Virginia Manyara, the Regional HR Lead for Weston-Comstor Middle East, joined the business in 2019. As someone who feels incredibly strongly about helping people access opportunities and reach their full potential, she is a bastion of our inclusive, diverse culture.
As Weston-Comstor's Middle East HR Lead, it’s my responsibility to create successful partnerships for our organisation that drive our human resources in the right direction. Together with my colleagues, I make sure we have the right people, processes, tools and policies that allow our people to grow and develop which is critical to our business success.
I'm originally from Kenya, but I've lived in Dubai for the past 15 years and worked in a number of different HR roles.
Keeping diversity and inclusion at the heart of the business
I’m really proud that we’ve built and maintained a core culture of diversity and inclusion at Westcon-Comstor. It's something that’s genuinely in our DNA. Our aim is to create a working environment that’s free of bias and allows every individual to thrive.
We want every single employee to feel included, motivated, valued, and accepted, so we make sure they have equal access to opportunities regardless of their background.
These come through programmes such as the Employee Resource Group (ERG), new joiner programmes, our speak up platforms, and our internal mobility movement. All these programmes help contribute to the betterment of our people, and when our people are successful, they can better serve our partners and make sure they’re successful.
Protecting and promoting a culture of inclusivity
We hold cultural days and religion-based activities so we can continue to learn and celebrate each other's cultures. Weston-Comstor also has lots of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) programmes, from our Saudi Graduate program that helps us attract young female talent in the region, to health and wellbeing programmes that tackle difficult topics like mental wellness.
The Middle East is very diverse, and we have 22 nationalities across our team. 100% of our employees in the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait are expatriates, as are 70% of our people in Saudi Arabia.
Hearing the stories of Westcon-Comstor’s people
Being in HR gives me the privilege of meeting and interacting with various employees from different departments and regions. I believe, as an HR professional, I am a gatekeeper of our culture. I love that we have a mixed culture and I love the stories I hear each day – be it about an employee who just became a parent, a woman working hard to take care of her family because she’s the breadwinner, or even a single dad doing his best to bring up his kids. It could even be an employee who just joined, or one who’s celebrating their 20th work anniversary or someone leaving the organisation.
Whichever stage or period of life they are in, one thing is common: they want to feel included, accepted, respected and empowered.
I wake up everyday knowing that I have a unique opportunity to truly make a difference in the lives of our employees in the moments that matter.
It’s a real blessing to work for an organisation like Westcon-Comstor, which has a genuinely positive and inclusive culture.
Using values to shape a career
My family taught me to value and respect everyone and it’s become a core part of my personality. I remember that my parents invited people who were less fortunate than us into our home, who quickly became part of our family. It was incredible that we could give them an opportunity to make something of themselves.
I feel very uncomfortable when I see something unfair happening and I always speak up. And I believe that I’ve made it to where I am by focusing on the value I can bring to a business, rather than worrying about where I come from or how I look. It’s my turn to pay it forward by being an advocate and ambassador for diversity and inclusion.
Happy employees are productive employees
Ensuring that we have the right people driving our business and that we have the right processes, tools and policies that are fair and support the growth and development of our people means we’re creating a happy and fulfilled workforce who is motivated and energised to serve our partners.
As a result, we succeed when our partners do, and having a high team spirit is essential to this success.