5 Questions About DE&I with Roxxan Hanson
- Diversity. Equity. Inclusion. Three significant words often strung together with the power to shape a stronger company culture and workplace environment for all.
- Samsung is continuing to make progress on our journey towards driving meaningful change. And we’re spotlighting the DE&I champions within our organization that are instrumental in enabling us to make an impact.
- “Understanding our biases, assumptions, and privilege is an important first step. But the next step is turning that knowledge and understanding into action every day for the rest of our lives.” – Roxxan Hanson
Diversity. Equity. Inclusion. Three significant words often strung together with the power to shape a stronger company culture and workplace environment for all.
At Samsung, it’s part of our company’s heritage to push boundaries and defy barriers to achieve meaningful progress and power bold innovation. But innovation doesn’t just happen — it is designed by humans for humans. And a critical ingredient is our inclusive culture and diverse workforce. Our company is made up of nearly 270,000 people around the world of different ethnicities, races, genders, sexual orientations, identities, religious beliefs, and abilities. But together, we’re ONE global team united by Samsung’s purpose and values.
Action is another noteworthy word. Samsung is continuing to make progress on our journey towards driving meaningful change. And we want to spotlight the DE&I champions within our organization that have been and continue to be instrumental in enabling us to make an impact and helping to create a rich sense of belonging where everyone can thrive.
1. What has been your greatest learning or most exciting experience in your career journey as it relates to DE&I?
The greatest learning about DE&I is that it’s an ongoing journey. Understanding our biases, assumptions, and privilege is an important first step. But the next step is turning that knowledge and understanding into action each and every day for the rest of our lives. I’ve learned that we can’t expect those in oppressed and marginalized groups to provide us with a checklist of things to do to make things better. Instead, we need to educate ourselves.
2. How have you seen diversity efforts progress in the workplace during your career?
From the inception of the WISE+ (Women in Samsung Electronics America) employee resource group (ERG) in 2017 to now, I’ve experienced progress that I’m proud of. WISE+ has grown so much as a group and we’re making a difference in ways I had never dreamed of — with a focus on forming close relationships and a community at work. I’ve also seen the introduction and growth of other ERGs at Samsung Electronics America, like Unidos. Allyship and bonds have formed among the ERG communities (e.g., WISE+, Galaxy of Black Professionals, LGBTQIA+ Equality Alliance, Veterans Community, Next Generation Leaders, and Unidos), which has helped us through difficult times over the last few years as America faced a racial and social justice reckoning.
3. How have the views of diverse people enhanced your work or work experience?
I grew up in a rural part of the Midwest without a lot of diversity surrounding me. Then, I moved to New York City in my mid-twenties, which gave me the opportunity to live around and work with so many types of people. Learning about all these different life paths opened my eyes to the fact that there is no wrong way to chart your career journey and that there are many versions of the ‘right way’ to do things at work. Understanding that people can think differently and yet be able to successfully work together towards the same goal in our business was a great learning experience.
4. Do you believe that diverse and inclusive teams are the engines of innovation?
Absolutely! Two heads are better than one. And two heads that are thinking about a problem from different angles bring more solutions to the mix! There was a time when I thought it would be good to work with people who thought like me so there would be less effort to get on the same page, but I quickly learned that this just created an echo chamber effect wherein the same ideas are bounced back and forth rather than getting a fresh perspective. We need diversity of thought to capture more ideas to drive innovation.
5. What’s one simple way your fellow colleagues can turn allyship into action?
Talking about your allyship journey openly with friends and colleagues helps hold yourself accountable and signals to others that it is something that is important to you. This can be as simple as sharing an ERG event with colleagues to show that you are supportive or inviting ERG representatives to speak at a team meeting.
6. What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would tell myself to get used to being uncomfortable. In order to grow personally, professionally, and to broaden my understanding of the world, I needed to break out of the institutionalized and structural way of thinking and disrupt the status quo. Be okay with having different opinions and speak up. Your input is more valuable than you give yourself credit for.