An Authentic Advocate for Inclusivity
Etienne Claessens leads Baxter's Human Resources function in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and sponsors the region's chapter of enABLES, a business resource group (BRG) focused on people affected by disabilities.
Question: Tell us a little about your role at Baxter.
Etienne: I have the honor of leading a world class team of HR professionals across the EMEA region, who are all passionate about supporting our business and function teams in attracting, retaining and developing the best talent possible - talent who will help us grow beyond the ambitions we have as a region. This means helping them to grow their careers, matching personal capabilities and ambitions with our business challenges.
Q: What does it mean for you to have a meaningful career?
Etienne: To have inspiring colleagues, to continue to be curious, to learn every day and contribute to a meaningful purpose. At Baxter, our purpose is crystal clear: save and sustain people's lives.
Q: Why did you join the enABLES business resource group?
Etienne: I only realized at quite a late stage in my career how unaware companies can be of people's special needs, based on visible or invisible conditions. Helping our leaders develop better awareness and appreciation will lead to creating more career opportunities for an underrepresented group in the labor market. This requires being more open-minded and receptive (particularly beyond some of the more obvious or visible accommodations people may need) and to continue increasing our ability to listen authentically, and without prejudice, to what people can contribute towards versus what they cannot.
Q: What is the best part of being a member of enABLES?
Etienne: To be able to create even more awareness and opportunities for employees who have a special need (or better phrased, a special gift) that they can bring to Baxter. The enABLES team is extremely enthusiastic, and there is a general culture of open-mindedness at Baxter where everyone is genuinely interested in making a positive change, and not dismissing BRG efforts. There is real opportunity!
Why is a group like enABLES important for a company to have?
Etienne: Creating more inclusive opportunities will allow Baxter to tap into an even bigger pool of extremely motivated talent, provided we create the environment for all to be successful. With passionate members of a group like enABLES, we can advocate for ways a company can help EVERYONE be successful in their careers.