From an author of two successful books – Conquering Your Burnout and The Lemon Tree Mindset – and with fluency across six languages to boot, Veronica Llorca-Smith has successfully carved her career as a writer, public speaker, and consultant after ditching the corporate world following a burnout.
Based on her personal experience, Conquering Your Burnout presents an actionable guide to help people identify and overcome burnout. She provides a step-by-step manual in her second book, The Lemon Tree Mindset, to help readers reinvent themselves and find new paths that require putting in miles—there are no shortcuts!
Veronica is a well-known speaker in the Asia-Pacific region besides helping CEOs and Heads of People design customized Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) strategies to build inclusive high-performing teams. She uses her expertise in storytelling and competitive triathlon (Ironman) to inspire others to succeed both professionally and in their personal lives.
She has lived in nine different countries and is fluent in six of them, including Chinese. Her passion has always been exploring the world and getting to know the many cultures and people.
She began her career in China in 2004 and spent 18 years in the corporate world working in APAC for government, SMEs, and Fortune 500 corporations (Apple and Estée Lauder) in business strategy and people development.
She chose the entrepreneurial route during the epidemic, specialized in DEI, and established her consultancy using both her professional and personal expertise. Her goal has been to help people reach their full potential by valuing their differences, enabling them to succeed both at work and in their personal lives. She has a particular interest in cultural agility because she has lived on four continents and worked with teams there, giving her a unique insight on the difficulties of doing business across borders. Her approach also places a strong emphasis on a growth attitude because the mindset is where transformation begins. She incorporates sports psychology and positivity into her sessions because she is an amateur triathlete and Ironman.
She creates specialised training programs, workshops, and keynote speeches for corporations looking to build diverse and effective teams. Because she wants her clients to have a voice in the production process and help make the information relevant and useful, she co-creates her sessions with them.
Veronica recently created a Women’s Mentoring Circle for a company in Singapore as a freelance DEI consultant. Women executives from different industries, markets, and roles came together throughout the 12-week program to talk about and support one another’s struggles in the workplace. They shared knowledge, counsel, and resources while supporting one another as they talked about issues like gaining confidence, projecting authority, and negotiation techniques.
The participants’ feedback was overwhelmingly favourable, and they notably underlined the importance of having a reliable group where women encourage one another to succeed.
As an author and linguist, Veronica included DEI into her training programs to aid teams in achieving greater performance across cultures. All of her programs use DEI to build high-performing teams that will attract diverse talent, foster an inclusive culture, and provide equal opportunity for everyone.
One of the cornerstones of her work in the DEI field is cultural agility. The majority of APAC firms employ diverse personnel, but they do not offer training or tools to enable multicultural teams to function effectively and inclusively. To be truly inclusive and get the benefits of diversity, businesses must all overcome unconscious biases and stereotypes. To assist people understand why they think and act differently based on their cultural lenses and backgrounds, Veronica incorporates cultural mapping into her sessions. She also enjoys delivering personal, powerful stories to demonstrate how cultural EQ can operate as fuel for performance and teamwork.
She shared that, in her perspective, there are two main obstacles for women in the workplace. Inequity between men and women exists in the workplace. If society continues to develop at the present rate, it will take 132 years to close the gender gap internationally (in terms of salaries, the percentage of senior leadership positions, etc.). Unconscious prejudice in recruiting, discrimination, fewer possibilities for promotion, microaggressions, and sexual harassment are just a few examples of the external causes that contribute to many of the problems.
The second issue is a personal one: many women lack the self-assurance to stand up, market themselves, apply for a promotion, or argue for a pay raise. She urges women through social media and her books to speak up, develop their personal brands, and discover how to confidently position and market themselves because this is something they can fully control.
She claims that gender commitment goes well beyond quotas and benchmarks. First and foremost, it involves developing a mindset and culture that supports inclusion at all levels through education, dialog, and allyship.
The second aspect is behaviour, making sure that all parties involved act and communicate inclusively. Promoting gender justice requires using inclusive, neutral language and denouncing microaggressions and sexist humour.
Finally yet importantly, equality cannot rely on people’s thoughts and behaviours; rather, it must be integrated into all systems and processes, including recruiting and promotion, talent pipelines and gender quotas in leadership, career possibilities and development, etc.
Veronica believes that transitioning from compliance to genuine buy-in is the most difficult component of gender diversity in the current environment, which is heading up to 2030 in the framework of UN SDGs. While most companies have implemented some form of gender quota to advance equity, winning over people’s hearts and minds is necessary to bring about systemic change. Women need to convince the majority to support their cause in order to make progress because many people are complacent or in denial about gender inequality.
In addition to formal initiatives and quotas, it’s critical to identify natural ways to cultivate allyship from a position of inspiration and true support rather than compliance. Gaining people’s hearts is more difficult than meeting quota requirements.
Veronica concluded by discussing intersectionality. She shared that intersectionality occurs when many levels of variety cross over, increasing injustice. For instance, a woman with a disability who also belongs to an underrepresented ethnic group faces additional difficulties in obtaining equal employment possibilities. It’s crucial to consider gender diversity holistically and to recognize that every person has particular disadvantages.