Diversity & Inclusion at Vortexa

Diversity & Inclusion at Vortexa

Vortexa colleagues share their thoughts on diversity, intertwined with personal stories, and discuss what a diverse workplace should look like.

08 September, 2020
Jessica Irvin
Jessica Irvin, Head of Operations & People

“Strength lies in differences, not in similarities” – Stephen Covey. 

At Vortexa, our people have always been our strongest assets. The diversity in background, interests and capabilities have empowered us to build a team of exceptional individuals that carry us from strength to strength.

“Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance,” Verna Myers

Establishing team diversity is of paramount importance, but the benefits of nurturing such a dynamic team can only be realised if individual differences are welcomed, encouraged and highly valued.

We will only achieve our milestone successes through celebrating diversity and fostering an inclusive culture; whereby all colleagues are treated equally, carefully listened to and each afforded the same opportunities to flourish within their individual roles.

As Head of People, one of my core responsibilities is to ensure Vortexa is a richly rewarding environment not only for our current team members, but also for our new joiners. My goal is to ensure every individual feels immediately welcomed into the fold from their very first day.

Cultivating a happy and healthy working environment goes beyond offering free fruit, amazing coffee and weekly socials, (although we do offer all of the above at Vortexa!) Our company ethos is grounded in ensuring every single person can recognise that there is treatment equity at every level, across every specialism, irrespective of when someone joined the team.

We’ve worked hard to establish diversity and inclusion as the foundational elements of our workforce, but we will continually strive to build upon our shared values and remain mindful of any improvements that we can execute.

‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ Martin Luther King 

One of the most challenging, yet critical lessons for everyone to grasp when it comes to discussing diversity, inclusion and equity is recognising that striving to ensure everyone feels included, is an on-going continual process.

There is no final destination where one can alight and conclude that all that needs to be done has been completed. Promoting a culture of diversity is a philosophy that is never finished; it’s a continual learning process and journey everyone must contribute to to enable Vortexa to evolve and grow as a company.

In words much more eloquent than mine, members of the Vortexa team have shared their thoughts on what diversity means to them and how it impacts their roles.

“We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.” Maya Angelou

Gustavo, Head of Predictions and Market Modelling

If all my grandparents and great-grandparents were to magically stand before us now, it would be quite a diverse crowd to behold: Japanese, white Portuguese, black Brazilian, white Brazilian (probably of Dutch descent), and an Amerindian.

The end result of this particular bunch was me and my sister… and our perennial struggle to tick the most appropriate box under “Race” in registration forms (“Mixed, not easily definable”? “None of the above”?). In Portuguese, there is a handy word to define our race: ‘mestiço’, which roughly translates to “mixed.” Luckily for Brazilians, this term is all-encompassing; once you define yourself as mestiço it obviates the need to specify exactly which of the thousands of blends of “mestiços” that make up most of the Brazilian population.

So, I am a mestiço born in Brazil of a Japanese mother and an equally mestiço father. Being a child of immigrants, I inevitably became a serial immigrant myself and hopped from country to country almost on a whim. Living in different societies has helped me become cognizant of the diversity and power of cultures, of people living and breathing common values and assumptions without always being aware of them. I have learned to understand and be tolerant of values and viewpoints I may not share, while at the same time, borrowing freely from those that I liked and making them my own. Thus I have changed over the years as I allowed different cultures to mould me into the person I am today.

When I joined Vortexa still in its infancy, I found a small group of people with whom I shared common values;  tenacity, openness, willingness to learn, readiness to help, ambition to make a difference, and a belief in the transformative power of technology. I also found that, despite the small size of our team, we were very diverse in our ways of thinking and in our approach to solve problems. Our common values kept us united even during difficult times, and we turned our diversity into our major strength and asset.
From the beginning we have listened and learned from each other’s viewpoints, and were happy to accept each other’s ideas as being superior to our own when presented with the logic or evidence. I strongly believe that Vortexa’s core values together with the diversity of skills and ways of thinking of our colleagues have been a major determinant to our company’s success.

As Vortexa grows in three different continents and new colleagues join us from all around the globe, I am ever more eager to learn from their diverse viewpoints and bring our brains together to tackle difficult problems. Let us continue to foster Vortexa’s culture of openness and collaboration, and nurture an inclusive workplace that thrives on a multiplicity of intelligent, focused minds.

Sophie, Head of Marketing & Design

When I joined Vortexa, the team was already very multicultural which I found to be both exciting and very representative of London. Friday drinks are particularly fun (both live and digital), with people often sharing stories highlighting the uniqueness of their countries of origin and upbringing. I feel as though everyone is curious to learn about where I’m from (Australia), my experiences, and my views on things like gender equality, as I am of their stories and views. I really enjoy the openness we have within Vortexa as it brings us all closer together both in our day to day work and socially – it’s a very respectful environment. Having different perspectives, which are driven by people’s unique backgrounds and experiences, makes us more interesting and effective as a business.

Working in diverse teams means bringing together people from all walks of life, including age, origin, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, education, previous experiences and more. There’s so much value to be gained from people solving problems from different perspectives. Empathy and an awareness of the fact that people experience the world through different lenses, strengthens both marketing and design, in fact, it’s fundamental. It can help us to create robust user experiences for our customers, tailor our marketing appropriately to different markets and be more thoughtful of the messaging that defines us as a collective team and brand.

Serena, Lead Market Analyst, APAC

Diversity is about embracing and celebrating differences of all nature among individuals. It allows people to share their experiences, thoughts and beliefs openly, to feel like they belong  and are integrated with their community. I value the diversity that we have in Vortexa, where we celebrate each other and utilise our differences to create better solutions for the business.

Nat, Data Analyst

Working at Vortexa there is natural diversity as a result of the different types of people that work there. I feel diversity is critical to success as once you view everyone as equal, you will only end up hiring the smartest and most driven people.

One of Vortexa’s core values is togetherness, this means that everyone who works here is open to other cultures. We all value interacting with people of various backgrounds as it helps to broaden our collective knowledge.

For example, the team I am a part of consists of colleagues from different parts of Europe. We all have different talents, skills and experiences which help to forge more innovative and creative ideas. The openness of my colleagues has created a welcome and sharing environment, which fosters collaborative working practices and has helped me learn so much within the past year.

Toni, Senior Commercial Analyst

To me, a culture that values diversity is what sets great companies apart from ones that are just good. When you give a diverse set of people a voice at the table, it effectively gives you a competitive advantage by having differing points of view and ideas flowing in.

I’m extremely lucky (and proud!) to be working closely with a team that exhibits diversity at all levels, but seeing that diversity start at the top, in leadership, is really encouraging to me. 

As we have people from different backgrounds, countries, and genders giving ideas, coming into work is exhilarating because I feel like I’m constantly learning. I’m confident that Vortexa’s growth will be buoyed by its emphasis on diversity, and it’s really exciting to get to be a part of that. 

Conor, Product Specialist

To me, diversity represents a sense of what normalcy should be around much of the globe, especially in the United States, a country built by the very idea of migration. As the massive world we live in continues to get smaller and smaller over time, to be surrounded by people of different backgrounds, ethnicities, colours and accents, representing different ideas, opinions and values, promotes not only tolerance within a society, but success. Success as human beings, , means feeding off of each other and supporting those around us to move towards the common goal pursuing  a happy and healthy life. To me it’s simple, as our massive world continues to shrink, the separation between diversity and so called “normality” should also.

Paulo, Head of Market Intelligence

When I came to London I had already lived in three other countries and travelled quite a lot, but I found it to be the most diverse city I had known. Daily contact with so many different cultures was exciting and it fed my creativity. At first as a passive observer, I simply enjoyed the diversity for itself. But over time I learned that the groups I work with actually achieve more because of the varied backgrounds and cultures. Compared to my years of working and living in New York and California, I found that engaging with such cultural variety led to better results and a happier life. Discovering this led me to actively seek out diversity for the benefit it brings to work endeavours, but also for the simple satisfaction it brings.

Seeing recent events unfold in the US has been shocking but also served as a valuable reminder that there are still many parts of the world and society that live with institutional discrimination – whether it’s based on nationality, age, race, gender, sexual preference. On a human and moral level none of it is acceptable or excusable.

Th Black Lives Matter movement has pushed the issues of inequality under the global spotlight. The movement has reminded me that it’s not good enough to simply be fair, equitable and kind to others. As a society, we must go one step further and I, (and hopefully everyone else), should be taking an active stand to put an end to institutionalised discrimination everywhere.  Silence on the subject is tacit consent for hatred and we all stand to benefit from an end to all forms of discrimination.  I’ve been very proud to work with some outstanding teams in my life but none quite so much as the team I now work with at Vortexa. The inclusiveness and diversity that we foster inspires me daily and I hope other companies, and individuals, embrace diversity deeply to see the benefits it brings to their performance and overall happiness.

Emma, Senior Communications Executive

After my first week at Vortexa, I felt as though I had been there for months – (in a good way!) The entire team went out of their way to make me feel exceptionally welcomed and valued. I met with several people within my first week, each hailing from a multitude of varying backgrounds; yet the common thread uniting them all was the warmth and energy they emanated.

I was even able to pick up on the people-centric culture before even joining. Every single interaction with this company, from interviews through to onboarding, made me feel like a valued and respected candidate and then an included and appreciated colleague.

Vortexa has one of the strongest company cultures I have experienced to date, because I was able to tell how proud they are of the dynamic mixture of people they have working for them. Vortexa makes no secret of the fact that they attribute all of their successes to date to their people. Teams are celebrated, fresh ideas encouraged and everyone welcomed from their very first interaction. I am proud to have joined such a friendly company, because a positive environment, means happy staff and happiness makes for very fertile ground for exceptional successes to bloom.

Statement from Fabio, our CEO

When you genuinely look for the very best group of people in the world, you naturally build a diverse team as top talent and experience comes from every walk of life – and once they come together, their diversity becomes their greatest strength as a group.

I am proud to lead a company in which we celebrate each other’s unique backgrounds and collectively elevate our thoughts as individuals. A place where people truly feel inspired to create a better future for the energy industry together.

Jessica Irvin
Head of Operations & People
Jessica Irvin
Jessica is Head of People & Operations at Vortexa and is responsible for hiring, learning & development, culture, engagement, performance management and leading expansion plans.