Getting To Know Raashi Sikka, Ubisoft’s VP Global Diversity & Inclusion
In February of this year, Raashi Sikka joined Ubisoft as Ubisoft’s VP of Global Diversity and Inclusion, a new position at the company that was created as part of an ongoing commitment to building an inclusive working environment at Ubisoft and in the videogame industry at large. Sikka will be responsible for developing and championing diversity initiatives and inclusion strategies across Ubisoft’s global studios and offices.
The Ubisoft News team had the chance to sit down with Sikka a few weeks after her arrival.
Can you share a little about your education and career?
One of my first jobs out of college was joining a news channel in New Delhi called NDTV. I was mandated to produce India’s first live telethon, raising money for the environment.
I then moved to Mumbai to work in entertainment, which was completely new for me. I joined a small television production house to work as a Supervising Producer for Indian Idol (the local version of American Idol), and got to produce a wide range of shows after that.
How did you come to specialize in diversity and inclusion?
I myself didn’t fit that archetype, so when I joined Uber’s Talent team, it was with the goal of challenging that norm and broadening our definition of talent. Over the course of the years I started playing an active role in building inclusion at Uber through launching regional Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), leading the Women at Uber ERG and playing an advisory role to leadership on the topic. My last role at Uber was Head of D&I for the EMEA and APAC regions, and globally for Uber Eats.
Has your international outlook impacted your interest in D&I?
RS: Absolutely. My parents left India to move to the United States when I was a baby. My parents wanted to make sure that I had a smooth upbringing, free from the bias and discrimination that they knew I could face as a first-generation Asian immigrant in the US. With that in mind, in my early years, I never learned Hindi or much about my Indian roots and culture. It was a real cultural shock when we moved back to India, where I was suddenly surrounded by people who looked like me, but didn’t sound like me, nor did we share common cultural references.
Are there any specific learnings or best practices that you acquired in your previous experiences and that you plan to take with you moving forward? RS: I don’t believe there are ‘best practices’ from other companies, but rather good practices that need to be adjusted to each organization. As someone who has led ERGs in the past, I know how difficult yet fulfilling it can be to lead one. From my experience, I know what a strategic role ERGs can play once supported, recognized, and rewarded by the company and I hope to enable that.
Diversity and inclusion are words that get used quite a bit, but what exactly do they mean to you, and how do they manifest at a company like Ubisoft? RS: You’re right – words like diversity, equity and inclusion are being used a lot, especially in the past year, and often incorrectly. Without getting into the literal meaning of these words specifically, what this symbolizes for me is opportunity; change; a better, more inclusive world; and doing the right thing. When we don’t value diversity, equity, and inclusion, we are losing out on immense amounts of opportunity, from a human and business perspective.
The past year has seen a lot of changes for society. How did it impact diversity and inclusion in the workplace?
Over the past decade, several countries made strides in gender equality, increasing representation of women and people of color in the workplace, both overall and in leadership roles. For example, reports show that women are disproportionately impacted by layoffs, as there were more impacts in contact-intensive industries such as hospitality, education, and retail, which tend to have a higher representation of women.
If we look at the impact of COVID-19 on people of color across the world, it's clear that people of color have also suffered disproportionately.
Mar 17, 2021 at 23:24