#IWD2024: Why inclusivity is the lifeblood of Linklaters

Laure de Panafieu of Linklaters Singapore shares what inclusivity means to her and how organisations can do better to bring inclusivity to their workplace.
By: | March 7, 2024

International Women’s Day 2024 is celebrating the achievements of women in the workplace and across all aspects of their lives. With the theme of “Inspire Inclusion,” IWD 2024 aims to showcase how women in the workplace can help to widen the gaps between barriers that affect women and minorities within the workplace. In our special IWD 2024 coverage, HRM Asia spoke with women leaders to gain insights on how women can inspire inclusion within their workplace, and the role their organisations can play to create a more equitable and inclusive world for all.

Asia Head of Employment at Linklaters Singapore, Laure de Panafieu, looks after the firm’s Employment & Incentives Practice in Asia and has strong experience advising on complex and sensitive standalone employment and incentives issues, as well as on the employment and incentives-related aspects of major transactions throughout Asia-Pacific.   

Outside of work, she is also very active in spearheading DEI, mental health and wellbeing initiatives and often speaks at relevant conferences. She also happens to be the Co-Chair of MindForward Alliance Singapore, a not-for profit organisation whose vision is to create mentally healthy workplaces and inspire health creation in businesses. 

What does the theme of this year’s IWD, “Inspire Inclusion”, mean to you? What part of the theme resonates with you as an ambassador of your organisation?

Laure de Panafieu: Both words highly resonate with me. Why?

Inspire – we all need to be inspired. When we are, the world is brighter, our energy amplified, our creative thinking magnified and our capacity to embark others on this uplifting journey increased tenfold.

And when this virtuous cycle runs complete, it leaves us with an extraordinary sense of fulfilment. Because we know we have contributed to and achieved a greater good. 

Inclusion – the world we live in is at best sadly divided and at worst deeply fractured by the widening gap between the rich and the poor, exacerbated by the climate crisis and the tense geopolitics, all core ingredients for exclusion and isolation. In this context, it is incumbent on all of us to consciously and purposely think and act in “inclusion”.

The power of positive change lies in diversity. We must all come together, hear and learn from each other to create a better and sustainable world.

How can more organisations “Inspire Inclusion” within themselves to promote better, more efficient leaders and employees and reward them for their work?

Laure de Panafieu: My top three tips are as follows:

Make sure your leaders are role models: The tone does start from the top. Organisations won’t be attracting or retaining diverse talent if their leaders do not show the way on this inspiring inclusion journey. So that must be step one.

Think outside the box and challenge yourself: It is often daunting to venture outside our comfort zone, but that’s why it is so inspiring as well. And when the challenge consists in truly embracing differences, we come out a much better version of ourselves. So, let us all remember to do so, however inclusive we think we might be.

Be kind to yourself and others: And last, but certainly not least, in our ultra-competitive world, let’s not forget to be kind to ourselves and others. This is key to creating not just an inclusive or inspiring environment, but outperformance too.

What are some strategies your organisation has in place that befits the theme of inclusivity?

Laure de Panafieu: We frame inclusion as the “pulse” of our firm, firmly embedded in our culture and values. We are committed to creating a workplace where everyone feels proud to belong, focusing on concepts such as active allyship, psychological safety and inclusive leadership, and having in place various employee networks that celebrate our diversity and strive to create space for people to collaborate, educate and empower everyone to be their best.

READ MORE: #IWD2024: Cultivating inclusivity and diversity for women at work

For example, our Gender Equality Network is linked up across Asia and globally and focuses on inclusion, collaboration and empowerment across all genders. We also have formal male ally networks in place in Singapore and Hong Kong SAR, which are supported by external experts. The firm also celebrates International Women’s Day, this year’s activities include collaborations with clients, internal training, and mentoring walks around Asia.

International Women’s Day 2024 Features:

Cultivating inclusivity and diversity for women at workKaren Ng, Head, Digital Solutioning, ENGIE South-East Asia