Each September, Babbel features Perspectives – a collection of online talks and workshops, curated for Babbelonians by Babbelonians, introducing individual, local, and global perspectives. Our Director of Educational Strategy, Stephanie Wright (she/her), and Senior Organizational Culture Manager (DE&I), Eileen Bernard (she/her), shared in the interview what this initiative is about and why it is important for Babbel.
What this initiative is about and why does Babbel organize it annually?
Babbel’s company purpose is “creating mutual understanding through language,” and one of our core values is “diversity makes us stronger.” Perspectives month is a way to put this into practice. By internationally seeking to broaden our horizons and understand those around us – both at a local and a global level – we not only create a shared understanding, but we also highlight the importance of listening to one another and digging deeper on topics that impact so many people’s lives.
The goal is to bring people together, introduce new ideas and concepts, and to help us connect with local and global communities. We are a company with people of over 70 nationalities, and with a product that is used by millions of people across the globe. We all have different experiences and understanding of how the world works, so it’s important to listen to and learn from one another, as this is how we create a culture of belonging (which is the aim of all our DE&I initiatives – to help us build that sense of belonging) and build a product that reflects all of our learners.
Perspectives is called that because it introduces new perspectives. By doing this, we have not only learnt more about other people, but we have also been able to understand our own position in the world more as well.
Who is the primary target audience for the Perspectives initiative?
Although we do open some talks up to externals, we see it as a way of giving space to people to learn and grow – which is something we want for all Babbelonians – hence they are our primary target audience.
What are the key topics that the initiative typically addresses, and why are these chosen?
The overarching theme is Belonging. The topics change each year, but we use current events and issues as a starting point and build an agenda from that. This year for example, we have talks on the rise of the far right in Europe, AI and the impact of global media as these are all topics that are current and impact everyone.
Who do you invite to speak and what events do you hold during Perspectives month?
We invite people who are knowledgeable on each subject, from all walks of life. Our subject matter experts might be external – so in the past, we had workshop from Refugee Voices Tours and Knowdular, Berlin gegen Nazis came to speak about their campaigns, Ghonche Tavoosi came to speak about the importance of representation and Allan Cudicio from Twin Drums games dev studio introduced a new African inspired MMORPG – but we also hear from experts internally. This is exciting, because it not only helps us to get to know more about one another, but also highlights some of the amazing people we have working here, who are not only experts in their fields of work, but also outside of the office.
There is a mix of talks, workshops and get-togethers. As we have speakers both from Berlin but also elsewhere in Germany and the world, we try to have a balance of online and offline. Some events also have a limit on how many people can attend, either because of the format or the topic.
What are the plans for the future of the initiative?
This will be the last year we hold Perspectives as an annual event. We had feedback from Babbelonians that they would prefer it to happen throughout the year, so next year we will move it to four, week-long events that will be held quarterly. We will also make more use of podcast and video content as this will help make the events even more accessible.
How can Babbelonians or externals get involved in or contribute to the Perspectives initiative, either as participants or collaborators?
Babbelonians can get involved this year by taking part in the events and coming along to the talks. Next year, they can let us know what topics they want to learn about and volunteer to speak or run a workshop to share their expertise.
As for externals – we are going to open one of our online talks ‘AI Ethics: Ctrl+Alt+Delicate Balance’ at the end of September, we will announce it soon on LinkedIn.