Events Mar 29, 2021

On Thursday 18th March, we were delighted to welcome four stellar speakers to the webinar “Talent and Diversity: Winning Solutions”. Participating were Marie Tacquet, the CEO and Founder of Iconoclass, Anne-Véronique Baylac, Industry Director Luxury, Travel, Auto & Mobility at Google, Antoine Chauffrut, Head of FD Talent at France Digitale and Gabriel Maurisson, Head of Corporate Partnerships and Funding for Live for Good.

Iconoclass is the first 18+ school, accessible to all, which teaches all different types of sales and business development, in just 4 months. What makes it different? You pay for it once you’ve been hired... a good deal for the student, and an equally effective business model for Iconoclass given that they have a 97% employment rate. Marie said that she was inspired to start Iconoclass when she was at Ecole de Commerce herself: she quickly realized that everyone was from the same background, their parents being lawyers, doctors, businesspeople. Marie said this posed a problem in her education: having a lack of diversity in your surroundings, also contributes to a lack of diversity in your learning.

For Marie: there are 3 really important things to consider when looking at diversity in recruitment. Age, geography, and socio-professional background. At Iconoclass, Marie said that they have people between 18 and 55 years old in the current class. They come from all parts of France: from the banlieues of Marseille to Paris 16ème. Marie explained just how interesting it is recruiting from a wide pool of people. You notice how an 18-year-old is much more likely to pick up the phone and ask a question than a 35-year-old, for example. She was keen to highlight that it is always so important to look at the added value that each different person brings. For example, we always look at what women don’t have compared to men. But why not look at what they can bring but men can’t?

Anne-Véronique explained the recruitment process at Google and how they make sure women have a good shot at any job application: she knows this, because she works with the ‘Women At’ initiative there. She argued that when it comes to diversity, the most important thing is to foster products and initiatives that apply to everyone. Everyone at Google, when they arrive, does a course on unconscious bias: Google’s attempt at resolving these problems from the inside. After all, Anne-Veronique points out that there is still only 25%/30% representation of women in tech.

Antoine asked Anne-Véronique what she thought of quotas, and this sparked interesting discussion. She argued that for big businesses like Google, they’re important, but she recognized that for small startups it is obviously a bit trickier. At Google, they rescreen all job descriptions before they are published – to make sure that the tone and the language used will make the job appeal as much to women as it will to men. They have a group in charge of diversity and inclusion and always try to have at least one woman in the final shortlist for any job. Anne-Véronique argued that there are three key things to watch out for when controlling equality in the workplace: check that women are getting the same salary as men, the same increases in salary as men, and the same promotions as men.

Antoine works with a variety of different actors on the subject of talent and diversity at France Digitale. Antoine is a big LinkedIn trailblazer – arguing that you can learn much more about someone from their LinkedIn profile than from which university they went to. You can see what motivates them, plus what actual jobs they have done in the past. When Antoine looks at a profile – what he tries to do is simply think: what is the best-fitting company for this person?

At Live for Good, Gabriel aims to accompany 18- to 29-year-olds along their entrepreneurial adventure; creating innovative solutions that create a large-scale social impact. Gabriel raised some interesting points that provided real food for thought. He noted that the crux of the question at hand is that ‘diversity’ takes lots of different forms (i.e. gender isn’t the only one). Being from a tiny village in Provence also counts as diversity. Looking at diversity within start-ups, he also (justifiably so) made the point that, if you are launching a start-up from scratch – why can’t you think about recruiting diverse profiles right from the start? Yes, if you already have a team of 10 (and are not in a place to recruit others) it is a little difficult. But really, diversity in recruitment is something we should consider from the outset.

Live for Good champions positive discrimination: with Gabriel arguing that, no question about it, you do just need to accompany those from very difficult backgrounds more. You cannot treat everyone equally if what they have come from is not equal.

Gabriel said that he will always be a champion of telling people what they CAN do not what they can’t, what they HAVE done, not what they haven’t. These are appropriate take-home messages from this webinar: with all speakers agreeing that the key to increasing diversity is focusing on everyone’s assets. If all we think about it how they haven’t been to an Ecole Polytechnique... not only is this a) narrowminded but b) cuts off many potential talents for something that, really, should be relatively arbitrary (according to these speakers).

If you’d like to learn more about the work of these speakers, check out their websites (links below).


France Digitale

Live for Good


Watch the replay of the webinar here.

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