I’m excited to share with you the incredible experience I had at the recent Coca-Cola ‘Level the Playing Field’ Summit.
Imagine being in a room filled with change-makers, visionaries, and influencers, all gathered to champion Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in business, sports, and society. That’s exactly where I found myself on August 18, 2023, in Sydney.
The summit was a remarkable initiative by Coca-Cola, a company deeply committed to fostering equal opportunities. As a long-time supporter of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, they took this commitment a step further by hosting an event that brought together more than 20 local and international speakers, expertly moderated by Holly Ransom, among them were Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, Saudi women’s rights activist Manal Al-Sharif, and the inspiring Dylan Alcott AO, to name just a few.
What amazed me most was the power of unity in that room. The passion for creating a level playing field was palpable.
Saadia Madsbjerg, the president of The Coca-Cola Foundation, announced an incredible partnership, the new partnership will be supported by a USD $1.1 million grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation that will establish a revolving five-year loan fund to empower budding female entrepreneurs in emerging markets.
I came across this quote in The Times, where Saadia quoted
“We recognise that one of the key barriers to equality, particularly for women, is opportunity, including access to economic resources, including credit, finance and business training.”
”That is why, together with global micro-loan platform Kiva, The Coca-Cola Foundation is thrilled to announce our support to the Change Make Her program”, she said.
Over the next five years, up to 45,000 borrowers across Southeast Asia, South Pacific, Latin America and Africa can access funds via a revolving loan fund, opening doors for those who struggle to qualify for commercial banking services and helping empower future female entrepreneurs.”
This is DEI in action, making an impact, it’s initiatives like this that sets my heart on fire in terms of organisations doing rather than saying. It also solidifies the theme we have chosen for the next TechDiversity Awards in 2024, providing an illuminating narrative into the exponential impact of DE+I initiatives, channelled through six impactful statements, you can explore these statements on our Awards website.
I drew parallels between the evolution of technology and the DEI movement. I urged everyone not to be the “Bob in the basement”, a reference I use to describe when technology in the 90s wasn’t fully understood and people referenced the technical team in the basement, it was a they v’s us situation, and I feel like we are somewhat still there when it comes to understanding the immense value that DEI brings.
I emphasised just as businesses now wholeheartedly invest in technology to thrive, embracing DEI should be a strategic move that sets the stage for lasting success.
As I shared my thoughts, the room was filled with nods of agreement and sparks of inspiration. It was truly a surreal experience to be part of a dialogue that’s shaping the future of business, sports, and society.
I’m thrilled to have been a part of this incredible journey. The ‘Level the Playing Field’ Summit was a reminder that change is possible when we come together with a shared vision. And as we continue our mission to create a more inclusive world, let’s remember that every step counts, every voice matters, and every impact we make ripples through generations.
Stay tuned for more adventures, more conversations, and more stories of change. Together, we’re unleashing impact that goes beyond boundaries.
Yours in diversity, equity and inclusion