ISS joins new inclusion programme to foster diverse management talents

ISS has joined the new ‘Generation Valuable’ training and mentorship programme, initiated by non-profit organisation Valuable 500.

Through matching a C-suite mentor with a talented employee with a disability, the purpose is to foster an inclusive leadership culture and a diverse management talent pool.

Research shows that marginalised talents often face systemic barriers to promotion, leading to a low number of disabled people in leadership positions – particularly within the executive level and C-Suite. 

Generation Valuable is a new programme that seeks to address this challenge. This is done by creating an opportunity for a rising leader with a disability to receive training provided by some of the world’s leading disability inclusion and leadership development experts. Furthermore, a mentorship between the rising leader and a member of the participating company’s executive management team is established.

Turning ambitions into reality

The mentee in ISS’s programme is 38-year-old Julie Nicholson, Key Account Manager in ISS Ireland. Julie is a person with Dyslexia but was only diagnosed as an adult in 2020. She says:

“When I received my diagnosis, it was as if a room of darkness was suddenly filled with light. It all made sense. This new awareness, combined with great support from ISS, has given me a fresh perspective on my life and career. I am now undertaking a master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) while continuing my ISS journey. I love my job, but this is just the beginning. 

“I’m so excited to have this opportunity to learn from a great female executive role model and gain insights on navigating a huge organisation like ISS. I’m positive that this programme can support me in turning my ambitions into reality.”

Successful companies acknowledge abilities

Corinna Refsgaard, Group Head of People and Culture, and member of ISS’s Executive Group Management, will be the mentor in ISS’s programme. She says:

“ISS has a clear ambition to become the Company of Belonging. This means that everyone should feel safe, be who they are and become what they want. Successful companies and leaders acknowledge people’s abilities rather than disabilities. It is every person’s unique contribution that makes us diverse and strong – this goes for all levels across the organisation, not least the management”.
“I very much look forward to helping lead the way for one of our great talents, and I know that this mentorship will equally be as much a reversed mentorship, as I will learn a lot too.”


About the Generation Valuable programme:

Over the course of 12 months the mentors will be championing the development of their mentees by sharing industry insights, encouraging growth mindsets, and equipping them with the strategic tools necessary to flourish in business. The programme will strengthen participants’ personal leadership identities to cultivate environments that execute business strategies with an ESG and equity lens. The Mentors and Mentees will devise a “Blueprint for Action” which will serve as a tangible roadmap that will advise their companies on how they can build upon their existing disability inclusion practices. 

Generation Valuable participants will lead conversations within their own C-Suite and take part in a series of modules including Creative Leadership, Leadership Identity, Strategic Thinking, Business for Good/ESG and Disability Advocacy driving change within their own organisations, as well as connecting with a global peer network.

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