It is time to step up for inclusion. To show the world that we complement each other by being different. Together we are stronger and better. We can learn from each other and that is why five Deloitte colleagues are sharing their personal story about Diversity & Inclusion. Aditya Srivastava (26), SAP Finance consultant at Deloitte Consulting, explains the importance of acceptance and inclusion.
“I was still in the closet when I moved here two years ago. My previous employer was a large international fashion company. A lot of my colleagues were part of the LGBT+ community and open about it. A safe environment to come out to. When I started working at Deloitte, I had my presumptions and apprehensions. It’s one of the largest professional services companies in the world, with certain behavioural standards. But I was happy to learn that, while everybody is highly professional, they are also very open and flexible.”
Aditya was born in India, where homosexuality was still a criminal offence up until 2018. “While the law can change overnight, a society cannot. Transforming the mindset of people will take many years, maybe even half a century. So while I’m out to my colleagues and European friends, I am yet to come out to my family back home in India. In a way my parents know me the best, but I’m also forced to hide a big part about me. That is, of course, a very difficult situation. Living in The Netherlands and working for an international organisation like Deloitte, has given me a lot. I’m very grateful to live a life here in which I don’t have to choose between being my authentic self or otherwise. I have had some difficult years in India growing up and realising I’m gay, but I’m now confident and proud.”
"Diversity is a destination, inclusion is an ongoing journey."
The fact that Deloitte has Diversity & Inclusion at the very heart of its culture, is very important to Aditya. “When you move to a different country, the workplace is very important. It should be a very welcoming and safe space. It’s where you spend the vast majority of your week. When you’re included and experience some sort of belongingness at work, it gets easier and fun. But while diversity is a number, a statistic, a goal you can reach as a company, inclusion is a culture. And real inclusion takes many years and effort, from the company’s leadership and the employees as well. Diversity is a destination, inclusion is an ongoing journey.”
As an ‘outsider’ myself, I’m extra sensitive to the cues for inclusion, Aditya says. “My main goal is to ‘treat others the way you want to be treated’. And as a member of the Diversity & Inclusion team, I do my best for the ongoing journey of inclusion at Deloitte. I’m also part of the GLOBE team, the network that connects people with affinity around LGBT+. To see a company like Deloitte spend that much effort into open mindedness, is very special and valuable. We lead by example and show the corporate world forward. The history is not very pleasant. The LGBT+ community as a whole has endured a lot. Our rights were not given on a silver platter and we had to fight for it. In order to keep moving forward, it is very important to unite. Within the community, but also outside. Large companies like Deloitte have a lot of influence. Let’s unite and make sure the dark history is compensated for.”