Witad Awards 2019 Write-Ups: Best Company for Diversity and Inclusion (Vendor)—Refinitiv

Refinitiv was voted the best company for diversity and inclusion at this year's Women in Technology & Data Awards held in London on March 8.

Phil Wellard, Refinitiv
Phil Wellard, CTO of Refinitiv, receives the best company for diversity and inclusion (vendor) award from Kate Silverton.

When it comes to achieving its diversity goals, Refinitiv’s strategy is both inward-facing, via aggressive cultural benchmarks, and outward-facing, through the data products it releases to the market. “We firmly believe that it is important to look at our organization operationally and improve our own performance, but as a data vendor, we believe our biggest footprint and positive impact is through our products and services and the way they are used by our customers to influence change,” says Elena Philipova, global head of environmental, social and governance (ESG) at Refinitiv. “So we leveraged our data capabilities in the ESG datasets and our expertise in developing unique analytics, and developed the diversity and inclusion index.” 

Philipova says organizations around the world use the index to assess their relative performance around diversity and inclusion, to measure how effective their internal policies are, and to “aim higher” for better processes and mechanisms that are comprehensive, not just focused on gender. 

As far as its own processes and mechanisms are concerned, the former Financial and Risk division of Thomson Reuters is a relatively new company, launched in October 2018, working to establish its culture and identity. In October, Refinitiv signed the Women in Finance charter, committing to women holding 40% of the data company’s leadership roles by 2020. 

Audrey Campbell, Refinitiv’s head of talent, leadership and inclusion, says the target is treated as “non-negotiable,” an approach underpinned by the understanding that talented women already exist in the market and in the business, so the focus isn’t on making a case for equality—it’s about how to get there. “That’s a completely different mindset, and that’s quite a proactive way to look at it,” Campbell says, adding that the approach takes away some of the “micro-aggression” that crops up when constantly making the business case for equality.  “We’re no longer asking the question about talent availability and competence—we’re now asking about access and what we are doing to level the playing field systemically. It’s a different kind of conversation and from my point of view, quite a progressive way to address it.”

Campbell says that reaching the target is a “whole firm behavioral change program” wherein it pins down the ownership of the work it takes to get there, and hooks it into pay and reward structures so that it’s a normal part of doing business. The next step, she says, is talking about leadership on a global level, determining what diverse leadership means, and what it looks like in all regions.

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