Diversity & Inclusion

GLOBE Spotlight: Denise Francis on Accepting Differences

Denise Francis

As Nasdaq continuously strives to advance inclusive growth and prosperity, we spotlight Global Link of Black Employees (GLOBE), an employee resource group (ERG) for Nasdaq colleagues who have an affinity or interest in Black, African, African American and West Indian culture. We spoke with Denise Francis, a people strategy partner based in London, about joining GLOBE and her goals for the network.

What is your role at Nasdaq, and please describe what an average day looks like for you?

I’m a people strategy partner based in London. My role is to partner with managers to align their employees so that they can manage their business objectives as effectively and successfully as possible. I support all locations in western Europe and the Middle East, where there are representatives from all business groups. While some of the countries I look after have few employees, they make up for that by having quite complex processes, particularly in the case of labor law. This also means that I am always learning.

Working across businesses with such a wide and varied client group means that there’s no such thing as an average day for me. I interact with many departments and teams within the organization and participate in a plethora of activities, like dealing with relatively simple employee queries to more complex employment legislation matters, as well as consulting with employee groups and representatives in the case of a divestiture or an acquisition, and everything in between.

When and why did you decide to join your employee network group? 

I joined GLOBE shortly after its inception, and the remote working arrangements have allowed me to participate more actively over the past year. I have always worked within the corporate financial industry, and there has always been an underrepresentation of Black people. I’m glad to see that this is improving; however, much still needs to be done to ensure that we can also achieve recognition and benefit from opportunities for progression and development, and that we also feel that we are valued and belong not only at Nasdaq but also in the professional working environment in general. GLOBE supports those aims, and I wanted to contribute in whatever ways that I could to make that happen.

Please tell us about a memorable experience you had at your employee network group. 

A very recent memorable experience was volunteering as a co-lead for the U.S. Black History Month task force, where my fellow cohorts and I created a program of events to celebrate not only Black history and our rich and diverse culture, but also to recognize our professionalism, excellence, innovation and entrepreneurship. I was fortunate to host an event on men’s mental health with a U.K.-based expert in this field. After this event, we heard that this was not only informative, but it was also regarded as extremely relevant, especially due to the current pandemic and the other events that took place in 2020. Nasdaq President and CEO Adena Friedman mentioned this particular event at a company event on March 2, which was a huge boost and made me feel proud to be part of the GLOBE network.

As an ally of your employee network group, what is one thing you would like to tell others? 

I would encourage everyone to join a network that you have an affiliation with or that you are interested in learning more about. Membership helps with professional networking, but there are also a number of opportunities where you can contribute towards making a difference. I believe that raising our awareness and appreciation of diversity, inclusion and belonging (DIB) is not only beneficial for Nasdaq, but it is also critical for our own personal growth.

Why is discussing and advocating for diversity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace important? 

Talent is not restricted to one specific group of people. It is also more expansive than just academic qualifications or the school you went to. We need to be more open to attracting a wider representation of people and ensuring that we have the support mechanisms in place to invest in them so that they feel as if they belong, making them want to stay. Discussing and advocating for DIB in the workplace helps with engagement, as well as keeping this initiative alive and relevant.

What would you like to achieve at your employee network group?

On representation, I would like to see the number of under-represented minorities at Nasdaq increase in general, but particularly at the management and senior management levels. To that end, GLOBE is committed to encouraging all of its members to engage in more career development programs and is collaborating with a Talent Acquisition diversity team to support their efforts in attracting more people of color to the organization. 

Why is celebrating different representations in the workplace important? 

It is simply the right thing to do. We all need to be more open and willing to accept differences and recognize that this is a major contributor to making us stronger and more successful.

Is there a current events issue surrounding the group that you would like to share your thoughts on? 

The global protests following the George Floyd murder in 2020 have highlighted to the world that Black voices and Black representation are an important factor in changing the status quo.  It is no longer OK to settle for OK.  We need to recognize that, and we must continue to work hard to develop and position ourselves to take on those management and leadership roles because we have earned our right to be here and deserve the same consideration as everyone else.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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