Profiles In Leadership

Showcasing diverse profiles within Ventera for Universal Human Rights Month

Stephen Schuessler

Product Owner

1. What does Universal Human Rights Month mean to you?

Universal Human Rights Month, to me, is a representation of the accumulation of all the different human awareness months and days, all rights movements, and all battles for equality and social justice.

Universal Human Rights, to me, is the antithesis to all workplace injustice, all societal and cultural injustice, and all acts of injustice around the world (including trafficking, forced labor, etc).

Universal Human Rights, to me, revolves around, at the core, the concept of “all.” We are all humans. We all deserve to be treated as such. We are all part of this world together. We all can and should work to build a world where this can occur.

2. Why is the human rights movement so impactful to you?

The human rights movement is impactful to me for a number of reasons. Now, I am not exactly the picture-perfect icon of the movement. I am a CIS, straight, Caucasian male. I have not faced a lack of human rights, nor am I likely even fully able to comprehend what that entails for folks who have faced this. But I do, however, love and cherish many individuals who are impacted by this. Whether it be through their experiences with workplace inequality, or their moments of concern for their own safety in situations where I would have felt no danger (due to my own skin color, gender, etc).

Human rights are impactful to me because I am a person who cares about people who are impacted. It is for those people, and for all others who are impacted that I hope the world can change.

3. How do you personally work with people to create or foster diversity, equity, and inclusion?

In my own team and in my own workplace, I work to create an environment of safety. I try to make all others I work with, regardless of gender, race, orientation, etc. feel comfortable in the workplace—to feel heard and understood.

I work to make others I work with feel valued. I try to be flexible with others in the workplace because everyone lives a different life outside of work and those lives cause us to be different people. Just because everyone is different in some way, doesn’t mean that we can’t be part of a team.

4. In what ways have your past experiences with DEI influenced how you approach your work, your colleagues, and the world as a whole?

I’ve worked under various leaders at this point in my career. The common trend amongst those who really were respected and cherished by their colleagues was a sense of placing the human element of a person above all else. For example, one leader in particular had a conversation with me along the lines of “if you don’t feel safe in a meeting or a situation at work, leave that environment, and then we can figure out how to go forward in a safe environment.”

Just the idea of a leader telling me to leave a work event if I felt uncomfortable was so mind-boggling to me. It really showed how much leaders can care for employees and co-workers, and some of the ways in which we can push for safe, equitable working environments.

These leaders and these mindsets have really impacted me. It’s played a huge role in me trying to treat all people I meet as humans, regardless of our differences.

5. What does it mean to you to have a commitment to diversity and inclusion? How do you think we can continue to support the need for social change?

I think having a commitment to diversity and inclusion is one of the most important things that can exist in a company. Bringing new mindsets and world views does nothing but good things for the workplace. It promotes safety and a human-focused workplace, it promotes increases in productivity and creativity, and just frankly makes for a place people will want to work at for a long time.

To continue supporting the need for social change? Honestly, I think Ventera is already the most progressive and impressive organization I’ve worked for. We have committees dedicated to this, special events and emails going out to alert folks of inclusivity events, and more.

To continue this trend, I think it’s important to keep on the trend. The world will continue to change and grow, and thus we should continue pushing for more involvement with employees, continue expanding the Spirit Committee, and continue to employ humans from all walks of life.

6. Tell us a fun fact about yourself!

I can throw a disc golf disc the length of a football field (over 400 feet)!

"We are all humans. We all deserve to be treated as such. We are all part of this world together. We all can and should work to build a world where this can occur."

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