Diversity and personal development: Tamara Yanar

Diversity as a ubiquitous buzzword poses questions and challenges for many companies.

While there is much discussion about potential benefits and necessities, it is often not even clear how exactly diversity is defined. To get closer to the concept of diversity in the context of the working world, we therefore wanted to hear more from our Senior HR Expert Tamara Yanar about her own experiences and definitions.

1. “Tamara, how did you become an HRler?”

Tamara: Actually, I originally come from the hotel industry. As a trained hotel manager, I pretty much went through all the stages there – from waitress to manager.

At some point, however, it became clear to me: I need something else, I want to develop myself further and gather new knowledge. I had also always been interested in topics related to people. Against this background, I then began training as a non-medical practitioner for psychotherapy.

At the same time, my employer in the hotel industry created a position in the back office that met my desire for advancement. So, bit by bit, I was able to take on more HR-related tasks and learned a lot about HR in the process.

Unlike my previous positions, my new position also gave me evenings off to take care of my education. In addition to becoming a non-medical practitioner for psychotherapy, I was then even able to train as a systemic consultant.

2. That sounds like a really exciting development. What happened next?

Tamara: Yes, I really learned a lot during that time. At some point, however, I also knew: after many years in a medium-sized restaurant business, I had to look for new challenges.

To further professionalize myself, I then trained as a human resources manager. As luck would have it, a former colleague wrote to me during this time and asked if I would like to do some HR project work – for HR factory.

Of course, I didn’t hesitate for long and accepted. My first project was in the aerospace industry. The structures there were very different from my previous job. Now I had to deal with works councils, among other things, and was once again faced with new challenges that I was able to familiarize myself with.

3. “Was that a culture shock for you, in a way?”

Tamara: The new structures and manners definitely required a lot of adaptability from me. But that’s exactly where I see my strength. I enjoy fitting into a more traditional and formal environment at times. Nevertheless, I see my future more in the modern working world.

My position was also quite administrative in nature. I think a role like this is a great way to get to know a company and find your way around quickly. From that perspective, this project was a great introduction to HR project work for me.

4. “In your quest for new challenges, you even started your own small business on the side called heyCurlz. Will you tell us what it’s all about?

Tamara: Of course! As you can see, I have curly ‘afro’ hair. However, because I grew up with my German mother, who has straight blonde hair, I didn’t know how to care for it properly for a large part of my life.

I have therefore used chemical means and straightening irons to straighten my hair for far too long, after all there was nothing else suitable. However, when I visited the other side of my family in America, I was able to find a greater variety of products and solutions to this.

So when I became a mom almost three years ago and went on parental leave, I saw the opportunity to offer a solution to this problem in Germany with heyCurlz.

5. “Awesome! Have you ever been discriminated against in Germany because of your skin color or hair?”

Tamara: I actually never felt noticeably discriminated against. That may also have something to do with the fact that I grew up with a German mother and thus had a very natural access to German culture. But I know that other dark-skinned people had it much harder. So I can only speak for myself.

Either way, I’m really happy when there are dark-skinned colleagues among the new employees at HR factory. When a broad spectrum of cultures, skin colors, hair styles, personalities or other traits are represented in the workplace, I think it’s just beautiful and important, hence my recent post on LinkedIn about diversity at HR factory.

5. “What does diversity mean to you personally?”

Tamara: Diversity can of course be defined in different ways. For me personally, the term focuses on versatile interests and opportunities for development.

I just always want to be able to develop myself and get to know a diverse spectrum of people, jobs, topics and roles. Of course, I wish the same opportunities for all people, no matter where they come from or what they look like.

At HR factory I feel that this philosophy is lived and that I and others are given all these opportunities to develop. That’s just great!