Girl Crew in Vienna

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The Good News is that Diversity and Inclusion is good for business and will make you money. This was the opening line of the panel celebrating diversity and titled ‘Think outside the block’ at the Washington Elite Vienna blockchain summit organised by Bruce Porter.

The panel was hosted by Jillian Godsil, award winning journalist and broadcaster, and she was joined by CEO of Coras, a crypto algor trading platform Erin Grover and privacy and investment fund solicitor Ash Costello.

The panel first looked at the soft benefits of diversity – and while we know women are always right, including them in decision-making actually backs this up. There are a number of studies which look at decision making from different angles – including pitching a group of mediocre thinkers against one uber smart person – and the results come firmly down to cooperative diverse groups of people making better decisions.

Then providing better work balance regimes specifically to suit parents and mostly mothers of course has the knock-on effect of benefitting all employees providing more flexible working conditions whether employees have children or just enjoy time-intensive leisure activities outside of work.

Jillian had an experience of speaking with a diversity officer of a major hardware manufacturer. He argued against gender quotas as he said – ‘why promote a women to fail.’ Of course this is the exact opposite of what should happen, promote diversity and support it is the obvious course of action.

Erin quoted an example of the NYSE looking for female traders for its male dominated trading floor. The chair received an application from a smart woman of colour but with no trading experience. They hired her and trained her – and she is now one of their top performing traders proving that with support, diversity can and will succeed.

Ash then brought in the big guns. In recent studies by Credit Suisse, Nordia and McKinsey diversity and inclusion has been measured and proven to directly and positively impact on the bottom line.  Having gender diversity – namely having women in a decision making roles –  ups the profits by 21%. Include greater ethnic and cultural diversity and that profitability increase jumps to 33%.

Given it was a blockchain conference, it felt right to finish with a quote from Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba. He reckons his secret sauce was to hire women. Last century people compared muscle, this century it is all about wisdom.