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DB Schenker’s Changing the Game

Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) has been a big topic in business the last few years – and rightfully so. It’s an important subject to tackle, but not always an easy one to get right. It all comes down to making sure that D&I is authentically lived in the organizational culture, and not just seen as an additional item on the agenda. DB Schenker is a global organization, so working intentionally to shape an inclusive environment is a business imperative. It not only creates a harmonious day-to-day experience, it also unlocks the significant potential that all these different ways of seeing the world can offer. That’s where programs like the Game Changers come in.

As part of activating D&I at a local level, it must be driven by those on the ground. The Game Changers is a global platform that brings together people from across DB Schenker’s different locations and countries, to support in building a diverse and inclusive business environment. Aside from meeting regularly to share insights and updates, they are involved in initiatives to raise awareness around the topic of D&I at DB Schenker too. They have hosted a panel discussion on discrimination in the workplace, and also served on the global taskforce to help develop the strategic D&I framework for the business as a whole.

Global connection, local insight

One of the primary reasons the Game Changers joined the program is the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals around the world. Adicty, one of the members from Indonesia, explained, “I can hear the stories from my colleagues in other countries and maybe see the same problem I face here. Then we can exchange information on how we both could solve it.” As would be expected when dealing with an emotive subject like this, the members build deeper bonds over time too. Jaco from South Africa explains that his connection means he’s able to just reach out when he needs to talk through something but needs another perspective.

Making diversity an everyday discussion

When asked about the aims of the Game Changers, Sherri from the United States sums it up as “starting important conversations” every day. Much of what the members do day-to-day involves making D&I part of the consciousness at DB Schenker. This can be intangible, like educating people about unconscious bias, microaggressions or gendered language. But it has real, tangible implications for the business too. Sherri speaks about how she always raises the issue in conversations about succession planning to make sure that when candidates are considered, everyone with the potential is on the list. Richard, based in Oman, also spoke passionately about this. In his view, D&I is not about emphasizing difference, but rather allowing people’s skills to be assessed independently of their profile. As he explains, “I want to look for the best person available in the market at that point in time. So, when I look at candidates, I really don’t care what their background is. But the question is, do you look in the right spots to find that person?”

Talking about the D&I focus right now, the Game Changers all share common perspectives. “We started with gender. It’s an easy access point but we need to move the needle in other areas too,” says Sherri. Jaco shares a similar view, and says that to him, “inclusion isn’t just about gender or race or age – it’s about closing the gap for everybody – that’s what makes a difference.” This means that the Game Changers often need to tailor the conversation based on where they are at as a country or location. 

Portrait of Sherri Lise, Part of DB Schenker Change Makers


“The first step in Diversity and Inclusion is awareness, as a Game Changer you continue this conversation in your local area to make sure that people understand that it needs to be core to what we do if we want to grow as an organization.”

Portrait Richard van Schie, Part of DB Schenker Change Makers


“You’ll never have a one-size-fits-all approach but there is a place for everyone in the DB Schenker world.”

Looking to the future

One thing the Game Changers identified was the advantages that D&I brings to an organization. One of the main positives they raised was the diversity of thought it enables. “Everyone in a room comes from a different perspective – and that’s how you stay innovative,” explains Sherri. Adicty pointed out that it played an important role externally too. To her, it’s vital when it comes to attracting talent so that people “feel at home here.” Each member in turn could list the whole range of benefits or, as Jaco put it when he was asked, “My question to you is… how does it not benefit DB Schenker?”

This is by no means an easy or short journey. The Game Changers all spoke about the challenges they face, but also the optimism they feel. Each of them identified the potential for the program to do even more. As Adicty pointed out, it should go way beyond these individuals too. “In future it shouldn’t just be about us… I want all employees at Schenker to be Game Changers,” she said. For many of them, it has a deep personal resonance. "I want to leave a better world for my kids and grandkids,” Sherri said.

So, when I see marketing go out and there are people on there that are diverse and representative, I smile, because I know we’re making a difference.