Living Diversity: Adam Menzies

Building an inclusive workplace together

Building an inclusive workplace together

Adam MenziesAdam Menzies

Director, Medical & Health Services at TÜV SÜD America

How do you live and practice diversity?
For me, the key is to make diversity a habit both inside and outside of the workplace. Whenever there’s a critical decision being made in the business environment, I prefer to give myself the time and space to really think it through on as many levels as I can. But you don’t always get that luxury – sometimes in business you just need to react, and those are the times when you need diversity as part of your muscle memory.

I have to say that consideration for gender diversity comes slightly easier for me thanks to having pioneering women in my family – my own mother was the first woman to be accepted onto a journalism scholarship in Scotland, and her mother before her really had to fight the system to be allowed to go to university. I hope their efforts have helped pave the way to improve things for my two daughters.

How do you encourage diversity in your team and get your directs to walk the talk?
As with many other aspects of business, accountability is key. My team and I are comfortable holding each other accountable to explain how diversity has been considered in key initiatives, and we are happy to send each other back to the drawing board if it’s been missed. Diversity and inclusion is just as critical a business practice as finance – we wouldn’t launch a project without scrutinizing the financials, and we should do the same for diversity and inclusion too.

Can you share with me an experience where you have seen the positive impact of having a diverse team?
Yes – for quite some time we’ve followed a traditional career development track where to get into management positions, you first have to work through becoming a top technical expert in your field. Just recently we’ve taken down some of those barriers to entry, and moved people from quite diverse backgrounds into leadership roles. The positive shift in team behaviors is starting to be felt and I’m excited to see how much further we can push that!

In your opinion and experience, what are some of the challenges for women to develop their careers to senior level (management or specialist) in TÜV SÜD?
I think the challenges for women at TÜV SÜD are pretty much reflective of the challenges women would face at many other companies – the persistent image people hold of a senior leader is still a 40+ white male. What I think sets TÜV SÜD apart is that we are an organization which has a deep-rooted common purpose of doing the right thing. Today, doing the right thing means ensuring that there is gender balance at all levels within the organization.

Our organization’s foundation in engineering and the fact that the percentage of female engineering graduates is relatively low works against us, but I see that changing – the diversification of our service portfolio means we are now looking for graduates in other disciplines such as biology and chemistry where women are better represented. We need to capitalize on opportunities to drive diversity in the organization, and that is certainly a goal we have for our bio/chem testing facility in New Brighton when it opens next year.

If there is one piece of advice that you would give to our female colleagues who wish to further develop their careers in TÜV SÜD, what would it be?
If you’re not getting the career development support you need, try reaching out to new people in the organization, even across businesses, divisions or regions – I guarantee there are people out there who will embrace the opportunity to support you.

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