Editorial – by Managing Director Alexander De Beir

May, month of diversity. A period to look around us open-mindedly. To check whether the diversity of cultures, races, preferences, genders is respected in our society to such an extent that we can speak of an inclusive society with equal opportunities for all.

Progress has undoubtedly been made recent years. The labor market has never been so diverse, intercultural and intergenerational as today. We may assume that respect for diversity, and equal treatment of each individual, is seen as a fundamental principle of labor market organization. But when you scratch underneath the surface you will learn that we’re not there yet. Referring to the previous TIP-IM and the striking interview with Anneke Hunnick.

Work in progress

There certainly is a (long) road ahead of us. To me, two principles seem to take a fundamental role in the progress: time and respect. Time, because the world has evolved rapidly the past years. The individual, in his/her search for an identity, has sometimes been caught up in speed. Those who were born after the Second World War, or even in the years when a number of social debates were still taboo, need (had) time to form their own, sometimes renewed, opinion about diversity and inclusiveness. Ideally fed by fascinating encounters and enlightening conversations.

Therefore, we mustn’t allow ourselves to be dictated to by the law of "instant-ism". A law without any reflection or "zooming out" that leads us into a "New Social Normal or Correct Thinking". A way of thinking that can change very swiftly, where fierce and un nuanced indignation, could sometimes use some more reflection time in order to bring all aspects into a better and broader perspective. After all, time is always needed for a sustainably founded opinion on sensitive issues.

However, a second principle is equally fundamental: respect. In the end, with respect you anticipate and may solve potential problems, such as misunderstandings and prejudices. Respect does not mean automatically agreeing, but being open to another point of view.

Simply the best

At the same time, I realize that it’s easier for some than for others. Those who have never had to fight for the acceptance of their identity may find it hard to acknowledge/understand how important it is to be appreciated for who you are.

That is why ADM is so proud to be the catalyst for various talents who are chosen for their professional and human strengths. Simply based on their abilities to best fulfill an assignment.

Independent employment, with the help of a certain lever, has brought many to where they wanted to be at a rapid pace, without skipping certain important steps.

The ‘professional identity’

This shortcut to professional and human appreciation may have accelerated some people's identity-search. Because, as we all know, identity is a complex and multifaceted thing. Among the many layers that build up our personality, our "professionalism" should certainly not be underestimated. The satisfaction of a successful career, the appreciation of colleagues and clients, give many the necessary push to fully develop their own identity. Even more, to proudly and ambitiously stand for who they really are.

Last weekend "our" hockey tournament, the Goodwill Cup, took place at Gantoise. Over 200 sporty participants competed for more than 25 charities in a competitive yet friendly atmosphere.

Once again this makes it clear to me that when entrepreneurship puts itself at the service of a more inclusive society, when it stands up for minorities, for the less fortunate, for a diversity of difficult, grasping, beautiful stories, it triggers an incredible momentum of generosity and dynamism. Emancipating and inclusive, that is what entrepreneurship should stand for, perhaps more than ever in the 21st century.


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