“Open up to diversity and be surprised!”
More and more organizations acknowledge the importance of creating more diversity in the workplace and are committed to making this happen. Especially now, dealing with an unpredictable future, organizations need their teams to be as diverse as possible. To successfully address challenges and capitalize on opportunities.
We have asked Kobi Ampoma, recruiter, diversity advocate and highly valued relation, for his vision on diversity. In many of the HR roles Kobi held, he was the only dark-colored person within the entire organization. “I thought, that’s very few of my colour. There has got to be another way, right?”
We wish you great inspiration and of course, great success!
It will be our pleasure sustaining your organizational success in diversity. By connecting many different nationalities, cultures and personalities, forming top teams! Do not hesitate to contact us.
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TIME FOR DIVERSITY! | KOBI AMPOMA
More and more organizations acknowledge the importance of creating more diversity in the workplace and are committed to making this happen. Especially when you are dealing with an unpredictable future, you want your team to be as diverse as possible. So that you can respond in the most optimum way to new developments. SMEENK’S has asked Kobi Ampoma, recruiter, diversity advocate and highly valued relation, to share his vision with us. And what is his message to employers? “Open up to diversity and be surprised”.
Maartje Smeenk and Kobi Ampoma met during the time that Kobi was still working as talent acquisition manager at PHV Europe BV, the global headquarters of Tommy Hilfiger and the European headquarters of Calvin Klein. Kobi: “We were looking for an executive assistant and Maartje, as a headhunter for top personal assistants, helped us out perfectly. She is very pleasant to work with, very passionate about the assistant role and about her search for the right assistants for both executives and organizations.” Kobi now works for online travel agent Travix International BV, where he holds the position of head talent acquisition. As such, he carries final responsibility for attracting new talent worldwide. Soon he will start his own entrepreneurial business as a talent acquisition broker with extra attention for diversity, under the name JNL Recruitment.
At the age of 11, Kobi Ampoma, the child of a political refugee, emigrated from Ghana to the Netherlands. Kobi’s parents, both highly educated professionals, encouraged him to pursue a good education and achieve good results. “My mother used to say, ‘If a white person has to choose between you and another white person, you have to come from a good place to get chosen.’ I have always kept that in mind. Even in my work, I still have the attitude that I have to give 200%. In many of the HR roles I held, I was the only dark-colored person within the entire organization. In my first role, for example, at Nike, only 10 of the 1,200 people employed were dark-colored. That’s very few of my color, I thought. There has got to be another way, right?”
“Kobi is now at a point in his life that he wants to dedicate himself to realizing that other way. I am known as a positive person full of energy. I always try to see the good in others and focus on the future. In recent years I have come to realize more and more that these qualities originate from my background. The second chance I have been given in the Netherlands has shaped me and has become an important strength. I want to share the story that, regardless of your past or origin, if you have a goal in life, you can achieve anything. Never give up.”
Kobi, therefore, believes that the HR community should become more familiar with the benefits of diversity and should make more efforts in considering people from ethnic minorities. “Many talented young people from ethnic minorities do not get the chance to present themselves in a job interview. That’s where organizations significantly are missing something. During my career, I frequently added some of these people as ‘wild cards’ to my selection processes, when I saw that they were promising. Even if they did not exactly match the desired ‘unicorn’ profile that managers are so frequently looking for. When hired, they turned out to be true high performers, because they received a chance and trust. So my advice is: enter the conversation with people from ethnic minorities and just let them surprise you. Do more to get to know and understand different target groups. There are also many highly educated professionals among ethnic minorities.”
Organizations failing to do anything regarding diversity are missing out on opportunities. Kobi: “Diversity offers organizations so many advantages. I, myself, have been fortunate enough to work with many nationalities, which provides different, very enriching insights and perspectives. And according to research, diversity also increases productivity.” But, just putting together a program, is not enough, according to Kobi. “Investing in diversity will only be successful if the organization has a genuine affinity with diversity. “You should only do it, if you genuinely care for diversity within your organization and if you want to give everyone in society a fair chance.”
Do you also want to make diversity happen?
Do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy finding your right, next-level top personal assistant who is able to connect many different nationalities, cultures and personalities, forming a top team. Optimally contributing to a stronger innovative power of your organization!
“Time for diversity!” | Kobi Ampoma.
Interview: Silvia Kooij | Photography: Kirsten van Santen.