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The Importance of Racial Diversity in the Workplace

October 27, 2022
Written by
Cian Griffin

October is Black History Month, where we celebrate all that has been done and must be done, as we strive for a more equal and just society. This includes how we celebrate, support, and value Black talent everywhere.

I caught up with some Wayflyer employees to talk about what racial diversity means to them, and why it’s so important for companies to commit to fostering a more equal workplace so employees feel empowered to bring their authentic selves to work - because together, we make incredible happen.

Phillipe Nicolas, Senior Funding Analyst II:

I find racial diversity important because not only does it push us closer to equality, but it also promotes innovation. Think of all the different ethnic backgrounds around the world and imagine closing yourself off from all but one or two. As we’ve made great strides across the globe around promoting equality and diversity, events in recent years have continued to show how much further we have to go.

Coming to Wayflyer, one of the things I realised instantly is the emphasis placed on ingenuity, curiosity, and intellect in addition to the well-being of the individual. As a first-generation African American, what I look for in companies is an environment that promotes pride in my own culture, and recognizes an individual’s uniqueness. Wayflyer recognizes that a great mind can be found across any race, gender, or culture. As more companies realise this, I believe the goal that we have in celebrating this Black History Month will be achieved.

Angeula Manhertz, Customer Success Associate:

Racial diversity and visibility are critically important to me. As a Black woman in corporate America, I value an environment that’s as diverse as the country I live in. Workplace studies have confirmed that diverse enterprises develop more creative and innovative ideas that produce better results and strengthen the organisation’s performance.

My role as a Customer Success Manager requires me to be cross-functional among several internal teams. It would be impossible to do my job if my presence is not welcomed and my opinions are not respected. Wayflyer takes strides towards diversity and inclusion company-wide. I am proud to work for a company that prioritises educating its team to respect and celebrate those who might be different from them.

Matt Haywood, Head of US Sales:

Racial diversity plays an important role in the success of businesses - and can inspire healthy company culture from within. The opportunity for a business is endless if we remove barriers around race, and open the gates for understanding perspective, mindset, and knowledge. There are so many stories to tell, and so many unique experiences to learn from. Making all stories visible is only possible through diversity and inclusion. An interesting way to look at it would be to consider diversity in a simpler form. If we look at the global ecosystem we see that where there is greater diversity in plants or animals - there is less disease. I believe you could apply this to business as well.

Where there is more diversity, there is a healthier culture and greater potential to capitalise on the strength of variety, and of alternate perspectives. I can only speak from my own experience, but through my life I have felt at times that the playing field hasn't always been equal - and that people who look like me may need to put in extra work in order to fit ‘the mould’.  Working for a company like Wayflyer who embraces diversity and inclusion helps me shed that feeling, allowing me to show up authentically as myself at work every day.

DJ Anderson, Customer Success Associate:

Here at Wayflyer, I take it upon myself to connect with other minorities as we share many experiences, while also being able to learn more about my peers, their culture, and their upbringings. It’s essential for all of us to understand cultural backgrounds, not just for the knowledge piece but to build and maintain relationships and establish authentic human connections.

I find it imperative that all companies strive to be diverse and inclusive of people of all backgrounds, races, gender, sexual identities, disabilities, etc. It’s been a pleasant breath of fresh air to see that Wayflyer is being proactive in diversifying the workplace and ensuring that everyone is able to thrive being their authentic selves. It’s fundamental to create this environment not only for ourselves but for others, regardless of where we are, or who we are around. We should strive to support those around us, giving them the tools they need and making them feel seen, heard, and thought abou, and this starts from the top down.

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Alexis Kerney, BDR Manager:

Breaking down the stereotypical barriers associated with race, ethnicity, background, and experience, encourages better communication across the company. Challenging stereotypes with real-life stories create accessibility and inclusivity for everyone in the workplace. It is essential to have diverse mindsets, perspectives, and experiences - these bring fresh ideas and outlooks on the world and business. As an employee, visibility across the company works towards making informative internal decisions, attracting top talent, and relating to future customers. When people see themselves represented in a business, there is a sense of belonging. Feeling comfortable at work, a place where most of us spend a third of our lives, is crucial. It drives home the message that everyone has the potential to be successful.

Chiedu Afam, Funding Analyst Graduate

Having a variety of cultures and individuals with different backgrounds establishes a more inclusive environment and brings about new ways of thinking and being innovative. For Wayflyer, this is doubly important as our employees are spread out across the globe and we are continuously working to expand into new geographies.

Our recent launch into Germany is a great example of what can be done when people with diverse backgrounds come together to achieve a common goal. I strongly believe that Wayflyer would not have been as successful as we were, if we had been lacking the cultural awareness and increased productivity added by having a racially diverse and visible workplace.

Michele Durman, Talent Acquisition Coordinator:

When racial diversity and visibility are prioritised at work, I'm given the opportunity to learn, grow and ultimately, become a better ally. Allies should be good at listening, great at asking questions and driven to educate and improve themselves. They can acknowledge and identify when things are not right or fair and advocate for their colleagues or the right thing in a constructive way.

These qualities are also pretty handy in my role too! So by being a better ally, I'm better at my job, which is hopefully better for Wayflyer. There have also been a lot of studies done that prove the benefits of diversity in the workplace, so everyone wins when racial diversity is celebrated! I’m grateful to have this opportunity to contribute, in any way, to building a more diverse workplace.

At Wayflyer, one of our core values is to ‘Be Sound’ - meaning we embrace our differences, respect everyone, and love our work, together. Racial diversity is only one aspect of the culture we try to foster in the workplace, because we believe diversity is a key pillar in success. Read more about our company values here, or check out our open roles on our careers site here.

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Written by
Cian Griffin
Cian Griffin is Wayflyer's Social Media Manager.

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