Di­verse think­ing

Qantas - - QBusiness -

Vik Bansal, CEO of Clean­away Waste Man­age­ment, has a clear mes­sage to ex­ec­u­tive re­cruit­ment firms en­gaged by his com­pany. “I al­ways say, ‘I don’t care if it’s men or women, young or old, or the colour of their skin – you need to give me di­verse can­di­dates. That’s what I’m look­ing for.’ But if I don’t say that, it doesn’t hap­pen.”

He has re­cently taken a pub­lic stance on cul­tural di­ver­sity. “Up un­til now, I avoided th­ese con­ver­sa­tions but as my daugh­ter grows up, I un­der­stand why di­ver­sity is im­por­tant. Some­one once told me, ‘You have to be 20 per cent bet­ter be­cause you start off be­hind.’ I don’t want her to face that. I live and breathe that all the time and I think there’s a time for ev­ery­thing.”

Grow­ing up in North In­dia, Bansal faced a slid­ing-doors moment when de­cid­ing to move over­seas for more op­por­tu­nity. He com­pleted an MBA at Deakin Univer­sity in Mel­bourne be­fore mov­ing into roles in Aus­tralia and the United States.

“I went into busi­ness and worked for global com­pa­nies that had a global mind­set on di­ver­sity. In the US, I was fas­ci­nated that, for the first time, the colour of my skin and back­ground be­came my lever­age point. Now peo­ple are com­ing through the ranks and ex­ec­u­tives are see­ing the ben­e­fits of di­ver­sity. It will move things.”

Bansal has some em­pa­thy for the 65-yearold male board mem­ber who, for his en­tire life, has been op­er­at­ing in a sit­u­a­tion where 95 per cent of peo­ple are like him. “You need to work on your­self to change your bi­ases. Where I be­come frus­trated is where peo­ple don’t make an ef­fort to lis­ten.”

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