Snowberry was delighted, says Founder, Soraya Hendesi to sponsor M2woman’s Journey to Excellence Forum, about gender diversity in business.
“Women are under-represented everywhere in business and I don’t believe that’s right and I certainly believe it is to the detriment of business in a number of ways. I started Snowberry and so could employ people in the way that best-suited my purpose, and perhaps there’s a lesson in that too. More women should start businesses! We’re good at it and we bring equal skills and abilities to the market. It’s also, very exciting and personally fulfilling.”
Soraya accepts that being an entrepreneur is not for everyone, but she says, that means she does feel a responsibility to ensure that gender diversity in her business is a reality. So, what does gender diversity mean at Snowberry?
“It has always been my view that diversity is about ethnicity as well as gender. Consequently, we have employed men and women of Maori, Samoan, Chinese, Filipino, Indian, and Ukrainian ethnicity, and of course, I am Persian.”
Snowberry is not a large enough team to talk about diversity in percentage terms, in the way one might with a larger organisation, but at present, more than three quarters of Snowberry’s people, are women.
Does gender diversity help in Snowberry’s business?
Again, she says, Snowberry is clearly different from many other manufacturing businesses. “We are creating anti-ageing skin care, largely for women, so it follows that women must have an important contribution to make in everything we do, from thinking about formulations and products, to the feel and fragrance – and in the way we communicate with our customers. But that’s not the whole story. Many roles are technically challenging and because we put so much store by advanced skin science, we must also ensure that we have the person(s) best qualified to fill the role.”
Soraya points to the fact that Snowberry’s chief formulator is Dr Travis Badenhorst, simply because his qualifications were the best fit for Snowberry’s research and development programme. However, Travis is now very ably supported by Alina Antony, Snowberry’s Quality Assurance person, an Indian who holds a MPhil in Applied Sciences and a Masters in Biotechnology.
“Whether it’s true or not, I wonder if enough young women are obtaining science qualifications. That’s another issue of course, but with the best will in the world, no employer can appoint someone to a science role who doesn’t have these qualifications.” Snowberry produces premium, natural anti-ageing skin care. It is fair to say, Soraya says, that Snowberry products are very much an outcome of genuine gender and ethnic diversity.