This transgender CEO has a hiring lesson for all business leaders

As the CEO of Sweden's ICA Gruppen and an accomplished international businessman, Carl Farberger was high profile.

But that didn't stop him from telling his team in Sept 2018 that he would no longer be known as Carl. From that point on, he would be Caroline Farberger - the first openly transgender CEO in Sweden.

Since that day, Farberger has received significant praise from Swedish and international groups and media, noting her contributions to the LGBTQ community. In fact, she was named LGBTQ+ Person of Year in Sweden in 2019.

Farberger's contributions to business extend far beyond her glass ceiling shattering, however powerful though that is.

In a recent interview with DEI firm Boyden, Farberger talked candid about her journey and experience as an openly transgender CEO. Most impactful in the transcript is this piercing quote about what we still don't quite get about the differences between diversity and inclusion:

"Those two words are usually put together, but they are indeed different. It's easy to target diversity as such. Meaning, essentially, that you make sure that you can provide good statistics in having employees on your roster. That's the easy part.
The more difficult and more important parts are the inclusion pieces. Inclusion means that you are able to harness the benefits of having a diverse workforce. This means letting people come to the table and then listening to them, letting them influence decisions, and not just employing them. That is more difficult, because it requires people longing for the norm, typically white, middle-aged males, to change their behaviors and start listening to others."

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