Deborah Choi is an award-winning 5x founder. A graduate of the University of Chicago, she's a recipient of the Google Black Founders Fund, and was named to BusinessWeek's '25 under 25' for her first venture. Deborah is currently both a Managing Director and Chief Brand Officer of Bosque GmbH, and a Managing Director of Founderland gUG. She lives in Berlin with her daughter.
The future is personal. A better world of work takes that into account, which also acknowledges that there is no ‘one size fits all’ that truly fits all. To be inclusive at work, is to be fundamentally flexible and dynamic, because that is also at the essence what we all are.
The pandemic has been many things, and it’s also been a precursor and catalyst for what a personalized work culture might encompass. It can be physical, allowing and enabling work to occur online, offline, together and asynchronously. It can be sensitive to our individual and collective health, our responsibilities outside of work, the externalities that make a particular quarter or year particularly harder for everyone. Work will be better when we embrace who we are, and where we’re at, together.
Founderland (founderland.org) exists to create more diverse representations of leadership. Our focus and programming lies at the intersections of race, gender and ethnic identity, and we specifically support women of colour founders to raise capital, build sustainable businesses and generate greater visibility. Less than 0.5% of venture capital has gone to women of colour founders, so we have a long way to go towards parity and equity in this space.
Because of the size of the problem, there are many organisations like ours, with a focus on supporting the underrepresented and underestimated. I think what sets us apart is our intersectional approach to building our community. Founderland engages women of colour founders, as well as investors and allies of all genders, race and ethnicities. We bring all sides to the table and facilitate the links across. In doing so, we see a widening of access to opportunity, and the acknowledgement that talent is truly everywhere.
I foresee more tools created to enable work “to work” for everyone, and also work with the changes we already see underway demographically. We’ll have digital, accessible work for aging populations.
We’ll need to figure out how to enable income generation for the next generation within legal frameworks that do not increase exploitation, but instead acknowledge that our social security systems are simply not enough to provide for the youth of today, tomorrow.
I think the biggest challenge has always been the same - hiring and retaining top talent. And certainly in the last 15+ years that I have been in the workforce, through both bear and bull economic markets, despite the flood of platforms, services and technical innovation in recruitment, it’s been the case that we hiring managers still feel like it’s a bit of a miracle when we find that experience, talent and cultural fit.
I think the second biggest challenge is to not forget what is the first; there can and should be more room for gratitude when we find ‘our people’, as I foresee it only getting harder in the future.
Don’t build in a silo. A lot of great people are collectively working on building a better world right now, and within that fact there’s also a lot of room for inspiration and collaboration. Build with your team, with your community, with your peers, with your stakeholders.
Find the way to ‘open source’ your learnings so others can follow suit. A better world of work is built together.
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What does one of the best DEIB specialists think a better world of work looks like? Find out in our interview with Mary Haddock-Staniland from EverCommerce.
VP, Head of APAC, Paul Sigaloff, discusses why a better world of work is rooted in flexibility and inclusiveness in our Leaders Building a Better World of Work list.
You know the brand, now hear from their Global Head of People, Jennie Rogerson, on what makes Canva one of the top places to work in our Better World of Work list.
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Find out why Deborah Choi, Managing Director of Founderland, feels that there is no one size fits all approach to be a truly inclusive workplace.
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Find out why Stuart Hughes, CIO at Rolls-Royce, believes leaders need to understand the individual wants and needs of your teammates to build a better world of work.
Discover how Microsoft New Zealand, Managing Director, Vanessa Sorenson, is bringing diversity and inclusion into their initiatives to build a better world of work.
Read why NLdigital’s Public Policy Manager, Yeni Joseph, feels that diverse perspectives allow companies to grow in our Leaders Building a Better World of Work list.