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FEB appoints first faculty Diversity & Inclusion officer

24 January 2022
Ella Sebamalai
Photo by Nienke Maat

As a follow-up on the recommendations resulting from a survey amongst faculty staff about diversity, inclusion and social safety, the Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) has appointed a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) officer; Ella Sebamalai.

Ella Sebamalai about her new role: 'In working on diversity, equity, and inclusion, I utilize a human-centered approach to understand what the needs and experiences are. I believe that both bottom-up and top-down commitment will benefit FEB’s development in terms of D&I strategy, policy, and implementation in the upcoming years. I need and appreciate perspectives from across the faculty to do this work, so I hope to connect with people in different positions and with different experiences.'

The D&I officer’s first activities will concern strategy development in collaboration with the faculty board and collaborating with HR and the central D&I office to advance the FEB D&I action plan. 'One example is a training programme on Inclusive Recruitment, which includes (self-)reflection on unconscious bias, organizational culture, and selection mechanisms.'

As a D&I professional, Ella realizes that
conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion can be challenging. In the past, next to her work as policy adviser at FEB, Ella has worked on the themes as trainer and consultant for organizations varying from finance to global tech. 'It has been part of my work ethos to fully embrace true conversations on different perspectives and behaviours; both from colleagues who experience non-inclusive behaviour and from colleagues to whom it seemed a non-issue. I am excited to continue conversations on this strategic theme for FEB and for the university.'

Peter Verhoef, dean of FEB, continues: 'It is an important first step in working on this collaboratively for a future-proof organizational culture that fosters inclusive behaviour.'

Also Gerry Wakker, the university ’s chief D&I officer, is pleased that this role has been filled in on a faculty level: 'FEB is the first faculty to appoint a faculty D&I officer. This is an excellent step in creating a network of D&I officers in (all faculties of) the university who closely collaborate in developing and implementing D&I strategy and thus help to foster an inclusive and socially safe university in which each individual experiences a sense of belonging and can develop according to their own ability, thus improving the functioning of the university as a whole.'

Last modified:24 January 2022 4.56 p.m.

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