#IWD2023: Inclusion should be a mindset for everyone

Evelyn Tay, VP of Comms, Sustainability and Public Affairs, foodpanda, highlights her focus on promoting employee wellbeing and sustainability initiatives.
By: | March 6, 2023

As the countdown to International Women’s Day 2023 continues, HRM Asia is celebrating the inspirational women who have broken barriers and achieved incredible success in the workplace. In our special IWD 2023 coverage, we spoke to women leaders who shared their thoughts and advice on how women can succeed in the workplace, and the role they can play towards creating a more equitable and inclusive world for everyone.

In this exclusive IWD feature, HRM Asia speaks with Evelyn Tay, VP of Comms, Sustainability and Public Affairs, foodpanda, as she discusses the challenges and opportunities for women in the workplace, and her advice for aspiring female leaders.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your responsibilities at foodpanda

I manage all aspects of communications, government, and public affairs, as well as sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes across the region. I have also served as the inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Board member for Delivery Hero, our global parent organisation. I joined foodpanda in mid-2020 to help build these functions during the pandemic, which highlighted the importance of rider and vendor safety and economic opportunities. On the public affairs front, we engage in deep conversations with government and public policy stakeholders and are establishing a more robust sustainability programme to flight climate change, such as exploring more electric vehicles usage and non-plastics-based packaging options.

How has foodpanda embraced gender equality and address challenges faced by female employees?

foodpanda prioritises diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) by understanding the evolving needs of today’s workforce and making policy changes accordingly. Today, we offer 20 weeks of paid maternity leave and four weeks of paid paternity leave per year, regardless of the child’s citizenship. We regularly review gender distribution for ratings and promotions and strive for equitable pay structures. Additionally, our Women at foodpanda employee resource group constantly seeks out ways to support and empower more women within our ranks to connect with each other, and we partner with Intellect to provide mental health resources to our employees, including unlimited coaching within the app. 

How can technology play a role in creating equal opportunities for women in the workplace?

Working in Silicon Valley in 2000, I witnessed women playing a significant role in the tech boom that built the industry today. From corporate leaders to venture capitalists and engineers, I worked alongside numerous inspiring women who taught me about the possibilities for women in tech. Returning in Asia in the mid-2000s, I saw many women-led organisations growing rapidly in the region, reinforcing my belief that hard work and bravery in making unconventional career choices lead to opportunities.

What inspires you to support and empower women to take up leadership roles?

Women leaders and managers who have inspired me throughout my career have taught me the importance of balancing performance with empathy and thoughtfulness. As a woman leader, I strive to be firm and considerate, always anticipating and mitigating challenges. I mentor younger team members by sharing my experiences and coaching them through different career stages, believing that mentorship is gender-agnostic. By contributing as an example to other women, I hope to encourage them to pursue opportunities confidently and chart their own career paths.

With #EmbraceEquity being the theme of IWD this year, what is your message to organisations when it comes to creating inclusive work cultures?

Investing in employees’ wellbeing is crucial for a productive and successful organisation. Employers should create avenues for healthier mental, physical, and social lives for their employees, acknowledging the pressures of fast-paced cities. To create a psychologically safe work culture, promote transparency and openness for employees to give feedback and leaders to accept criticism without negative consequences. Listening to employee feedback shows that the organisation cares and contributes to employee satisfaction and psychological safety. 

International Women’s Day Features:

Empower all individuals to embrace equity – Gillian Tan, COO, Jebsen & Jessen Packaging

Creating a gender-inclusive workplace – Lee Minjoo, Head of Marketing, Deliveroo Singapore

Uncovering bias the first step for inclusive workplaces – Alyssa Wang, Human Resources Director, Asia-Pacific, ADM

Ensuring equity and respect for all employees – Shylaja Bhat, Director HR Business Partner – Platform Foundation, HERE Technologies

Technology holds the key to achieving gender equity – Aisha Islam, Senior Vice President and Head of Customer Solutions Centre, Mastercard

Embracing equity and equality as cultural cornerstones – Patsy Ng, Vice President for Human Resources – Asia-Pacific, Hilton

Achieve gender equity by acknowledging the roles women play – Koh Yan Ping, CEO, Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO)