It took me out of my comfort zone, but at the same time, it felt real and comfortable as Amruta was close at hand to show me how to wear it correctly. Four of us from the HR (IT) team wore traditional Indian outfits, and this was a nice way to bond.”
Thomas Dinkel, Country Manager, Switzerland, articulated the significance of DEI: “When we leverage diversity, it benefits the international market”, underscoring its importance not only in terms of employee engagement but also as a driving force for our business.
Gallery of the DEI Day
Many of us discovered treasures in our own closets - Stephanie Fahsel, German Marketing Manager made a bold statement with a T-shirt that bore powerful words, “Imagine all the women.” Meanwhile, Beatrice Hansen, Global Head of Corporate Communications, embodied the very essence of the day by purchasing a “Harzkind” T-shirt from a sustainable company that plants a tree for every sale – we love it when initiatives pay it forward!
Dr Bernd Schönwälder, member of our Executive Board, gave us new fitness goals as he wore a 30-year-old Tie and Dye T-shirt from his college days with panache. And let’s not forget Dr Sebastian Wieser, our founder and CEO, who turned heads and hearts alike by donning the Lederhosen. He travelled to Hungary for a meeting with his Lederhosen and lugged it all the way to Leipzig for the summer party week – commitment and camaraderie all rolled into one.
It goes without saying that our luggage was a bit heavier, but our hearts, undoubtedly, lighter and happier!
Unite commits to the German ‘Charta der Vielfalt’
The ‘Charta der Vielfalt’ at Unite advocates an appreciative working environment for all employees – regardless of age, gender and gender identity, ethnic origin and nationality, religion, physical abilities or sexual orientation and identity.