Four women are sitting on a stage and talking to each other.
Future of Work panel discussion at Inspirefest 2019. Image: Conor McCabe Photography

The future of work culture embraces differences and celebrates similarities

19 Sep 2019

Dr Claire O’Connell spoke to three experts on the future of work at Inspirefest 2019, where they talked diversity, inclusion and culture.

Future of Work Week

We are surrounded today by talk of the future of work and all that it entails.

With so many voices speaking on the matter, how can we know which ones are the best to listen to?

Here are three that you should make sure are on your list, and they were all on the stage at this year’s Inspirefest.

Barbara McCarthy, director of engineering at HubSpot EMEA; Rasa Strumskyte, manager of Talent Garden Denmark; and Susan Cooney, vice-president of diversity, equity and inclusion at Symantec, all sat down with journalist Dr Claire O’Connell.

Central to their conversation was diversity and inclusion in the modern workplace.

“There’s a popular meme across the internet that diversity is being invited to the party, yet inclusion is being asked to dance. A third one of those is the sense of belonging, and belonging is when you know all the songs,” Cooney explained, kicking things off by describing what the current landscape for work diversity looks like.

McCarthy, coming from a background that is notoriously male-skewed, gave some insights into how HubSpot is striving to bring more diversity and inclusion into its culture.

She spoke about the employee resource groups that have been set up at HubSpot, giving people with similar backgrounds the time and space to support each other.

“I think that awareness and education is critical. I think if you can get everybody moving along that journey – and everyone’s going to be in a different place based on their own personal life experience – I think that’s pivotal. It’s key,” she said.

“I think it’s all about your mindset. I think if you have an open mindset and you still have that curiosity to learn, I think that is the most important thing.

“It doesn’t matter what age you are, as long as you have that open-mindedness and curiosity,” she added, speaking about age diversity in particular.

Strumskyte spoke about the importance of updating a workspace to reflect the evolution of its workers, which is especially important in the face of increases in remote working, clashing time zones and greater collaboration.

“I actually see increasing importance of personalisation, because it’s all about creating this personal, unique experience. We all have similar needs and interests but, at the same time, they are very different,” she said.

“I think that we have to embrace the differences and then we have to celebrate very much the similarities, because that’s something that brings us together.”

Watch the video above now to hear the full conversation.

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event celebrating the point where science, technology and the arts collide. Ultra Early Bird tickets for Inspirefest 2020 are available now.

Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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