In this week’s Meet & Greet interview, myGwork member and LGBTQ+ ally Rachel Scheel talks about how and why she supports diversity and LGBTQ+ inclusion as an ally and in her role as Criteo’s SVP Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She also shares the importance of mental health and wellbeing at work, how she maintains a work-life balance as a working mom, and how she encourages it.
myGwork: Can you tell us a bit about your career journey to date?
Rachel: I started my career in Queensland, Australia after finishing my undergraduate studies in Business Management, majoring in Human Resource Management. From there I moved to Melbourne early in my career and spent several years in early HR Management roles. It was in 2007 that I had the opportunity to take my career overseas on an international assignment; and I’ve lived in the UK ever since. My career in the UK gave me exposure to international HR roles, in multinational organisations, and working across global teams, many cultures and different industries. My passion for diversity, equity and inclusion grew over the years with exposure to programs focusing on talent, culture and change management.
myGwork: What's the most challenging aspect of managing people right now?
Rachel: Particularly in the last two years the world of work has changed substantially. The office environment is no longer the basis for connecting, engaging and bringing teams together. As a manager there is a lot more expectation on how you support belonging and engagement within your team, both individually and collectively. There are different expectations on coaching and support, and most of this has to be one to one and virtually. Additionally, there is a shift in the labour market, with more talent understanding their value, and they are looking for companies that not only have a solid brand, but are also socially responsible and active in the communities they exist within.
myGwork: What attributes do you look for in new recruits and why?
Rachel: I love the term ‘culture add’, and this is something I’m hugely advocating when hiring new talent. We want people who can bring their experiences, perspectives, ideas, innovation and add to the value of our culture at Criteo. With this we can only benefit from being more inclusive to new and exciting ways of working.
myGwork: How important is LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace for you personally?
Rachel: As an ally for the LGBTQ+ community I feel this is incredibly important for all organisations to actively embrace and foster. Whichever letter anyone identifies with, being your true self, showing up and feeling comfortable for who you are helps you to be your absolute best. As an organisation this can only benefit the entire ecosystem, helping all employees to feel that they belong, that they have equitable opportunities to careers and communities within the organisation; and knowing that you are getting the best of your employees for being themselves at work everyday.
myGwork: What's your favorite inclusion campaign to date and why?
Rachel: I couldn’t identify just one campaign, as there have been so many wonderful ways of bringing awareness and appreciation for inclusión across many industries. One that always comes to mind as impactful was ‘Inclusion starts with I’ by Accenture. It brings to life that it starts with all of us, and it is sometimes just one step forward but collectively we make a difference.
myGwork: How do you encourage staff to have a worklife balance, especially with the increase in remote/hybrid working?
Rachel: At Criteo we are actively communicating weekly to our employees on how to prepare for and adapt to hybrid working. Our new policy allows employees to work up to four days remotely per week, giving them more flexibility in where they work. We’ve also introduced Quiet Fridays once per month, to allow our employees to take time away from meetings to find time for themselves, their development or catching up on offline work. We have also developed several toolkits and training resources to support employees to find their balance at work, setting their boundaries and focusing on their mental wellbeing.
myGwork: What's the biggest highlight of your career to date and why?
Rachel: Moving from Australia to the UK was a very big highlight as it pushed me completely out of my comfort zone, and I know as an individual and career professional I grew a lot in those early years. Becoming a mum, returning to work and my career was also another highlight. It was at this point that I learned more about myself, my limits, who I am as a person; and it forced me to really think about where I could make an impact and what I really wanted to pursue in my career. Perhaps you could say it helped me put a lot of things into perspective and it made me more confident in my own skin.
myGwork: What was the last book you read (fiction/non-fiction)? Any interesting take-aways and would you recommend it to fellow leaders?
Rachel: Well truthfully it was Matilda by Roald Dahl, reading to my five year old son. Aside from that I read Girl Stop Apologising by Rachel Hollis. It was an interesting read by a woman who started her own business from scratch; her learnings as a working mum; and some interesting tips on self confidence and self assurance for women.
myGwork: What was your last holiday destination and where do you plan to visit next?
Rachel: In October (less than four weeks ago) I travelled through Iceland for a week. We didn’t see the northern lights (sadly) but we were amazed by the amazing landscape, waterfalls, hot springs and the geysirs. It is a fascinating country that gives sustainability a leading edge with its natural ability to provide heating in its major cities. My next holiday (hopefully) is a trip home to Australia. I’ve not seen my mum for almost three years now, and I just hope the borders finally open for me to get home by April 2022.
myGwork: What do you to unwind at the end of a hard day?
Rachel: A lot of different things, depending on my day. Sometimes I go for a walk and if I’m really energetic something more taxing like a short run. Sometimes I just need to sit down and switch off technology, and relax. Other times it is time with family or friends. I also do enjoy eating out and I make time to schedule this in most weeks. Stepping out of the house (especially now with more homeworking) is so very important. It creates a better divide between work and self. And of course, it is always a chance to get a refreshing glass of wine with friends or family. Either way I do feel it is important to step away from work, get headspace and allow yourself time to give your brain and mind a rest from the busy workday.
You can find out more about Rachel and connect with her here.
Check out last week’s Meet & Greet interview with Swapi CEO Pete Howroyd who talks to myGwork about workplace equality and LGBTQ+ inclusion, and the importance of inspiring and ensuring that every voice is heard. He also shares some sound advice on setting up a start-up and his ‘hands-off’ leadership approach. Click here to continue reading.
Also, read our Meet & Greet interview with Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce Co-Founder Tammi Wallace who shares her career journey and ‘passion work’ for economic equality for the LGBTQ+ community, by clicking here.