Ruebik ignites the conversation about successful leadership and D&I initiatives with Memoria Lewis – CEO and interim leader experienced in international business development, transformation and strategy.
Memoria has worked globally for a variety of organisations including not-for-profits, professional services organisations, and global membership bodies. She spent 13 years at the Stanford Research Institute, representing the globally recognised think tank across Europe, South Africa and Eastern Canada, and also has over six years of experience in tech-led and clean tech space. Memoria specialises in delivering strategies that increase engagement and maximise influence.
Memoria champions diversity and inclusion as she firmly believes it enables people to be their best, which in turn drives innovation, creativity and performance.
- Is there something unique about the way in which you were brought up which has impacted your leadership style?
Most definitely. My parents, who were academics, instilled in me a love for learning and problem solving, which I have carried with me to the workplace. Leadership should foster and facilitate a learning environment – I know I have learned so much from my team members, who are experts in what they do and how their world has shaped them. Work is a hugely important part of our lives, and whatever career path one chooses, they should be open to constant self-education and evolution.
- What three leadership qualities would you deem as the most important ones for success?
- Curiosity – ask questions, listen and be open to change which, if embraced with purpose and courage, can provide a path for genuine progress and innovation.
- Empathy – lead with care and humanity. Each of us wants to do well and develop our unique potential; leaders should provide a safe environment for growth.
- Passion – bring excitement and genuine intent to what you’re doing.
- What is the best piece of advice you received that helped shape your career?
Recognise and build on your strengths – while we can all develop skills in areas where we are weak, we each have natural gifts that we can build on to make us experts in areas that we love.
Also, build confidence and self-belief. If you can do 70% of the job that you have passion for, take a leap and put yourself forward instead of only going for opportunities that match your skills 100%.
- Following the global events of last year, can you name an outstanding initiative or organisation as moving the dial forward in D&I conversation?
I must confess that in the thick of the pandemic, I was running very hard and was probably blinkered to some of the stellar work being done. For our part, we celebrated International Women’s Day in a significant way by showcasing our excellent role models from across the globe and celebrating their genuine approach to leadership.
On the world stage the launch of BLM movement woke a lot of people up. Though I will never condone violence, I think that the movement has started conversations that might not have happened otherwise. Positive action and honest role models are what everyone is craving. These people are starting to surface and improve the wider society’s understanding of the D&I challenges.
- What is your perception of the recruitment industry and the commitment to drive inclusive hiring?
A positive move! I have been an advocate for gender equality for as long as I can remember, and there is still a huge amount of work that needs to be done. I fully appreciate that this is only one aspect of the D&I conversation and therefore fully support greater dialogue and understanding; the recruitment industry are very well placed to help challenge traditional thinking and drive change.
- As a role model in your field, what career advice would you share with somebody who aspires to follow in your footsteps?
Embrace change, be intellectually curious, be passionate about the paths you take and be supportive of those who share the journey. It also may mean not taking the easy option. If you’re not at least a little bit frightened when you take on a new role, you will not push yourself forward.
Ruebik are on hand to help your organisation assess and improve your policies and procedures in order to cultivate a sustainable, inclusive culture. If you’d like to have a no-strings-attached chat about how we might be able to help your company or organisation, get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org!