24 Jun 2019 02:32:18 PM

Lean In Malaysia: Embracing diversity and inclusion

Lean In Malaysia (LIM), named the Best Non-Profit Organisation at LIFE AT WORK Awards 2018, is an organisation that aims to empower women.

Lean In Malaysia educates, enables and empowers women, says co-founder and director Abir Abdul Rahim.
“We are a non-profit establishment that educates, enables and empowers women to harness their fullest potential, to be change makers for an equal world,” said co-founder and director Abir Abdul Rahim.

Named after the movement founded by Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) agenda is a core element of the organisation.

LIM co-president Daisy Ng said that in order for there to be D&I in organisations, the workplace needs to do away with labels when it came to their employees.
"In order for us to have true diversity where you have a dynamic of relationships in the same place, we actually need to be inclusive first.

“No walls, no borders, and everybody in the same group,” she said.

LIM embraces the D&I philosophy, having successfully roped in people of all ages, backgrounds, races, and religions to work with them.

Along with championing D&I, LIM also believes in flexible working arrangements.

For one, LIM doesn’t operate out of a building; members work remotely and stay connected through technology, an option that helps them to be more productive in their day-to-day tasks.
In order for us to have true diversity where you have a dynamic of relationships in the same place, we actually need to be inclusive first.
Also known as telecommuting, this form of Work-Life Practices (WLPs) allows LIM to execute their plans with greater efficiency.

“I think one of the success stories of Lean In is that we can connect and engage people remotely, without the buildings.

“This is because we strongly believe in empowering working culture,” said LIM co-president Becky Nguyen.

Head of partnerships Sangeeta Matu added that the work environment at LIM bears a lot of resemblance to start-up culture.

“We’re about three and a half years old and it is very dynamic,” she said.

“We make decisions quite quickly; we refine our ideas and develop them quite fast.”

Through their work, LIM hopes to bridge the gaps that may be barring skilled women from entering the workforce.

Lean In Malaysia operates without a building.
They regularly conduct Circle Dialogues where female leaders are invited to share their experiences in the hopes of inspiring young professional women and women who are looking to jump back into their careers after taking a break.

When asked what tips she could give these women, LIM director Sharmila Ravindran has this to say: “Network, brand yourself, have an identity, and reach out to other women and men who want to support the women empowerment agenda.”

* Lean In Malaysia took home the TalentCorp LIFE AT WORK Awards 2018 for Best Non-Profit Organisation. Submissions for LIFE AT WORK Awards 2019 are now open until 5 July 2019. For more information, visit www.lifeatwork.my

This article was first published in The Malay Mail.

The LIFE AT WORK Awards is the most comprehensive Diversity & Inclusion award framework in Malaysia. It recognises organisations that have championed the Diversity & Inclusion agenda. For more information, visit https://lifeatwork.my