Sharon McKimm – General Manager,Andovar

  • Sharon McKimm has had a varied and trans-Atlantic career in publishing, philanthropy, and non-profit sectors; but none as rewarding as the 22+ years’ experience in the multi-cultural and stimulating localisation industry.

    Although a former New Yorker from the Bronx, Sharon enjoys life in Ireland and thrives on the Irish obsession with sunshine. In her role as General Manager for Andovar, Sharon enjoys the challenge of establishing the Dublin Office.

    Presentation title: Recognising Unconscious Bias (Racism) in Your Business

    We all have heard about the
    recent Starbuck’s arrest which has become the poster child of the consequences of unconscious bias.  Social media featured the video of two Black friends being arrested after a store manager called the police. They had been arrested because they were sitting in the store without placing an order while waiting for a third friend to arrive. They had also been barred from using the bathroom while they waited. No matter your opinion of the incident, the public relations nightmare that loomed for Starbucks was obvious to everyone.

    It is a modern day example of social dialogue about race and its implications for businesses everywhere.  So, it’s important to understand: what made this a racist incident?  Would it surprise you to hear that there were others within the store who had been there for hours without having purchased any coffee and who also had used the bathroom? So yes, there are issues which need to be addressed if your business treats customers differently based on preconceived ideas of race and cultural bias.

    In this age of global business dealings, what does it mean to be politically correct and to be observant as well as respectful of cultural differences?  What is the impact of cultural awareness on the corporate and business ethos of your organisation? 

    There are steps all business could take in order to nudge learned behaviours from the unconscious to the conscious.  Taking cultural respect and awareness to the next level can avoid the hefty price tag of perceived racism. This talk will admittedly only scratch the surface of defining unconscious bias, but it will effectively flag a few points on how it can impact your business.  


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