What Diversity Means to Us

Maria Samoto le Dous
  • GENDER
  • GLOBAL

“Diversity and inclusion are the fertile ground for creativity and inventiveness”

Maria Samoto le Dous Manager of Sustainability in EU and Russia

From Diversity to Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion are fertile ground for creativity and inventiveness, hence it must be at the center of what we do at Fast Retailing. Diversity and inclusion are about giving value to every person, no matter our differences. Diversity simply describes a static reality, being different from one another, while Inclusion entails a willful action, a positive interaction among team members which is essential to a successful organization. In my opinion, it is only when we listen and embrace what is both common and different among ourselves, that we become smarter, more responsive, and a better organization.
Inclusion is not a one-time initiative, inclusion is a mindset. It must become the way we engage with others, it must become an integral part of the “FR WAY”; our corporate philosophy. Inclusion offers the chance to challenge and inspire one another for the better and is about making the world a better place for everyone. Inclusion cannot be a strategy to help employees fit into the current structures of our company. Instead, it must be about reshaping and creating new systems to make the Fast Retailing group more open and better for everyone.

Diversity & Inclusion initiatives in the EU

In our newly-opened market Italy, we decided to embrace diversity, creating an inclusive workforce prior to the opening, which included hiring staff with disabilities and also welcoming refugees to our team. To do this, we collaborated with a local organization to find suitable candidates, and held diversity workshops and training for managers to ensure we could create the right environment for all.
In Italy, UNIQLO is amongst the most inclusive companies and serves as an inspiration for other brands in the industry.
The team is truly happy for getting the opportunity to work with refugees and other disadvantaged people which has helped them to overcome some of their misplaced biases or prejudices.

Working together means we can influence each other positively

In my job I get to meet so many interesting people from diverse backgrounds. The people I meet have different ideas, they are all passionate about what they do and always challenge themselves and the status quo. The sense of positivity, excitement and never-ending challenges truly makes my job worthwhile. In turn, the more I push myself to keep learning, through interactions and by connecting with new people, the more it enables me to achieve. Sharing and putting knowledge into good use so that it can have a real impact on the lives of our customers is truly rewarding. In truth, we all spend so much of our lives at work, so if we can make a positive difference in someone else’s life, helping other people achieve their aspirations, then make steps towards making a difference.
My vision is that within the next few years, the word ‘sustainability’ will be engrained in everyone’s actions at Fast Retailing. It will not be a strategy or a mindset; it will be our business itself. My future aspiration is to reshape the Fast Retailing Group’s culture, so that all our employees will focus on the outcomes of our actions not only for our own gain, but also for the impact on our stakeholders, the environment, and society as a whole.