Meet & Greet: Rehana Nanji, Senior Manager, People Culture at Checkout.com
In this week’s myGwork Meet & Greet interview, LGBTQ+ ally and Checkout.com’s Senior Manager of People Culture, Rehana Nanji, explains how she consciously makes an effort to bring as many perspectives and voices to the table to make the workplace inclusive for everyone. She highlights the importance of continuously learning from the LGBTQ+ community to achieve that, and provides some insights into her ‘unorthodox’ career journey in the diversity and inclusion space.
Hi Rehana, can you tell us a bit about your career journey to date?
While I was studying at university, I had no idea 'culture' was a job you could actually do, so you could say the path I’ve taken to get here is slightly unorthodox. In hindsight, working in Diversity & Inclusion, Engagement and Impact is what it’s all been leading up to. And that’s a really lovely reflection.
When joining Expedia as a Recruitment Coordinator, I wouldn’t have guessed that by building connections, making the most of opportunities across the company and working hard, I would be leading a location-specific engagement model amplifying the work of D&I, CSR and Communications. It was a great place to work, and I’m very grateful to those that could see my potential in the work I love to do; even if we didn’t have an exact name for it at the time!
What's the most challenging aspect of managing people right now?
My team needs the space to think, discuss and often settle into conversations that can be challenging and difficult. Doing this can be hard in the virtual world as Zoom interactions can often feel quite transactional, especially when you might have 10 back-to-back Zoom calls. We’re working hard to get the time back to do that bigger thinking, and dispel the myth that if there’s no “purpose” to the meeting, you’re just wasting time.
What attributes do you look for in new recruits and why?
I think there can sometimes be a tendency to loop Culture teams like mine into interview panels almost as an add-on to look at attributes like teamwork, collaboration and values separately to evaluating skills. Whether asked to or not, I always like to put these attributes at the forefront of the conversation, and discuss them in tandem when talking about skills and experience, as I think they are incredibly important. It’s easier to develop skills when someone is open to learning and has a growth mindset.
How important is LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace for you personally?
A crucial part of learning how to be a professional, especially working in inclusion, is understanding that all levels of inclusion are important. While I might not identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community, the beauty of learning in this space is that even if you don’t identify, you can see the value in those that do and learn from them. So I consciously bring as many perspectives and voices to my work to continue to make our workplace inclusive for everyone.
What's your favourite inclusion campaign to date and why?
I’m incredibly proud of the partnership we have forged with our Talent Acquisition team here at Checkout.com. In a short space of time, we have made embedding inclusion principles into our processes a shared priority. With initiatives like launching unconscious bias training, introducing an augmented inclusive language tool and auditing our processes, we’ve been able to challenge the status quo and push things in a brilliant direction.
How do you encourage staff to have a work-life balance, especially with the increase in remote/hybrid working?
I try to remind the team that it’s always a priority to think about self-care. There’s then an element of trust that the team maintains this priority. I’m not going to ask for evidence, but I want them to set boundaries and ask for support where they need it. It’s not perfect, there are always new challenges but we’re on the journey. I try to be a role model where possible to help the team recognise that it’s not an unreal expectation to have that balance in their lives.
What's the biggest highlight of your career to date and why?
I have to say my greatest career moment has to be keynoting at the Women of Silicon Roundabout conference. Being on the stage with one of our male technology leaders and sharing a realistic point of view on allyship with the audience was fantastic. We really wanted to be honest and open, sharing what’s working and key learnings from our journey. Seeing the reaction on social media was so rewarding. People had found the presentation to be real, actionable and filled with tangible learnings and advice. That was the moment when you think, “that was a great keynote,” and I was so proud of the whole team for the achievement.
What was the last book you read? Any interesting take-aways and would you recommend it to fellow leaders?
I’m currently listening (on audiobook) to Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez. I read the book a long time ago and I love to go back to it as it continues to give me amazing examples to use in conversation with others. The book is data-driven and really useful in outlining the practicalities of why inclusion matters. I highly recommend it!
What was your last holiday destination and where do you plan to visit next?
Great question. My last holiday was to Crete with my family. It was a fantastic holiday, though rather surreal following so many lockdowns. I’m also booked to go to Barcelona soon. It’s one of my favourite places. I have some amazing friends there so I'm really looking forward to the trip, and travel feeling more normal again.
What do you do to unwind at the end of a hard day?
I enjoy quite a few of the ‘unwind’ classics — Netflix, wine and good food. I love going to good restaurants with good friends and having a bit of a debrief about what happened that day.
You can find out more about Rehana here.
Check out myGwork's other Meet & Greet interviews, including:
- Swapi CEO Pete Howroyd who talks about workplace equality and LGBTQ+ inclusion, and the importance of ensuring that every voice is heard.
- Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce’s Co-Founder Tammi Wallace who shares her career journey and ‘passion work’ for economic equality for the LGBTQ+ community.
- Criteo's SVP of Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Rachel Scheel on how and why she supports diversity and LGBTQ+ inclusion as an ally, as well as workplace wellbeing.
- Events Together’s CEO Meena Chander, on how some of her biggest supporters – many of whom are from the LGBTQ+ community – influenced her to set up her own business.
- Clyde & Co’s Solicitor Kate Mikolajewski, on her career journey in the legal profession and why she’s grateful that she can be out at work thanks to the firm’s inclusive culture.