Isabelle Hoyer (she/her)

Diversity is a fact wherever different people come together.

Isabelle Hoyer is a company founder and entrepreneur who has been promoting equality and diversity in the workplace for over ten years. With Employers for Equality, she and her team offer companies a unique diversity education program and work with the most renowned experts. As co-founder of the PANDA Women Leadership Network, she already brings together around 4,000 women leaders. She is a consultant to companies looking to change their culture to create equal opportunity for all employees, as well as a speaker, facilitator and mediator. As a mother of two adult children, Isabelle is also passionate about education and creating modern work environments and role models.

Who are you and what do you do?

I am Isabelle, founder of two social businesses dedicated to the issues of equality and diversity in the workplace. I’ve been doing this for over ten years now. I love being able to contribute to change, constantly learn new things and develop myself in these topics. I’m also a mother of two soon-to-be-grown children, who have kept me at least as busy as my startups over the past few years.

If you could change one thing in Germany immediately, what would it be?

I would conjure up nationwide, high-quality state childcare that would run smoothly starting tomorrow.

What does diversity mean to you personally?

Diversity is a fact wherever different people come together. Different stories, experiences, perspectives and therefore: different needs, positions and interests.

You founded a women's network for female executives back in 2012. What has improved in Germany in the last 11 years?

Phew. Just the other day at one of our events, I told you that “back then,” at the beginning of PANDA, when asked about my personal motivation, I often answered: “I want my kids to find a different working world when they start their careers.” Now my son is already in there, in the working world. Has it become significantly different? Well. What has changed is the presence and urgency of the issues of equality and diversity for companies – that has absolutely increased. But the actual change still takes longer.

With your second company, Employers for Equality, you advocate for gender diversity and equal opportunities in German companies. What 3 recommendations do you have for companies that are still in the early stages of diversity?
  1. Humility: none of us has reached our goal yet. We all have blind spots, insufficient sensitivity and knowledge.
  2. Willingness to learn: talking to those who matter. Listening, accepting, self-reflection.
  3. Conflict competence & error culture: different needs and interests lead to friction. This is exhausting, but can lead to improvement of the situation – if we learn to deal with it constructively. And: We will not always get everything right (immediately). Well-intentioned and well-done are often different things. Keep learning, keep listening, keep changing.
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