• Oluwatofunmi Ayodeji

Built-ID Women Celebrate #BreakingTheBias

Built-ID would like to give warm wishes to all the incredible women out there on International Women's Day. You are doing amazing work and we are extremely proud of your efforts.


As a female founded and female led company, we strive to prioritise breaking bias every day & acknowledging the work is never done. It takes a lot of listening, learning and also self-reflection in order to recognise any unconscious biases and not let them hold you or others back.


Over the past couple of weeks we have been sharing how some of our female employees have been #BreakingTheBias, do not worry if you missed them. Keep reading below to see what they have to say and some helpful go-to tips they have for you.


Clio Ionni Bernardi, Marketing Director


How do you break the bias in your life and/or at work?


My life motto is treat people like you want to be treated and I try to live by it every day and respect anyone surrounding me at work and in my private life. Of course, I am human and I make mistakes, but if I can learn from those mistakes and grow as a person, colleague, friend and partner, that has a purpose in my opinion.


Can you give an example of how you've broken the bias in the past?


As my career is in tech, I have experienced many situations where I have been one of the very few (if not the only one!) women. Role after role, I have tried to show that there isn't any difference in an individual's capabilities just based on being a woman or a man and it should be embedded in the company values. When I joined Built-ID I felt it was my biggest contribution to breaking bias as it is a fantastic team, the first company where there are probably more women than men! I hope this inspires other people to take a step forward, although it might feel scary and unstable.


What would be your go-to tip for others trying to break the bias?


My go-to tip would be to be confident and be your own biggest fan. If you don't actually believe in yourself it shows in your actions too and consequently it might create friction with the people around you. Always be yourself and be open to feedback and learning.


Oby Bamidele, Chief Operating Officer


How do you break the bias in your life and/or at work?


By being open to experiences that challenge me to question my motives and intentions. I am fully aware and embrace the fact that as a human, I have biases in all shapes and forms but as long as I am open, honest with myself and others and willing to have difficult conversations, I will continue to learn and grow.


Can you give an example of how you've broken the bias in the past?


Taking up my role as COO at Built-ID was a conscious decision to play my part in breaking the bias. The statistics on Black women in leadership roles are low and whilst it felt risky, and scary to take on the challenges of a role in the middle of a pandemic, I knew I needed to do it for myself and as a model for my daughter and girls like her. Representation matters and we become what we see.


What would be your go-to tip for others trying to break the bias?


First get clear on your values and what you live by. This will allow you to set your intentions and boundaries in your personal and professional life. Surround yourself with people who will challenge and encourage you to grow and learn. Remember that life is all about learning and growing.


Erica Torres, Executive Assistant


How do you break the bias in your life and/or at work?


By giving myself the space to be vulnerable and ask for help but also knowing when to be assertive and self-assured. This is something I’m going to continually grow in, to strike the balance between vulnerability and assertiveness as the intersectionality of being a black woman means being at a double disadvantage to biases such as “women are emotional” but also “black women are aggressive, angry and ‘have an attitude’”.

Finding balance hasn’t been easy but I hope to continue to grow in this area.


Can you give an example of how you've broken the bias in the past?


Being an Executive Assistant has been the perfect role to practice vulnerability by saying things like saying “I don’t know but …” or “I can’t do xyz but …” but also standing up for ideas I believe in. At Built-ID I’ve been encouraged to not think of vulnerability as weakness but an opportunity to learn and grow which has been very empowering.


What would be your go-to tip for others trying to break the bias?


Be unapologetically you and operate by your core beliefs without compromising but also surround yourself with people alike and different to you who will challenge your views/perspective. Having close people who think differently to you makes us better and less biased people.


Savannah de Savary, Founder & CEO


How do you break the bias in your life and/or at work?


By continuing to prioritise breaking bias every day & acknowledging the work is never done. It takes a lot of listening, learning and also self-reflection in order to recognise any unconscious biases and not let them hold you or others back.


Can you give an example of how you've broken the bias in the past?


Despite being a small startup with a tight budget, I made the decision early on to create an identical, generous maternity & paternity policy, given the gender pay gap is significantly impacted by the outdated expectation that women must take on more parental responsibility than men. This gender stereotyping bias has the potential to hamstring women and men alike.


What would be your go-to tip for others trying to break the bias?


Don't be afraid to speak up & challenge unconscious bias around you. Over the past few years we have seen how powerful it is when people make the brave decision to speak up & the positive change that happens when we start these inclusive conversations.


Lia Butler, Account Manager


How do you break the bias in your life and/or at work?


By removing ego and understanding that sometimes we might get things wrong, I have been able to be very open and honest with myself about biases in life today. I actively listen to those subject to biases, to ensure I'm always learning and understanding more about how I can be a part of the solution, not the problem. Additionally, as I grow in seniority and in life in general, I stay aware of those I could be indirectly influencing, making sure I regularly check myself for any unconscious biases.


Can you give an example of how you've broken the bias in the past?


I have previously taken a prominent role in chairing discussions around various biases and how they play a role in the workplace and wider society. I took this role, not because I believe I am by any means an expert on the topic, but because I wanted to ensure my team and I had a safe space where we were able to tackle any potentially difficult topics. I was learning just as much as anyone else in those sessions and I think they have been really valuable to my growth.


What would be your go-to tip for others trying to break the bias?


I have found it beneficial to learn how to best approach difficult conversations with those around you. Change happens in the world when we stand up for what we believe in, so try open up an honest and respectful line of communication with someone who you've noticed to approach situations with questionable morals/intentions. It's a brave thing to do, but if it sparks thought and even a change in behaviour then it can have a really positive impact.


Oluwatofunmi Ayodeji, Marketing Executive


How do you break the bias in your life and/or at work?


I always strive to improve my skills professionally as well as show that I am independent and can rely on myself to do things without needing the help of others. This has allowed me to not only have more freedom but also taught me a lot about myself and the skills I did not know I had.


Can you give an example of how you've broken the bias in the past?


There have been many instances where I've had to prove that I could do something people thought I couldn't, simply because it was harder. In these cases I always try my best to prove not only I can do it but also teach others around me.


What would be your go-to tip for others trying to break the bias?


One thing that I have realised whether in a working environment or in my personal life is to always believe in yourself no matter what obstacles come your way. Although it may be hard, believing in yourself will make you the person you want to become.


Have you ever broken down stereotypes and challenged bias? Let us know your experiences by sharing them on social media to join us in the movement.