On Friday, November 11, members of 10 foreign chambers of commerce in Estonia (American, British, Danish, German, Finnish, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish chambers, Holland Business Club and Irish Business Network) alongside the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, came together to talk about importance of diversity for the business climate and business success. The keynote speaker at the summit, Mr Gary Baker, diversity expert with over 25 years’ experience from the US and Sweden, believes there are identifiable stages that companies, and even individuals, pass through in their journey towards successful ”sustainable diversity” — that is, finding the business case for working with diversity. Gary presented a range of areas of where Estonia falls well behind EU averages on different aspects of discrimination, and followed with concrete examples of successful, sustainable diversity from both the US, Sweden. Gary’s assessment is that Estonia as a country is in the very earliest stages of understanding diversity as a business driver, and that training of top leaders is critical to their gaining acceptance for the business case behind promoting diversity and inclusion. ”It must start with an understanding that a company (or even country) can do better, otherwise it is impossible to move from ’good to great’,” Mr Baker added. Other event speakers and panelists included Hanno Tomberg, Chairman of the Board of Enterprise Estonia (EAS); Helen Sildna, Director of Tallinn Music Week; Piret Potisepp, Estonian Chamber of Commerce; Pille Room, Arvato services Estonia, Marit Alaväli, Iginte; Merle Liisu Lindma, SKYPE; Kathleen Naglee, Director of the International School of Estonia; Andrus Soodla, Danske Bank. The event was moderated by Silver Tambur, Editor-in-Chief of Estonian World. In the end of the event, Kari Käsper from the Estonian Diversity Charter/ Estonian Human Rights center presented the agreement that was launched a few years ago. The idea of the agreement is to promote the initiative where companies agree to take steps in implementing the equal treatment principles within their enterprise. Mr. Käsper invited all of the participating companies to co-sign it and make a positive change within their companies. We would like to thank the EY Baltics AS, Danske Bank, ARVATO services Estonia and the U.S. Embassy Tallinn, Estonia for their support! Also we would like to thank Gary Baker for flying in just for this conference and giving us an incredible presentation on the topic of diversity.
Photos by Sergei Krasii, Fotki Inc. for AmCham Estonia (c) The full photo album is available in our