Preet Grewal is an experienced Inclusion & Diversity leader and has worked in HR for over 20 years. Driven by her passion, she takes pride in her work to create inclusive work cultures where everyone can belong and thrive in the workplace. In her last role, she was the JAPAC head of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility (IDEA) at Twitter. She led internal programmes, training & employee engagement initiatives to advance global goals and deliver the regional framework of Twitter’s IDEA strategy. Preet is a trusted advisor to her stakeholders and leads with principles of respect and empathy to influence corporate culture change. Preet has lived in India, UK & Canada and in 2016 she moved with her family to Singapore.
- What are some Tips you might want to share with those who are facing job search in a daunting atmosphere?
It is stressful. Going through the process myself, I know how difficult it can be and more so if someone is additionally responsible for a family to support; or with a clock ticking on Visa status or feeling the fear of skills becoming irrelevant as the time passes.What has kept me going is not letting the negativity spill over into doubting myself or my experience. I’ve been trying harder to stay in touch with my professional & personal network and ensure I am aware of what’s current and take the help offered to me wherever possible. Additionally, it’s also about utilising the time afforded to us while in search to reflect what alternate paths or skill sets we want to pick up for future endeavours.
From your point of view, what’s one thing you think helps a candidate stand out?
2. From your point of view, what’s one thing you think helps a candidate stand out?
- Self awareness and the ability to reflect on experiences that will move them forward vs someone who might be sharing grievances only.
- Someone who comes across as knowledgeable for the job but additionally so those who can speak to upcoming challenges for potential employers and how they are well suited to face them.
3. What are some myths you’d like people to bust when it comes to women in leadership (Some background and context could be helpful here; eg there is this myth that women are not good negotiators)
The one that I think is most prevalent is that Women are ‘just not interested to go into leadership roles’. This is often quoted when Women are not applying for senior roles or often times even managers themselves say that they’ve never heard Women on their team show interest in moving to more senior roles. This is taken as Women aren’t keen to move into roles and what can a company or a manager do.
What we need to remember in our organisations is that oftentimes unconscious and conscious bias, direct discrimination and exclusive behaviours, lack of visible role models and internal challenges – all play a role in why Women might not be raising their hands more for leadership roles.
4.What is a top trend you’re looking fwd to in 2023 in your industry/ area of expertise?
I don’t know if I can keep it together 🙂 but my biggest energy source is my family. My 3 kids are my top priority and ensuring their safety and wellbeing can never be compromised over my job. I don’t think a balance is possible but rather I integrate my life into my work and vice versa and stay focused on my overall mental and physical wellbeing as the only way to give what I need to for my family and my work.
Here in Asia, often working in international timezones can be quite challenging. It’s important to have direct and open communication with the team and champion inclusive meetings especially for folks who are impacted the most by non working hours meetings.
5.What are some of your hacks to keep it together and *not burn out!
I really want companies to continue prioritising I&D work. The most recent tech layoffs have impacted many but especially the representation numbers for Women and historically marginalised communities. With wide sweeping layoffs, employee trust in corporations has also been impacted and I think the doubling down on creating inclusive cultures and the focus on employee experiences needs to be reenergized. Personally,I am very interested to see and learn how I&D will be embedded into the corporate ESG framework moving forward.
6.Do you have an aha’! Moment in your career that you can share? (A pivot, an achievement, or something that made you realise that this is what you’re meant to be doing?)
I always feel that our personal lived experiences play a huge role in how we show up and what we decide to do. My passion for driving I&D work in companies I work at is definitely impacted by my upbringing, my family’s journey as immigrants in Canada, my learnings from friends and colleagues whose experiences made me realise my privilege and ultimately a desire to leave the world a little better than how we find it now. The moments I remember the most are conversations with individuals who have shared how the simplest of initiatives have made them feel a little less excluded. Actions like having pride cupcakes during June, or a training session on pronouns, or hearing from a speaker on allyshop towards the disability or race communities- all of these can educate others but also help our employees who identify as such feel a sense of inclusion that yes they can have allies at work – so they can do their best. This is what keeps me going.
7.Anything else you’d want to share?
Humans have always lived in communities and our social interactions create experiences we can cherish or those that hurt like physical pain. I hope our next generations inherit a world they are proud of because we have done our part cultivating inclusion and equity. The work is not done yet so I encourage everyone to get involved and be kind, be an ally – be a human.
Views expressed are personal