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 practise 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 list of things it would be “nice to have”. Instead, CSR entered the German world of business and it is taken seriously.
Diversity in the German industry – a success story
The majority of industry leaders and SMBs are aware of the facts. But not everybody knows how to manage diversity and CSR. Like many other tasks, these issues became and increasingly significant part of digital leadership skills.
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 that sees migrants who made it into the business world as some kind of a miracle. How is it possible to do everything differently, in what is supposedly the “wrong way”, and yet be very successful at the same time? How did Aynur do it against all odds?
Re-writing the diversity narrative
We rewrote the narrative. It came across that Aynur – without ever having visited the usual top universities to study Corporate Social Responsibility – achieved her aim right from the early beginnings of her small enterprise, and made CSR 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 event had simultaneous translation. This is her story in her own powerful words: