First place, GERMANY’S TOP 50 LGBT+ Voices 2020
“I want to maintain a daily dialogue about LGBT+ because unconscious bias is something that affects everyone. The more visibility I can give the subject, the more we will become aware of our unconscious thoughts.”
After studying logistics management, Nikita Baranov began his career in the commerce sector and was responsible for external IT partners and innovations at METRO AG from 2015 to 2020. He has been Executive Assistant to the CHRO since July 2020. In addition, as a spokesperson for the LGBT+ employee network METRO Pride and a core member of the women’s network WiT, Nikita promotes cultural change in order to make workplaces even more open.
Why are you involved in this topic at work?
Nikita Baranov: I want anyone who works for us or with us not to have to ask themselves the energy-sapping questions “Should I come out?” and “How much should I reveal about myself?” – I want them to be able to be who they are, with their entire identity. To come to work without having to fear being harassed, bullied or discriminated against just because of who they are. Not only to be diverse and integrated, but also to have a feeling of belonging.
What responses do you get to this?
Nikita Baranov: I get positive responses to my involvement, but I also notice that the topic of LGBT+ is not always considered an integral part of Diversity & Inclusion by all employees. That’s why we need to continually raise people’s awareness because only a diverse workforce can meet our goal of producing creative and innovative solutions for our equally diverse customers.
What can we all achieve by getting involved in LGBT*IQ networks?
Nikita Baranov: I’m convinced that only by joining forces will we manage to eliminate discrimination at work in order to promote equal rights. Networks help us increase visibility, and company-wide projects have a bigger reach and significance. One thing is certain: we’re all fighting for a common cause, and alliances can only be beneficial.
Since July, you have been Executive Assistant to the Chief Human Resources Officer at METRO AG – will this enable you to make LGBT*IQ topics even more visible?
Nikita Baranov: Above all, I firmly believe that, regardless of role or position, everyone has a voice and a platform that they should use to promote LGBT+ topics. As LGBT+ diversity is a key part of our corporate culture, I’m happy to be able to make the topic even more visible.
You’re often seen with a rainbow – what does it mean to you to be out and visible?
Nikita Baranov: I want to maintain a daily dialogue about LGBT+ because unconscious bias is something that affects everyone. The more visibility I can give the subject, the more we will become aware of our unconscious thoughts. Being out at work and not having to hide my identity is a prerequisite for showing myself as a whole person and performing at my best.
The interview was conducted as part of GERMANY’S TOP 100 OUT EXECUTIVES. This list is a joint project with the UHLALA Group and is now available online.