As she waited to catch a new wave she patiently looked around noticing she was the only female on the water. The waves slowly built and while she paddled and waited a boy glided by telling her to get off the water, that only boys can surf. She became more determined and stuck with it. Eventually becoming a professional surfer she was able to pave a path for other females that possibly doubted if it were possible for them to chase their dream of surfing.
Becoming a professional surfer in a male dominated field was one thing but she, Rita Piccara, embraces fairness in everything she does. As a CFO at Microsoft she also established the first LGBTQI+ organization within the Portugal division of Microsoft. Her inclusive nature wants all people to feel welcome and valued. She believes that companies are more effective when they have people from all different backgrounds and opinions, so she does what she can to support a culture of fairness.
Fairness comes in many forms but is easily described as equality. Equality is imperative in a working environment to encourage everyone to feel safe enough to contribute. Becoming conscious of how inclusive you are will determine who feels welcomed in your organization. Are you all the same or are you confident enough that you welcome those that aren’t exactly like you? Do you encourage your team to include those they may not agree with? Due to all the modern rights movements it is easy to realize that fairness means accepting someone for who they are and not treating them differently because of it, but what about people who have different opinions than you? Fairness encompasses so many different aspects of a person and one important one is accepting different opinions. If you become stuck believing you are always right, others do not feel respected nor included.
We all have unconscious biases and it is important to be aware of them. An unconscious bias is defined as a prejudice or unsupported judgements against someone or something. Oftentimes we are not aware of them and then show favoritism or even discriminate without meaning to. Creating an environment of respect over forcing everyone to believe and think the way you do, will develop an inclusive and fair culture. This can be as simple as asking the question “what do you think?” and inviting other people to have a voice.
After Rita founded the LGBTQI+ organization she mentored a fellow employee that had personal experience, to lead it. His name was Sergio and due to how inclusive Microsoft’s culture was, he felt comfortable enough to come out. He was treated fairly before and after coming out and his experience inspired him to want to take on the role of leading the LGBTQI+ organization. He even stated that had he been working at another company that did not have as inclusive of a culture as Microsoft, he probably wouldn’t have come out yet. Fairness encourages others to be who they are.