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9/28/2020

Taking off – thanks to enthusiasm, team spirit and a strong network

Camila Kuhn, IT Consultant – Sales & Ordermanagement.
Camila Kuhn, IT Consultant – Sales & Order Management

This is also part of 2020, in spite of the pandemic: warm solidarity, sparkling creativity, courage and confidence, joy in working together and commitment to what is important to you. “It may sound a little crazy, but for our LGBTIQ+* Community ‘Be You @Beiersdorf’ it was really an inspiring year! We have pushed so much, much more than we had hoped for,” says Camila Kuhn, IT Consultant – Sales & Order Management and passionately committed to the group. “Our absolute highlight was, of course, our Pride Week #PRIDEINSIDE at the end of July, during which we carried out numerous activities here at our Hamburg headquarters and also in the city. It was great to experience not only the team spirit in the community, but also get the sympathy and support from the entire company. That carried us through everything that had to be considered and organized on top due to Corona prevention,” Camila continues.

Ralph Zimmerer (center, red sweater) with a part of the
Ralph Zimmerer (center, red sweater) with a part of the ‘Be You @Beiersdorf’ community at the launch event in November 2019.

From the very beginning great support for ‘Be You @Beiersdorf’

This success story began in the summer of 2019 with the idea among colleagues to create a community for LGBTIQ+. A founding crew was quickly formed and immediately received the full support of the Executive Board and the Beiersdorf Diversity & Inclusion Management. “Employee communities are a very important element of our work for diversity and inclusion in the company. We are delighted that this dedicated team has made LGBTIQ+ an important and visible part of our inclusive everyday company life,” says Thurid Kahl, Sales Director Shopper & Category Management, who, together with her colleague Julia Frankenberger, Global Marketing Director NIVEA Face Care, represents the current dual leadership of global Diversity & Inclusion Management at Beiersdorf.

Beiersdorf CEO Stefan De Loecker (front) at the opening of the #PRIDEINSIDE week.
Beiersdorf CEO Stefan De Loecker (front) at the opening of the #PRIDEINSIDE week.

“The tailwind provided by this official support from the top is one of the key factors for success, alongside the team spirit and bundled creativity in our network,” explains Ralph Zimmerer, Vice President NIVEA Brand Identity & Capability and co-founder of the community. “At our launch event in November last year, our CEO Stefan De Loecker and our Executive Board member for Human Resources Zhengrong Liu stood by our side. In video messages to all employees worldwide, they expressly encouraged everyone to support us in our activities. Stefan De Loecker also opened our #RRIDEINSIDE week this year – a very important signal and paving the way for our global rollout: Although we founded our community at Group Headquarters, we had many international colleagues on board from the very beginning, both in Germany and internationally. We are continuing to expand this and will now establish LGBTIQ+ groups in the Beiersdorf affiliates under our ‘Be You’ umbrella. Local communities will be able to address their needs even more specifically and at the same time build on the foundation of our work at headquarters,” Ralph continues.

NIVEA Creme in excellent hands: Björn Böge (left), Senior Brand Manager NIVEA Creme for Germany, and Thiago Machado, Global Senior Brand Manager NIVEA Creme.
NIVEA Creme in excellent hands: Björn Böge (left), Senior Brand Manager NIVEA Creme for Germany, and Thiago Machado, Global Senior Brand Manager NIVEA Creme.

The goal: A thoroughly inclusive company

The crew of ‘Be You’ sees itself as worldwide ambassadors for the diversity of the company. “Our goal is to create an environment for our employees, agencies and partners in which everyone, regardless of sexuality or gender identity, can make a contribution and feel free to talk about their own life situation and family structure,” explains ‘Be You’ member Thiago Machado, Global Senior Brand Manager NIVEA Creme. “It’s just good to be able to deal openly with your private life at work – and I’m glad that I can do it in my job. The warm and natural interaction among us colleagues is one of the reasons why I feel so comfortable at Beiersdorf and enjoy coming to work.”

As a visible community, ‘Be You @Beiersdorf’ is active both inside and outside the company to improve the understanding of LGBTIQ+ in the workplace and to break down unconscious biases and stereotypes. “We active members have organized our work in the individual areas in working groups. In addition, we have gained a lot of official ‘friends’ of our network, who have not taken over any tasks within the network, but who support us again and again and open doors for us. And the network is growing,” says Thiago. “This enables us to raise the organization’s awareness of LGBTIQ+ issues, hold events and promote positive changes in processes and guidelines – for example in recruiting, HR policies and onboarding. At the same time, we can maintain and expand our internal network and also get involved externally, such as with ‘PROUT AT WORK’, a foundation that promotes LGBTIQ+ in the workplace. We have also been working with ‘Queere Vernetzung Hamburg’ since our #PRIDEINSIDE and together with them offer workshops for employees and managers. Topic: ‘Sensitivity for gender and sexual diversity in the workplace’. This is how everything intertwines with each other.”

Together with the Beiersdorf brands for diversity, respect and tolerance

The work of ‘Be You’ also goes hand in hand with the messages of the Beiersdorf brands. This year, Beiersdorf’s icon NIVEA has made a widely visible statement with the rainbow special edition of the NIVEA Creme for the Pride season. Björn Böge, Senior Brand Manager NIVEA Creme for Germany and also active in ‘Be You’, and his NIVEA Creme team were part of bringing the highly regarded “More Togetherness” campaign to life in the German market. This includes the cooperation with Germany’s most famous drag queen Olivia Jones.

“With her commitment to diversity, respect and tolerance, Olivia fits in perfectly with our mission: We stand up for the uniqueness of every human being and for a welcoming togetherness in our society. I am very happy that we could win Olivia as an ambassador for our campaign. Our collaboration also includes our support for her ‘Olivia macht Schule’ project, in which representatives of the Olivia Jones family are educating school classes about diversity. We did not want to limit ourselves to a beautiful Pride tin edition, but would like to strengthen the work and acceptance of the LGBTIQ+ Community here in Germany with the promotion of this social project,” Björn continues.

Be You Logo

The NIVEA rainbow tin was naturally a key element of the #PRIDEINSIDE activities of ‘Be You’. “Our NIVEA Pride Bulli with rainbow branding was a real eye-catcher and a very popular photo motif,” says Björn happily. “The ‘Be You’ team toured our Hamburg plants and the Hanseatic city and gave away a total number of 10,000 NIVEA rainbow tins. Our colleagues from NIVEA Haus Hamburg also gave us great support during the #PRIDEINSIDE. They were super committed as ambassadors of our campaign and cooperated with ‘Be You’. This year, the NIVEA Haus was once again a rainbow-decorated crowd magnet. And the bike demonstration for the Hamburg Christopher Street Day also passed by NIVEA Haus. We are very happy that everything went so well and we are already looking forward to the Pride season next year. Hopefully then under more relaxed circumstances than now for the pandemic!”

And until then? “We will soon be back with ‘Be You’ activities within the company and with external partners,” reveals Björn. “It will remain exciting!”

* LGBTIQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intergender, queer and more

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Diana Lühmann

About the editor: Diana Lühmann

Since autumn 2019, Diana has been responsible for corporate communication related to HR and inspiring people at Beiersdorf. These include the areas of Diversity, Learning & Development, Career, Leadership, and Health. Previously, she was in charge of R&D Communications and explored the exciting world of our research and development.