Five Questions with Laurindo Garcia, founder of the Inclusive Business Pledge
We sit down with the founder of the Inclusive Business Pledge, Laurindo Garcia, as he shares his inclusion journey as well as insights on DEI.
How and why did you start your inclusion journey?
My journey into inclusion started when I became a full time human rights activist. First, working in Asia’s response to the HIV epidemic. Then advocating LGBTQ equality. I was a strategist and community organiser.
Have you experienced any form of discrimination? How did you tackle it?
I’ve experienced discrimination since I was a child which has been very traumatic. I’m a survivor of racism, anti-immigrant xenophobia, homophobia and HIV discrimination. These experiences affected my interpersonal relationships. I often felt unsafe. Coping with this over the long term has not been easy. For example when I was at school no one taught you how to identify discrimination and how to tackle it. No resources were available at the workplace when I started my career. This has and continues to be an emotional toll that I carry.
Any scenarios where you have seen DEI succeed?
In DEI, if you’re looking for silver bullets or quick fixes you’ll be disappointed. You need a long-term view when it comes to DEI. You’ll know you’re on the right track when your employees feel safe enough to express their opinions, give candid feedback in a way that’s compassionate and respectful. You know you’re on the right track when employees stay at the company because they say the workplace culture empowers them to consistently perform at their best.
Any scenarios where you have seen bad DEI policies or the lack of DEI policies leading to failure?
Having workplace policies that are robust from a DEI lens is only half of the work. Words must be put into action consistently. Where I have seen business leaders fail is that they have great policies in writing, but implementation is weak; data is scarce; workplace programs do poorly at reflecting local context in Asia; inclusive leadership behaviours are inconsistent; and accountability is absent.
What do you hope IBP can achieve for corporations and businesses who sign up?
I anticipate business leaders and employees see the benefit of employer branding when they sign-up to the Inclusive Business Pledge programme. However, they may be surprised to learn that by participating in the programme they receive bespoke support to improve organisational health, innovation and employee retention.