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Mar 17, 2021

We were honoured to welcome Astrid Balsink, the Global Head of Inclusion and Diversity (I&D) for Philips, to the EMEA Recruitment podcast. 

“Diversity is being invited to the party; Inclusion is being asked to dance.”

Astrid is a passionate I&D leader on a mission. As the Global Head of Inclusion and Diversity for Philips, she is building an ecosystem that creates a movement to drive sustainable change by involving all. Top down and bottom up. 

With a background in journalism and having worked in different multi-nationals – amongst which Nike, Microsoft and DSM – she brings a strong track record in Communications and I&D. Fuelled by a holistic approach that involves head and heart anticipating on the human need to belong. Because only together we can harness the power of dialogue to shift mindsets and paradigms.

Diversity is not a Human Resources thing, nor is it about gender identity or people with purple earrings. Diversity is about how we – as unique individuals – can be our best self and, by doing so, inspire others to do the same (#youareyou). This ambition requires each one of us to actively contribute to building and fostering an inclusive environment (‘Inclusion starts with I’). 

We all need to be open to learn about topics like privilege, bias and allyship. To grow ourselves and others, to be able to contribute and to belong. By connecting all we do through a new, inclusive lens that will spark dialogue, create understanding and energy, we will drive sustainable change. 

Astrid speaks to Paul Toms about her move from journalism to large multi-nationals, how Diversity & Inclusion has grown over time, and the personal passions that she brings to her role.

We also explore the ways that the COVID-19 pandemic may affect Inclusion in the workplace, as well as how data can not only enhance Diversity, but also fuel unconscious bias. 


If you’re looking for a specific part of the episode to listen to, use the timestamps below:

01:11: Missing human connection during the pandemic
02:12: How Astrid defines D&I
03:39: Why Inclusion drives the business case for Diversity
05:20: Making the move from journalism to D&I
07:28: How D&I has grown over the years
11:10: Astrid’s personal values
16:01: How to be a true ally
21:17: Achieving commitment from leadership
23:55: How managers can support their teams
26:05: Why we should focus on creating equity
28:35: Using data as a nice enhancement
31:34: Astrid’s concerns for the future
34:30: Who has influenced Astrid’s career
37:57: Being able to learn every day

If you wish to reach out to Astrid, please connect with her via LinkedIn:


We’re proud to bring you the EMEA Recruitment podcast in partnership with Operation Smile. This is a cause close to Paul’s heart, as he was born with a cleft lip and palate. To find out more about the incredible work that Operation Smile’s volunteers do, please click here:


This episode was hosted by Paul Toms, our Founder, and Rose Jinks, our Senior Marketing Executive.

You can find out more about our services through our website: 

Or via LinkedIn: 

If you’d like to network with Paul, you can connect with him through LinkedIn: 

You can also follow him on Twitter: 


If you have any suggested topics for future episodes of the EMEA Recruitment podcast, please contact Rose at: 


#emearecruitment #emearecruitmentpodcast #astridbalsink #paultoms #inclusionanddiversity #inclusion #diversity #youareyou #operationsmile