On 10 October, the LGBTI network of the Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst) and the FIOD, organised the symposium ‘The power of Inclusivity’. This event celebrated the 5th anniversary of their LGBTI employee network ‘B/Proud’ as well as National Coming Out Day.
The symposium was not only about LGBTI issues, but also about diversity and inclusiveness (D&I) in the broadest sense of the word. The ultimate goal of the symposium was to raise D&I to a higher level in the organization.
The moderator of the day was Marieke Nell. She is head of operations at the Politie Noord Nederland. In her welcome speech, she remembered the start of the B/Proud Network and the presence at the Boat Parade for Amsterdam Pride 2013, where 70 colleagues represented the Tax Administration and sailed through the canals together with other 20 employees from the Dutch Customs administration.
The first speaker was Mark van Enckevort, Chairman of the B/Proud Network. He explained the different activities of the group and their action plan including a regional network of contact points or ambassadors. Regarding the 5 -year anniversary of the network, he gave an overview of their journey and said they were proud with all their achievements so far.
“We will continue to raise the flag to show that we are an inclusive organization.”
Christine Holtkamp and David Pollard from Workplace Pride made a presentation focused on inclusive employment. David Pollard presented the Global Benchmark, an instrument to measure and report in LGBTI policy and performance at work. Also the work of the Foundation was introduced and made the audience reflect on the importance of feeling included in the workplace.
“We spend 33% of our total working life at work. Furthermore, people that cannot be themselves at work are 30% less productive and creative.”
Hans Nijman, Regional Representative B/Proud Rotterdam explained the work that the network does in each region. A regional representative is the point of contact for the LGBTI employees in a specific region and he/she is in touch with the management and HR.
After the coffee break various small groups discussed on the basis of concrete case studies or questions. During the wrap up session, there was a panel discussion with the moderator and the speakers where some of these cases were addressed.
The morning meeting was closed with an emotional speech by Henk Lamers , the out-going chairman of the network. He was honoured by Mark van Enckevort for the great work he did for B/Proud.
In the afternoon, managers, policy makers and other LGBTI network members from all governmental ministries joined the event.
Egon Hoppe, from Deloitte Consulting gave an interesting presentation on Inclusive Leadership. This included insights on how to evaluate inclusiveness and the skills that can be monitored and trained to become an inclusive leader.
Dr. Jojanneke van der Toorn, Workplace Pride Chair at the Leiden University, gave scientific insights on inclusion and how scientists conduct their research. She presented the most common ‘blind spots’ in organizations and how ‘invisible diversity’, like sexual orientation, are very important aspects to consider when creating an inclusive culture.
Christiaan Rebergen, ambassador and Treasurer General, explained his vision for the D&I policy and where the Ministry of Finance currently stands.
At the end of the day all the members of the B/Proud network were called to the podium and applauded by the audience on their anniversary and great work! It was a day of active dialogue with an engaged audience. We thank the Tax and Customs administration and also the Ministry of Finance for inviting us to be part of this inspiring event
Photos from the event: