Learning to think differently

Rute Aparicio, UK

As part of National Inclusion Week, we spoke to Rute Aparicio, People Partner for UK Financial Services TAS, about her experiences of meeting new people and how inclusion has helped her.

I have a genuine curiosity and a desire to understand others which practically speaking is what has served me well. I’m one of those people who will go to a new restaurant, find a new dish and be irresistibly drawn to try it, even though I know I might not like it. I guess my teenage years were when the seeds were planted for me to be naturally curious.

I was thrown into a culture which was very different to what I was used to. My father was relocated to China and I moved as a grumpy teenager with my family which I found at the time very tough, but it also opened my eyes to different cultures and ways of life. I was fascinated.

I couldn’t quite figure out how to navigate this new culture and way of doing things. I ended up in the only school that taught the Portuguese curricular because there weren’t many options. My class was equal parts Portuguese, local Chinese and international students, which meant we had to find a way to make it work for us to survive the educational system.

I think that experience at such a formative age forced me to realize that we all think differently. Everyone’s opinion is equally valid and once you strip away the cultural differences and perspectives, you find that there is more that unites us than divides us. 

I realized my world view and perspective was just one of so many across the world. The way I approached things was at times really different to the other students, but we all worked well together. This experience formed part of who I am today. Just because I handle things one way, didn’t mean that the others were wrong, it was just different.

If you open yourself up to getting to know how others think, you get a much more rewarding experience. It’s a sense of interest and understanding that enables you to learn about others and challenge yourself around the way you do things and often finding a better way of doing things.

After 17 years with EY, I come back because I like the experiences I get. The types of projects you get to work on are so varied and so are the people you work with, which provide me conversations on a daily basis that enhance my experience of EY.

We all have different circumstances and requirements that need us to be inclusive. Just because somebody goes through a particular life event or has a particular background, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t feel a part of who we are.

There’s a benefit in taking the time in investing in everyone, regardless of who they are or the way they think. Inclusion isn’t a nice thing to do, it’s a business imperative. We have to be aware of where differences might be and challenge ourselves to not jump to conclusions, listen to people and understand what the outcome is to truly comprehend someone else’s view.