Paradigm for Parity® CEO Spotlight Series: Asad Haider, Founder and CEO of August Leadership

The Paradigm for Parity® coalition CEO Spotlight Series showcases member company CEOs who are transforming their corporate culture to be one that advances women of all races, cultures, and backgrounds.

This week, Paradigm for Parity’s CEO spotlight is Asad Haider, Founder and CEO of August Leadership.

As an innovator, Asad Haider is the founder and leader of August Leadership, one of the fastest-growing executive leadership search firms. Asad’s career highlights include his various signature turnaround projects with Procter & Gamble as well as helping PepsiCo achieve record market share in international markets. His recruitment career began as an entrepreneur, building one of Asia’s largest region-wide search boutiques.

Asad is a trusted advisor with deep global experience and extensive knowledge of emerging markets, high-growth companies, and high-potential diversity candidates. He has worked across the globe and within a wide range of industries.

Asad is an active supporter of Paradigm for Parity. He is passionate and committed to advancing gender equality and diversity in business. Asad and his team are known for unparalleled results in helping clients recruit top-caliber diversity talent in key executive roles.

Below is the recap of the conversation we had with Mr. Haider:

What motivated your company to join the Paradigm for Parity® coalition?

Haider: Within the executive search and leadership advisory firms, August Leadership was the first to join the Paradigm for Parity® coalition. For the past two decades, our goal has been to advance gender parity and racial equality on a global scale and create and support an inclusive leadership culture. We share the same values, mission, and purpose as Paradigm for Parity, and together we are committed to achieving our diversity goals.

Since 2002, we have supported several Fortune 500 companies and major global brands including Tetra Pak, Nestlé, British American Tobacco, The Hershey Company, Lamb Weston, and Shell in recruiting female leaders for executive roles. As a top-level global executive search firm, we have a direct impact on improving gender equality at the senior levels, and with Paradigm for Parity® we are able to increase our reach.

What role can/should CEOs play in leveling the playing field for marginalized groups, including women and people of color, in the workforce?

Haider: CEOs need to take responsibility for shaping and influencing the company’s culture from the top down. From sponsorship programs and a fully supportive work environment to providing facilities such as on-site daycare, a hybrid work model, support groups, and sensitivity training, CEOs must ensure complete alignment with the company’s values.

Furthermore, CEOs should implement and follow-through with inclusive hiring across all levels and leadership development programs for marginalized groups to create an environment where everyone feels valued and respected.

What do you consider to be the benefits of leveling the playing field for women in the workforce for your company and society as a whole?

Haider: August Leadership’s philosophy has always been to create a positive impact by supporting more women in leadership positions. The benefits of women being a part of the workforce go beyond the corporate world as their contributions help in growing the global economy. We stand behind women forming their rightful place in society, having financial independence, and creating pay parity.

Evidence shows that companies with a greater number of women in senior leadership positions are more profitable, socially responsible, and sustainable. Consumers relate to the company’s values and view them favorably vs competition. It is inspiring for women in the workforce to see other women as role models in leadership roles. Experience has shown the above paves the path for more women to reach their full potential. We take pride in providing a culture that supports women in advancing their careers while balancing their family considerations.

How is your company advocating for, lifting up, and supporting women of color in your workplace? What has made the biggest difference in advancing all women in your company?

Haider: A significant majority of our workforce are persons of color, in fact, August Leadership is certified as a minority-owned business in the U.S. We fundamentally understand the considerations of people of color and we play a strong role in advancing racial diversity within our firm as well as while recruiting for our clients.

Building on our commitment to DEI at our firm, our Partner, Umran Beba, also introduced multiple DEI training modules for our team which helped develop a better understanding of inclusive hiring and leadership principles.

We feel honored to receive regular feedback from women in our firm who feel strongly supported, as compared to their former employers. We are in talks with several high-potential industry experts and prospective Partners who recognize our commitment to DEI and are expected to join us to accelerate their professional growth.

When you look at the Paradigm for Parity coalition 5-Point Action Plan, is there one step that you think is most critical to ensuring that women of color have the same opportunities for advancement as their colleagues?

Haider: We recognize the importance diversity plays in all walks of life. We are committed to building an inclusive environment that celebrates the talents and potential of our workforce.

The most critical step in the 5-Point Action Plan is to identify women of potential and provide sponsorship and mentorship opportunities, building a strong succession pipeline for future senior leadership positions. We believe they should have equal opportunities to become prominent leaders and must be represented at every level of the organizational structure.

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Paradigm for Parity

The Paradigm for Parity® movement is a coalition of business leaders dedicated to addressing the leadership gender gap in corporate America.