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Polarisation or (re)connection? It's your call

Going beyond what divides us and finding what connects us, at the kitchen table, in the workplace and in society.

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True inclusion is about going beyond what divides us and looking for what connects us. This world is full of polarisation. Ongoing geopolitical conflicts, important elections across the globe, top down leaders taking the front in more than one country, ... This world is full of connection. There are over 1 million volunteers in Belgium, companies working on more inclusive workplaces, youngsters driving societal change, managers moving towards a shared leadership style...   

Both statements are true. The question is: what do you focus on? You have to make a conscious choice every day. Will you focus on polarisation or focus on reconnecting with other people? 

In this talk Elke shares loads of hands-on ideas to reconnect, at the kitchen table, in the workplace and in society. Based on the insights from her 25 years career working for over 100 companies in the public and private sector, her experience as a mum of 5 in a blended family and her interviews for her Dutch podcast Bindstof.

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In her vision of diversity, equity, and inclusion, Elke encapsulates her philosophy succinctly: "Don’t fix the people, fix the culture." She believes that inclusive leaders play a pivotal role in making diversity work within organizations. They view diversity as a growth opportunity for the company, embracing challenges posed by differing perspectives and actively seeking diversity within their teams. Understanding that inclusion is not solely an individual responsibility but a collective endeavor, Elke has developed a model comprising five drivers, initially introduced in 2019 as part of her INSEAD Gender Diversity Program. In her podcast, she elaborates on her recipe for cultivating truly inclusive workplaces.

Having shared her vision on inclusion through over 150 keynote talks and leadership workshops, Elke has assisted numerous companies in identifying their next best steps. In 2024, she launched the Dutch podcast Bindstof, featuring interviews with inclusive leaders across society, focusing on fostering connections beyond differences.

Elke emphasizes the importance of creating awareness throughout organizations, identifying and transforming barriers for diverse talents into accelerators, and holding leaders accountable for change. Drawing from global best practices and the real-life experiences of hundreds of leaders, her solutions for inclusive leadership are rooted in tangible successes.

Recognizing persistent barriers faced by women in non-inclusive workplaces, Elke founded Fierce Ladies in 2012, a platform where women support each other's growth. Through initiatives like role model talks, growth academies, and international retreats, Fierce Ladies aims to dismantle systemic barriers and empower women across sectors and generations.

With a rich professional background spanning stakeholder engagement, corporate communications, public relations, and public affairs, Elke has collaborated with leaders in various spheres, including Microsoft, HP, and SBS media group. She has shared her insights on numerous conference stages and is a co-author of the book "Who run the world, the power of female leadership." As of April 2022, Elke serves as President of the Board at VDAB, the Flemish agency for employment, driving initiatives for an inclusive job market.

At home with her husband Jo, Elke endeavors to foster inclusivity within their blended family of five children aged between 18 and 30, with the excitement of welcoming their first granddaughter soon. They believe that respecting and embracing the diversity of personalities and talents around their dinner table is fundamental to their children's growth. For Elke and her family, inclusivity is an ongoing journey of learning, with each day presenting new opportunities to cultivate inclusiveness.

Elke Jeurissen

Entrepreneur, Community Builder (Inclusive Leaders Connect, Straffe Madammen, 72Hours Reload), co-author of 2 books, (step)mum of 5.

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