By Anita Jankovic

Can in-house legal drive D&I?

Susie Beaumont and Craig Allwright - both in-house lawyers at the OLX Group - inspire us with their approach towards Diversity & Inclusion. "We regard D&I as a “business imperative” that needs to be at the heart of everything we do.

It sure can!

Like most companies today, D&I is very important to us at OLX Group. However, unlike other companies, we take a bit of a different approach. At OLX Group, D&I has its own structure outside of HR and employees from across different levels, countries and parts of the business are involved in leading and driving D&I. Many of these people are from our in-house legal team. 

D&I Committees

At a global level, our D&I Council (which is made up of senior leaders from different functions around the world) is led by one of our senior lawyers. At a local level, we have 22 D&I Committees around the world that drive D&I on the ground in the 5 continents we operate in. Some of these D&I Committees are led by lawyers and many of them include lawyers.  We also have 4 global Work Streams – Hire, Develop, Reward & Include. HR professionals lead the Hire, Develop and Reward Work Streams, but all Work Streams are made up of people from around the business, including members of our legal team.

So why do we approach D&I in this way at OLX Group? Well because we don’t see D&I as just an HR matter. Instead, we regard D&I as a “business imperative” that needs to be at the heart of everything we do. The OLX Group’s purpose is “We shape the future of trade to unlock the hidden value in everythingand this includes our people. We believe that  a diverse workforce working in an inclusive workplace can unlock value in our people, bring better customer solutions, and become a competitive strategic advantage for our company.

Who we are and what we do

OLX Group is a global product and tech group that empowers people to upgrade their lives by facilitating the exchange of second hand goods and services through our online platforms. Every month 350 million people around the world use our products and services – our ambition is to reach one billion people! To reach this goal, we need to constantly (and quickly) innovate. To do this, we must bring together perspectives as varied as our user base.

This requires a really diverse team of people across all functions, and a workplace that is as inclusive as the platforms we build and operate. We know that the more diverse we are, and the more inclusive our workplace culture is – the more user-centric we can become. We will listen more and better understand the problems of our people and our users. We will avoid blind spots and make better decisions that are based on, and reflect, multiple views. We will ultimately design better, more creative and innovative products and experiences for our users.

Global commitment

Listening, problem solving and making decisions are skills lawyers have and use every day – so in our view, why isn’t the in-house legal team just as good (and perhaps even better) as any other area of the business to drive D&I. In addition, the work of an in-house legal team generally touches all areas of a business (to some extent) so members of the legal team are in a pretty unique position in their knowledge of a business and its people.

Of course, our in-house legal team doesn’t drive D&I on its own and it shouldn’t – imagine the biases if we only had legal minds thinking about and driving D&I at OLX Group. As D&I impacts every person and every part of our business, we need everyone involved from every part of the globe and every function  – finance, strategy, marketing, advertising, sales, IT, tech, product etc and of course our D&I allies – our amazing HR colleagues.

Susie Beaumont is the Global Lead for Diversity & Inclusion at OLX Group and based in Dubai. She is a Certified Diversity Practioner (National Diversity Council, U.S.) and studied Gender Diversity at INSEAD. In addition to being the Global Lead for D&I, Susie is a lawyer at OLX Group and is General Counsel for Letgo (the OLX Group business based in Turkey and Spain). Susie’s first introduction to D&I was in 2011 when she attended a compulsory Unconscious Bias training run by the global law firm she was a partner at. Initially, she was only interested in gender diversity. However, as Susie studied D&I and took on D&I roles within organizations, she realized D&I was so much more than gender diversity. Susie is now an advocate for ALL aspects of D&I and in particular D&I being a business imperative for organizations and not just “the right thing to do”. Prior to moving to Dubai in January 2019, Susie worked in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and most recently 16 years in Indonesia. She is Australian and has 2 daughters who are Indonesian/Australian.

Craig Allwright is General Counsel at OLX Group and on the Group’s Management Team. He is based in Amsterdam.  Craig is passionate about Diversity & Inclusion and always been of the view that D&I is something that everyone in the organization needs to be a part of, not just HR. It was this vision that led Craig to propose to management that someone from his legal team lead D&I at OLX Group as well as encouraging others in the legal team to be involved in D&I initiatives across the Group.  Craig is also personally involved in D&I at OLX Group as a member of the Group’s Hire Workstream which globally looks at initiatives the Group can implement to ensure we hire more diverse talent. 

Prior to moving to Europe 20 years ago to join Allen & Overy, Craig worked in South Africa (where also he grew up). Craig now lives in Amsterdam and has 2 children, a son and a daughter.

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Credits
Susie Beaumont and Craig Allwright | OLX Group

OLX Group is a global product and tech group that empowers people to upgrade their lives by facilitating the exchange of second-hand goods and services through our online platforms. Our purpose is “to shape the future of trade to unlock the hidden value in everything“. OLX Group operates in 30+ markets under 20+ brands. It has 8000+ employees from 72 different nationalities. The businesses include Avito, Letgo, OLX, WeBuyCars.com, property24, otomoto, otodom and many more.

 

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