Nyasha Dhitima joined IQ-EQ in March 2010 as a Client Services Accountant and is now Head of Fund Operations based in the London office. Here are some views from him about the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
What does diversity mean to you?
To me diversity means variety, difference. When I think of it in the workplace, it means including everyone from different social and ethnic backgrounds, different gender or sexual orientation, be it in job provision, promotions, career growth or simple things like being inclusive in social aspects, for example, being a member of a golf club. I am sure you can tell already, but I enjoy being a golfer when I am not working or spending time with my family.
What are the benefits to having a diverse workplace?
I like this question because I see it in practice here at IQ-EQ when I look at my teams and some of the teams I work with. I see the benefits of diversity in the variety of ideas. Diversity brings together different experiences which are good for working together.
I like to use the analogy of the fingers on our hands. Each finger can do something else the other can’t do; however, the same fingers work together when the hand needs to hold something. So, while each finger serves a different purpose, they all form part of the same hand.
I have been involved in hiring a lot during my career and, in my experience, when you have variety, you have a bigger talent pool to select from, which gives the chance to select the best people in the roles you are hiring.
Tell us about your career so far
Well, I have enjoyed my career to date. For someone who started out wanting to be a medical doctor at A Level, then changed paths to become a chartered accountant, it’s been a very interesting career. I have worked in different countries to date, including Zimbabwe (where I qualified as a CA), Bermuda (where I took an interest in the Alternative Investments Space) and the UK (where I have spent most of my career to date). From a life as an auditor, I changed sides to go into Fund Administration within Financial services, which I still do today.
My current role is Head of Fund Operations, where we provide Fund Services to Fund and Asset Managers across the different jurisdictions, which we serve from our London office.
What are the challenges to implementing D&I in the workplace?
This is an interesting question and can be answered differently depending on your view: as the leader who wants to implement D&I, or as one of the people who is looking for examples of D&I in the organisation. I am lucky to have experienced both, and currently serve in a diverse leadership team and work with diverse teams of my own across cultures and different jurisdictions.
From both views, there is the challenge of unconscious bias. We recently had training on unconscious bias, and I realised from the training how unconscious bias can easily affect our choices and how we make decisions, for example, selecting a candidate. I also noted, however, that my own unconscious bias can stop me from progressing, like believing that a certain position is not meant for you and suits certain characters. This is why I value such training because it equips you, both as a leader and team member regardless of your position.
Other challenges of implementing D&I in the workplace could be integrating across multicultural teams or different interest groups. This could be a challenge due to stereotypes and unconscious bias.
What do you like to do outside of work?
You may have already picked it up from earlier. I like to spend time with my family, and when they can let me get away, I like to play golf. I love being outdoors. When indoors, I like to play chess or FIFA with my son, and yes, I can sometimes beat him!
Why did you choose IQ-EQ?
I joined IQ-EQ when it was Augentius back in 2010. At that time, it was a natural extension of what I was experienced in, working in Financial Services in the Alternative Investments space. I soon realised that the company was a growing company that supported my career growth very well. The people I worked with over the years, and the progression I have made, meant my stay with the company has been most enjoyable. Easy? No. Challenging? Yes. Rewarding? Also, yes.
One of the highlights for me has always been that I always felt my views were listened to and the contribution I made has been recognised. Hence, I am still here and as motivated as I was 12 years ago!