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Inclusion and belonging are important because everyone deserves the right to be seen, heard and accepted for who they are without fear of prejudice or bias.
Zahida Zubairu,Coffee Partners Finance Co-Pilot

We sat down with Zahida Zubairu, to find out how she breaks down bias and her pivotal role in our Eradicating Racism Network.

What excites you most about your role and working for Nestlé?

The variety of work and the types of projects I can get involved in. Being able to work and collaborate with diverse colleagues within my team and across a range of departments is exciting too. I have made some great friends along the way, which is a huge bonus.

What has been the best advice you've been given in your career? Do you have any top tips of your own for new starters?

The best career advice I've ever been given is to 'Say yes to the things that scare you because opportunities lurk within'. I truly believe that so many life experiences exist outside of our comfort zone.

I have two pieces of advice for new starters. Firstly, never make yourself small just so someone else can feel big. Secondly, to put in the work to be the best version of yourself – your worth will soon be undeniable.

The theme for International Women's Day 2022 is #BreakTheBias. Have you faced any biases in your career and how have you handled them?

To me bias means putting people who don't look, speak, think or act like you in made up boxes. It's a convenient way to 'keep people small' and discard their point of view.

I've faced barriers due to my race, gender, age and where they all intersect. My biggest barrier however, was doubting myself based on people's perception of me. I overcame that by focusing on what I think of myself and making my voice the loudest.

Are you involved with any of Nestlé's inclusion and belonging initiatives?

I am one the co-chairs of the Eradicating Racism Network and I've been involved in shaping the network from the very beginning, alongside an amazing group of people. I am also the Allies Lead for the Proud@Nestlé  Network helping to educate on and support LGBT+ rights and social movements. I believe inclusion and belonging are important because everyone deserves the right to be seen, heard and accepted for who they are without fear of prejudice or bias.

Is there anyone that inspires you, either personally or professionally?

My parents, sisters and brother-in-law have inspired and continue to inspire me every day. They have taught me how to be resourceful, how to stand up for what is right and how to accept and celebrate all that I am. Most importantly, they taught and showed me that neither my race nor my gender will ever be an obstacle to achieving whatever I want.

What has been your proudest moment at Nestlé?

My proudest moment was when someone reached out to me to say that my brave actions had inspired them to be brave. My goal has always been to help at least one person and that was the moment I realised I had succeeded.

What one thing would you like to see more people doing to be more inclusive?

Don't wait for someone, especially those subjected to prejudice, to give you answers. Take steps to find the answers yourself and have the difficult and uncomfortable conversations to learn more. Every single one of us can do and be better.