“Diversity is YOU, because you are unique. Inclusion is accepting you, because YOU matter.” Q&A Furkan Karayel, Diversity and Inclusion Author and Speaker

Furkan Karayel, Diversity and Inclusion Author and Speaker

Please tell us a little about yourself and your current role?

I am a diversity and inclusion speaker, author of the book Inclusive Intelligence : How to be a role model for diversity and inclusion in the workplace. In other words, I help leaders to become inclusive leaders. You might be wondering how I end up doing this job.

After working for 10 big years in multinational tech companies in Ireland as a software engineer, not being able to see women with different ethnic backgrounds in tech leadership made me question why. In some cases, diversity and inclusion words were being used as a marketing tool but the action piece was missing. I couldn’t sit back and just complain. I had to do something about it. 5 years ago I have founded Diversein.com to bring action oriented and interactive diversity and inclusion solutions to organisations in Ireland and beyond.

What does diversity, equity and inclusion mean to you and why is it so important?

There are so many definitions of diversity and inclusion, here is mine. Diversity is YOU, because you are unique. Inclusion is accepting you, because YOU matter. We are all like our fingerprints, different from one and another. Diversity and inclusion means all our differences deserve to be recognised and appreciated.

It’s important to me, because I believe I have seen enough injustice, discrimination in the world where people, talents, especially women who couldn’t utilise their skills because of the bias by decision makers. While organisations continue to promote non-inclusive managers and make inequity contagious, I wanted to show the world that it’s not the underrepresented minorities, it’s the decision-makers who allow unacceptable injustice to happen.

Congratulations on your insightful book! Can you please provide us with a summary of what is Inclusive Intelligence?

Inclusive Intelligence is the meeting point of Emotional Intelligence and Inclusive Leadership. We have done research working with different global leaders and we have seen what makes leaders inclusive leaders.

They had 6 skills in common. Self-awareness, empathy, engagement, cultural wisdom, accountability and commitment. In the book, I tell the stories of inclusive leaders on how they embed these behaviours and inclusion into their daily jobs with their authentic ways.

Why is diversity in the workplace so important?

We live in a global world now. We have customers and employees from any part of the world. Without understanding and including them, we cannot produce good products, we cannot expect a good performance from our teams. Did you know that the first public hand dryers were only tested on and only worked for white hands?

How can an organisation create a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion?

By including the voice of everyone. By showing them they care. By taking actions!

What is your thoughts on the Grit Female Leaders in Healthcare Summit and why did you decide to get involved in the event?

I got so excited when Diane Nevin invited me to be a speaker at the Grit Female Leaders in Healthcare Summit as I knew she always does a fantastic job raising the voice of female leaders. Straightaway, I said “yes”!

Any final thoughts?

Final message: Let’s pass the mic to women this year, all the women, invisible minorities whose voice hasn’t been heard enough.


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