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A truly inclusive workplace: Sharon's story

Published:
03 March 2020
Sharon Weintraub is ceo Eastern Hemisphere at the Supply and Trading office in Singapore. She started at BP’s Chicago office 15 years ago and also worked in London and Houston over the course of her career
Working across so many geographies, Sharon learnt to adapt to different ways of working. Through these experiences she has found that,
appreciating cultural differences in communications, adjusting your leadership style, and continuing to be inclusive are important for success.

Why BP?

 

Reflecting on her wealth of experience and what keeps her at BP, Sharon notes: “Having spent 30 years in trading, I would say that the best part is that every single day is different. Even though I no longer work on the frontline trading desk, every problem, every challenge, every day is unique.” Not only does Sharon enjoy the challenge, but also developing strong work relationships with her colleagues.

In my opinion, the people with whom I work on those challenges are some of the smartest, most talented, and most collegiate in the world. Everyone in the organisation is happy to answer any questions along the way and try to help you out. That’s very important to me – the meaningful relationships.

What does ‘balance’ mean to you?

 

To me, balance is not just about gender, but also diversity of ethnicity, experience, age, education – a balance of people and where they all come from. You can’t just have a single type of mindset or individual – you need good collaboration and respectful challenges from different perspectives. So, balance means having a mixture of people that give that rounded thinking and approach to problems and delivery.”

 

Sharon adds that another way to look at balance includes the way we manage our work and personal lives. “You can also interpret it in terms of work-life balance. If flexible is good for the business and works for the individual – it’s a success on both fronts and we should do more of that. That's balance.”

I am proud to say that the culture has evolved over the years, and it's been an intentional shift of the culture – we are continuing to work on that.

What does a truly inclusive workplace look like to you? 

 

There are many ways to create an inclusive culture, and for Sharon it is about allowing people to be themselves. She notes: “Creating a space, so that people can bring their whole self to work and contribute to their fullest. To me, that's what an inclusive environment looks and feels like - it's collaborative, it's respectful challenge, but it's also caring for one another.”

 

“When I first got to Asia, I was asked what I stand for. My strapline really connected into the values and behaviours of the organisation. Respect, excellence, safety, one team and courage - these are all related to the 3Cs: caring for people, collaborating as a team, and respectfully challenging each other.”

 

How do you promote balance in the workplace?

 

In her role, Sharon mentors individuals across the business and spearheaded the Accessibility Business Resource Group in the Americas, focusing on disability, both visible and invisible. “For me, driving this agenda is important because the way people overcome challenges and personal circumstance through creativity and resilience is just amazing. We have to keep bringing that talent to the workforce, because it's not represented enough.”