Well, well. After more the 20 interviews with working mothers that I have conducted, here I’m finally interviewing a working dad. 

The first time I met Martin was in 2018 when we invited him to a monthly Professional Women’s Group event. His speech about “Women empowering themselves” was very personal and inspiring. For the first time, Martin was telling us why he became a gender-equality champion. 

While selecting the speakers for the PWG- Tamedia conference – The Rise of Diversity – we searched men who really are championing diversity in the workplace and who are committed to the gender quality cause. Martin’s name was the first to come up, of course.

When we discuss topics such as gender equality, working mothers, and supporting women’s careers, we have to take into consideration two elements.  One is the women`s partners at home (mostly men), and the second are the managers supporting women’s careers at work (mostly men as well). Saying that, it is only natural that we need the support of men both at home and in the workplace to be able to succeed in our careers. 

Sitting in front of me I have a man who strongly believes in gender equality. Martin Grieder, who has 25 years of work experience in the food and medtech industries, he is not only a senior manager in a big corporation, but also a conscious father and attentive partner who has realized that diversity in the workplace and gender equality in business and at home are fundamental elements for a healthy society. 

Thriving Diversity in the Workplace

Martin is very proud to tell me that he currently has a very diverse team with more woman on his management team than men. He explains to me that his awakened consciousness about diversity and inclusion makes him think differently and this has truly impacted his way of thinking, leading him to making his best hiring decisions. 

Martin: “I want the best talents around the table- people who challenge me and make me think in a different way. Diversity enriches the discussion in all levels and it is not only good for the team but for the business as well. It happened that my team is the most diverse, because the best talent I recruited lately were all women.” 

Studies and research (check here, here and here) show that diversity leads to better business performance. For Martin, the crucial point is to be surrounded by the best people. 

M: “The more you learn how to thrive with diversity, the number of talents around you in the organization will grow.” 

Not only does he support diversity, but in terms of inclusion, he believes that workforce culture could be more flexible and adaptive to people’s needs, especially for working parents. Talking about part-time, job-sharing and other working options, Martin encourages men to take advantage of their paternity leave and even reduce to 80% if the family need it. 

The Conscious Father 

One of the most moving parts of our discussion is when Martin describes the moment he had his wake-up call and his consciousness about gender equality started to rise. At the end his first marriage, he understood the fragility of a stay-at-home mother after a divorce. Not only this, but he also understood the power of role models for our children: 

M: “My epiphany moment was when I asked my twelve-year-old daughter what she wanted to do has a grown up. She replied that she wanted to become a mom and stay at home with her children. I was shocked. How can it be that she didn’t have a bigger dream? Then I realized, this was the model she was seeing at home. Nothing against the stay-at-home mothers, but I thought a little girl should have additional aspirations alongside of raising children. From that moment, I committed myself to teach my daughters that there is more, and  show them all sorts of options they could have for their future.” 

Martin is raising his four children, especially his two daughters, to not enter into the typical women’s stereotype. In term of education, STEM is his mantra, because now, and more and more in the future, jobs are gravitating around Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. 

An Inspired Leader 

M: “I dream of a world where women and men are eye to eye, at the same level overall, both at work and in the family. I strongly believe that the key for a good relationship is that both partners are emotionally, financially and socially independent, both empowered to do what they think is best for them and their family.”

I could not agree more, and I’m sure many couples today are living by this advice. Still, it is great to hear those words. A last bit of advice for the men who are willing to follow the path? 

M: “I encourage men to be more engaged at home, sharing more household tasks and family responsibilities. Men need to support their partners to reenter the workforce after having kids. Too often women stay at home after they become mothers and this solution is not good for business and diversity at the workplace ” 

We continue our interview speaking about the upcoming conference, debating on why we still are speaking about “The raise of diversity” in 2019, despite diversity and inclusion being concepts that have been around for quite a while now. We both see the importance of keeping up the discussion about how the workplace needs to adapt to current lifestyle choices, and what we as individuals can do to contribute to that. Martin is convinced that all we do at the workplace to accommodate and empower woman will ultimately also benefit men to be more connected with their children and engaged at home.

Energized and inspired by this talk, we leave the interview knowing that we are going to continue this discussion with another 200 participants at the conference on the 30thof March

Looking forward to meeting you there! 

Foto Credits: Natalie von Harscher, Styling and Make up: Parisi Premium Style , Visuals and logo:  BrandSpace

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