pictured from left to right: The Honourable Ratna Omidvar, C.M., O.Ont. Senator for Ontario, The Senate of Canada, executive director and president of Maytree Foundation, until 2014, Dr. Caroline Harth, Aynur Boldaz, MD of Forever Clean GmbH
The Canadian government is a role model for how to live diversity and practice social responsibility in society, in politics, in education and in business. So, what is the status quo in Germany?
The German federal parliament passed guidelines for CSR reporting obligations. Since March 2017 large companies are required not only to produce financial balance and annual results, they are also required to disclose information on their social and environmental actions. For these companies it means that CSR has to be more than a lip service. The guidelines are not any longer a ´nice to have´. Instead CSR entered the German world of business and is taken seriously.
The majority of industry leaders and SME´s are aware of the facts. But not everybody knows how to manage diversity and CSR. Like many other tasks, these ones became part of digital leadership skills more and more.
I personally think this is the right way to handle it. The Canadians taught me. Canadian Maytree Foundation has chosen my client, Aynur Boldaz-Özdemir, MD of Forever Clean GmbH. a German cleaning business, to be considered as a showcase for leadership in terms of CSR and diversity and for successful migration in Germany.
When I met Aynur for the first time she told me of many questions asked by German press reporters about her business and how she succeeded doing both: being profitable and CSR conscious. I checked the press coverage and I could see what she meant. The narrative was a repetitive story of a young Turkish woman who is successfully leading a cleaning business, despite of her migrant background, her gender and her lack of any relevant university education. It was the usual superficial German view on migrants who made it into the business world and who are considered as a kind of miracle. How is it possible to do everything differently, in a supposedly „wrong way”, and yet be very successful at the same time? How did Aynur do it against all odds?
We rewrote the narrative. It came across that Aynur – without ever having visited the usual top universities to study Coporate Social Responsibility – achieved right her aim from the early beginnings of her small enterprise and made it her top priority.
With patience and hard work, she fostered a company culture where employees are extremely loyal, rarely call in sick, and execute their work with compassion and pride. This created a high customer satisfaction with the firms work results and frequent new referrals from those other customers.
Aynur lived the concept of diversity and CSR without knowing there is such a thing like CSR in business terminology. She lived it because she is a smart business woman. She is successful because she felt that diversity happens from the top to the bottom of her new firm.
Therefore we changed her PR strategy. With support of Maytree Foundation we produced a conference video where we told the story of CSR and diversity of Forever Clean:
When Canadian Maytree Foundation asked Aynur to contribute in the Berlin conference of Cities of Migration, hosted by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung, they didn´t care about the fact that she does not speak English because the participants had a simultaneous translation. This is her story in her own powerful words: