Caring about inclusivity. Interview with Marta Wojciechowska, CEO of Fiberhost
ONE OF THE KEY AIMS OF YOUR COMPANY IS THE COUNTERING DIGITAL DIVIDE. WHAT INITIATIVES AND ACTIONS ARE YOU UNDERTAKING WITHIN THIS SCOPE?
We set ambitious goals for ourselves,which is why we focus on building telecommunications infrastructure in rural and suburban areas, which are at highest risk of being affected by the digital divide. This mainly results from the distances separating these areas from large conglomerate urban areas. For example, the cost of connecting a fiber optics network to buildings scattered around is five times as high as in cities. Additionally, we constantly monitor the market situation. Last month our report “Digital Inclusion” was published and conclusions drawn from it are that 8% of Polish people are still not on the cybergrid. The good news is however, that the percentage has dropped from 2017, when the total was 18%. This drop happened as a result of expansion of the fiber optics grid within the framework of additionally funded investments. This is why we continually increase the range of our network and we declare openness for new investments and cooperation with institutions which manage funds dedicated to digitalization of our nation. We believe that the best method for overcoming this type of exclusion are not only further investments in infrastructure, but information campaigns and educating citizens on the matter of new technologies and how they can positively influence everyday life. We work in the area of educating and raising awareness about new technologies. We prepared an information campaign for the people, which will better help understand what fiber optics are and how much it differs from other available technologies that provide internet access. We also called upon the Fiberhost Academy, whose aim is to familiarize people with computers and use of the internet. Today, over one million households are within the reach of our network, and it’s not over yet. We consistently implement our mission, which is digital inclusion. We want the fiber optic technology to be open, accessible and understandable to all inhabitants of our country.
BY 2030 YOU AIM TO MINIMIZE YOUR CO EMISSIONS. 2 HOW DO YOU PLAN ON ACHIEVING ZERO EMISSIONS?
Since 2020 we have been searching for solutions which will enable us to reduce CO emissions as quickly as possible. 2 We started with replacing our fleet – namely hybrid hybrid vehicles, which currently make up over 50% of our company vehicles. The next step will be introducing electric cars – personal and delivery. Apart from replacing our fleet, we have begun to install solar panels on company grounds, to be able to take advantage of renewable sources of energy. Of course, we do not forget about our closest surroundings. We operate locally and practically everyday we add the proverbial brick to building an ecological base amongst our employees, clients and local community. By the end of 2021 we created a special team of personnel that regularly involves itself in initiatives directed at sustainable growth – Planet Mates – initiatives such as planting trees or cleaning up the planet. We conduct a series of webinars and contests that increase environmental awareness of our employees in the area of zero waste, the role of plastics in our lives, waste segregation and global warming. All of these initiatives allow us to create a responsible population, and in the future a climate neutral work environment.
DIVERSITY INCLUSION MANAGEMENT IN RECENT TIMES HAS BEEN A VERY HOT TOPIC AND ONE OF THE LEADING TRENDS OF SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE COMPANIES. ACCORDING TO YOU, HOW CAN YOU EFFECTIVELY IMPLEMENT IDEOLOGIES RELATED TO D&I?
Implementing actions in the framework of D&I begins with the basics – from dialogue with people that form the organization as well as cooperative effort in creating strategy. For the past few years we have been focusing on raising awareness of our employees – we have conducted a series of workshops, webinars that relate to identifying diversity, uninformed preconceptions, equal treatment. In effect we have created a strategy that works as a sort of guideline to create an inclusive workplace. In an annual poll conducted amongst our employees, we ask questions such as how they rate specific aspects of respecting equality, and most importantly, what is essential to them. We want them to feel the organization is a structure that we all help create and every voice counts. This according to us is key to effective implementation of ideals related to D&I – responding to employees needs, presenting concrete examples of life within the organization, in which the feeling of being included translates to realization of business goals, broadly understood awareness and getting people involved in these actions. What builds respect and appreciation for diversity within an organization, is the ability to express one’s own opinion, without the worry of consequences. As an organization we invite people to react to any display of lack of respecting differences, which also has an effect on feeling of being included in the organization and creates a safe work environment. We direct a lot of attention at shaping our managers’ approach – they are closest to the employees and they can formulate a specific at work policy.We care to make sure superiors know and understand advantages arising from work in an inclusive environment. During the recruitment process we remind them about the value of creating diverse teams. Whereas during work time, managers care for every member of their team – they recognize personalities and create an atmosphere in which everyone feels comfortable.
STRIVING FOR GENDER EQUALITY AND STRENGTHENING WOMENS’ ROLES IN AN ORGANIZATION IS VERY IMPORTANT TO YOU. IN WHAT WAY DO YOU CARE FOR YOUR EMPLOYEES AND HOW DO YOU SUPPORT WOMEN?
Caring for our employees is our priority. We offer a series of activities related to the field of well being and D&I. Together we care for our physical and mental health. What is important, all activities are directed at everyone, regardless of their gender or other personal differences. It is the employee that decides whether a given proposition meets their needs and wants to take advantage of them. We make sure men and women are treated equally – we give equal opportunities for growth and promotion in the organization, without asking for gender, we take into account competences and experience. 87% of the women think they have the same opportunities as men, which reflects in real life situations – in September alone 15 people advanced, of which 9 were women. Additionally we created a series of interviews called “Dynamic Women” in which we present profiles of women in our organization, who dare to make their dreams come true, they know their strengths and are great at what they do, and they would like to share their story and inspire others. In parallel, as part of the series “Male conversations” – we show that they are aware of their capabilities, face challenges and limits head on (including their own), sensitive (in respect to themselves and to others). By this we want to show that we value everyone, regardless of gender and thanks to this help women break out of the social stereotype that they have to try harder to earn more.
ACCORDING TO YOU, WHAT CAUSES THE SCENARIO OF WOMEN IN MANAGERIAL SEATS TO LOOK UNFAVORABLY, NAMELY LESS THAN A THIRD OF PRESIDENTIAL POSITIONS?
At Fiberhost we have an easy task, since the proportion of men and women in directorial positions is about 50%. These findings are of course not a result of predetermined and decided parities. At our organization we stand by the policy that the only thing that can determine one’s career path is their own abilities, experience and education – we have never used and never will use gender as criteria. Looking at the problem globally, the starting point is what I was referring to in response to the previous question. Some women are still convinced that because of their gender they have to try a lot harder and work harder. In effect this transforms into the feeling of not being good enough, and this is a sure path to halting one’s own career growth. Despite this I have a feeling that in this respect a lot of positives have arisen and each year we get closer to eliminating these disparities, and what is equally important is not to create new ones. I myself was the first woman hired in the company’s 30 year history who has taken the position of president. It was groundbreaking and a new beginning.I cannot hide the fact that I went into a predominantly male world, which luckily took me in with exceptional openness and maturity. This is why I cross my fingers and cheer for every female president/ manager and every male president/ manager, believing that the foundation of these positions is openness, and emphasized today equality and professional courage and not broadly understood physicality.
Marta Wojciechowska is the CEO of Fiberhost (former INEA) – one of the leaders of the construction and management of open-access Fiber-To-The-Home infrastructure in Poland. Fiberhost as a wholesale operator focused on enabling access for service providers to the open-access network at the bitstream access level. In addition, it provides field and technical services for business partners. Currently, the range of Fiberhost open fiber networks is located in nearly 1 million households in 8 provinces in the country. Marta Wojciechowska has been associated with the Group for twelve years. Previously she held the position of the Board Member responsible for all legal and regulatory matters, human capital, compliance, audit, risk management, cybersecurity, environment, health, and safety.She has extensive experience in regulatory compliance projects, advised on the implementation of regulatory requirements and risk management. She also participated in international M&A transactions, supervising and responsible for the course of the process in the area of legal analyzes.
Last Updated on November 21, 2022 by Valeriia Honcharuk