Diversity by Default by Elizabeth Seward8th March 2019
By Elizabeth Seward
Here at Seraphim Space Camp, two of our core objectives for the startups partaking in the programme are “Investment Readiness” and to gain significant corporate engagement. For each of our sponsors and partners, we have an identified Expert-in-Residence who supports the programme and facilitates meaningful and relevant interactions with others within their organisation and Seraphim Space Camp’s startups to help navigate the barriers that exist for new companies starting out and to help truly accelerate their business.
Airbus in one of the largest aerospace corporations in the world and we are lucky enough to have Elizabeth Seward represent Airbus as the Corporate Expert-in-Residence for Seraphim Space Camp. Elizabeth is a senior strategist at Airbus and is a true champion of Diversity within her company and also in the wider SpaceTech ecosystem. Elizabeth is on the Executive Board of Women in Aerospace Europe and the chair of the UK Local Group.
During the last programme, Liz shared with us some of the initiatives Airbus is undertaking to improve diversity and tells why “Balance for Business” is #BalanceforBetter – especially for SpaceTech startups just starting out. Here are her insights:
Diversity by Default
"Creating a diverse and inclusive organisation from the beginning can seem complicated and not especially aligned with fast-paced growth but it is essential for long-term success and start-ups should take that into consideration."
Research has proven that inclusiveness and diversity in the workplace foster better performance, especially in the top management where boards with greater gender diversity are more likely by 15% to outperform their peers. This is why, at Airbus, we decided to work on this topic, something which is directly supported by our top management. Key to this is our “Balance for Business” programme, an employee resource group that strives to help create a fully inclusive and diverse workforce, leading to happier and more engaged employees resulting in better, brighter more innovative ideas and ultimately bring value to Airbus.
Our mission? Harness everyone’s potential in a more open, inclusive and balanced Airbus environment to create a greater business impact and employee engagement. We really want to go the extra mile by promoting all forms of diversity: gender, seniority, physical abilities, origin, sexual orientation, careers or even cognitive intelligence to name a few. By building an active community with a dynamic team of local ambassadors throughout the world we hope to contribute and support business strategic objectives and improve our employees’ balance.
First, we decided to create a network of people raising awareness and celebrating differences within the company. We now have an active and working committee taking care of the internal communication, different Diversity networks (gender equality, neurodiversity, religious diversity and many more) and instigating change to make Airbus a better place to work, influencing HR policies and processes (from job advert writing to increasing diversity amongst applicants). We also collate a database of useful I&D experts within Airbus and host regular events such as Mental Health Talks, monthly Meetups for our Balance for Business Book Club, TED talks and professional mentoring sessions.
We’re keen to instil a new dynamic that is more aligned with the current generation of employees' priorities and still actively contribute to our business strategic objectives. I’m glad to be a part of this.
- Elizabeth Seward
From technical aspects to marketing, including scaling strategies and investment-readiness, our mentors and our team cover everything you need, during our nine-weeks programme, to start doing business with our corporate partners.
If you liked this article and want to know more about Seraphim Space Camp acceleration programme, visit www.spacecamp.vc/programme.