For the first time, prizes have been awarded to companies whose programmes achieved the greatest impact in support of a tolerant and open corporate culture
Budapest, 12 November 2019 – Business decision-makers and professionals from more than 10 European countries gathered in Hungary to participate in this year’s OPEN Conference, an international diversity event. This was the fourth time WeAreOpen has organised the OPEN Conference, an international conference dealing with diversity in the workplace, in Budapest. The two-day event attracted over 200 participants from more than 10 countries. Business leaders, as well as HR, marketing and communications decision-makers, came together to share with one another and the audience their experiences, best practices and future-oriented ideas about various business aspects of diversity, including its impact on increasing financial results, more successful product development, the search for new markets and the establishment of open workplaces.
OPEN Conference is more than just a conference
Organisers of the OPEN Conference stage the international conference in the hope of bringing together corporate decision-makers and professionals who view openness as an organisational value. Organisers believe openness is not only the right attitude, but also makes sense from a business perspective: open workplaces have been proven to be more successful, with happier employees, and attracting and retaining talent is also easier for companies espousing such values. The OPEN Conference was attended not only by decision-makers of large and small businesses, but also scientists, researchers and representatives of non-profit organisations, who shared their professional experiences. Like last year, WeAreOpen once again provided conference participants childcare service, as the organisation believes it is important for mothers and fathers to have the opportunity to join the dialogue about diversity and acceptance.
One of the highlights of this year’s OPEN Conference was the presentation of the international OPEN Spotlight Award, awarded for the first time to companies which have demonstrated an inspiring journey towards the establishment of a more diverse and tolerant corporate culture. Organisers called on companies to present submissions showcasing programmes and ideas which achieved original and significant impacts. The award recognised companies in several categories; shortlisted submissions were presented at the OPEN Conference, and will also be shared in coming weeks on the WeAreOpen website as well as on the website of the conference.
The keynote address at the event was delivered by Anke den Ouden, Microsoft’s regional director, who – among other topics – discussed how diversity and tolerance contribute to innovation within the company, and how teams bringing together individuals from different backgrounds may make a business more successful.
Kevin A. Murray, Citi’s CEO in Hungary and director for the Central European region, spoke about how storytelling may contribute to the establishment of an accepting workplace culture. As part of this, Citi presented its “Living Library” programme, based on a methodology which makes diversity more human-centred and thereby contributes successfully to the mitigation of subconscious biases.
Olga Kordys-Kozierowska, managing director of the organisation Success Written in Lipstick, and a well-known women’s rights activist in Poland, delivered a lecture about how men may also support equal opportunity within a workplace and beyond.
Judit Szűcs, communications director of Coca-Cola Hungary, presented the company’s #loveislove campaign, which was launched over the summer and takes a stance in support of LGBTQ+ persons. Judit Szűcs and other invited professionals also discussed why it is important for minority groups to be visible in advertisements, in the media and in popular culture.
The first day of the conference wrapped up with the OPEN Spotlight Award celebratory gala. This year’s OPEN Spotlight Award winners were announced at the evening event. The awards themselves are the work of sculptor Rebeka Rácz, a Hungarian artist.
The conference is not-for-profit: its proceeds support the operation and campaigns of the WeAreOpen nonprofit organisation.
Categories and Awardees
- Engine of Change: Individuals, who help make a company more open and diverse
Silver: BlackRock, Shell
Bronz: BT RoC
Special Mention: ExxonMobil
- Innovation through Diversity: How can diversity support innovation?
Special Mention: MOL Group – MOL Romania
- Mission Possible: How can diversity support a company’s business performance?
Gold: Magyar Telekom
Special Mention: SignCoders
- Excellence in Belonging: How can an open and inclusive organisational culture increase the sense of cohesion within a company?
Gold: Eaton Enterprises
Silver: MOL Group – INA
Special Mention: Nielsen, Telenor
- We see you here: What kind of change can be achieved if people, and those belonging to a minority group, are portrayed more realistically in the media and in marketing campaigns?
Gold: The Coca-Cola Company
OPEN Conference resumed on 7 November with workshops at the Budapest offices of Google and Morgan Stanley.
The OPEN Conference is sponsored by the following companies:
The conference was organised by WeAreOpen, founded by Prezi, espell and Google.
Principal sponsor: Citi
Gold level sponsors: CMS, Eaton, Morgan Stanley
Silver level sponsors: Genpact, Loffice, RTL Magyarország
Bronze level sponsors: Bitrise, Coca-Cola Hungary, Diageo, ExxonMobil, Microsoft
Additional sponsors: AMC, BP, Kristinus Wine Estate, Telekom, Grund Theatre
The WeAreOpen community initiative was launched by Prezi, espell and Google in the summer of 2013. WeAreOpen’s principal sponsor is Citi. In the past five years, more than 1,000 companies, organisations and communities have joined WeAreOpen, including Hungarian businesses, brands with a prominent Hungarian and international profile, and civil organisations and communities. WeAreOpen will be participating in Budapest Pride for the fifth time. It has also launched more than 20 other campaigns, including in support of gender equality at the workplace and equal treatment of people with disabilities.
Those joining the WeAreOpen initiative hold the fundamental belief that everyone is to be judged solely on the basis of their actions and achievements, without regard to their age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, national or ethnic identity and origin, political, religious or other views and physical or other factors.
Photos of the Open Conference and the Open Spotlight Award: Photos