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A woman who knows her worth

‘I like the Dutch sobriety and the Moroccan culture’

A woman who knows what she is worth and what she stands for. A bridge builder who moves very naturally between two cultures, using her multiple identity as a strength. As a self-confident Moroccan and Dutch businesswoman, Nadira Ettahiri feels the urgency for more cultural diversity in the workplace. Her reintegration agency is the first agency to focus explicitly on this. This year (almost as a matter of course) the first occupational health and safety service for non-native speakers in the Netherlands is the result.

Nadira believes in the power of cultural diversity in the workplace. “Cultural diversity ties in at every level within the labor market and – in my view – should start at the top of an organization. Joining forces, helping each other, activating, motivating and thus jointly bearing responsibility for our society.”

The bigger picture, giving something back to the community, making an impact. For Nadira this is twofold. On a business level, she is passionate about promoting more cultural diversity in the workplace. She is personally committed to providing young girls with education for as long as possible and empowers women with multiple identities to use their talents. “Both missions overlap. Every organization – the labor market in its entirety – should be a reflection of our society. Both in equality between ethnic and cultural backgrounds and in equality with regard to development and growth prospects. This is a requirement to ensure the future sustainability of an economically healthy labor market.”

suitable work for everyone

Its mission is to achieve recognition for employees from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds and their talents. “Excellence in the labor market by connecting and empowering people, with a focus on non-native speakers,” says Nadira. With her knowledge of reintegration and absenteeism, she understands all too well how complex this matter is. “Suitable work for everyone! That goes beyond what we’re doing now. It’s about the power of diversity, equality, and about making a difference for people. It serves a much greater social interest.”

Nadira hopes that future generations will become more aware (at a younger age) of the power of a multiple identity; also use their multiculturalism as extra competence. “I hope that they will look for a job in the right environment sooner, where the added value is seen and appreciated. That they can use their strength and develop themselves optimally. I can’t stand it when talent goes untapped.”

“The Netherlands is brimming with cultural, multilingual talent. Let’s join forces, strengthen each other!” Although extremely interested and correct, this driven entrepreneur likes clear, direct communication. She makes no bones about it. “Having a multiple identity is a blessing; as an employee you are by definition already ahead by 1-0. Fortunately, more and more employers are seeing this and are taking advantage of the opportunities it offers them.”

Magic happens

As an experience expert, she knows that when someone with a multiple identity is surrounded by a company in which multiple cultural and ethnic backgrounds are represented, magic occurs. “It feels like coming home. It is a natural fact that recognition strengthens the carrying capacity – and therefore also the identity – within a group.”

Her organisation, Abtro reintegration agency, which has since grown into a national service with international allure, is living proof. With a team of multilingual professionals from various ethnic backgrounds, great value is attached to the cultural aspects within the organization. “Serving Moroccan mint tea and serving Turkish baklava at the office is the most normal thing in the world. I feel blessed with a team that inspires, supports each other and in which there is a lot of room for the development of each talent.”

connecting cultures

All reintegration professionals have extensive professional knowledge, language and cultural knowledge. “Our services are fully focused on the needs of non-native speakers. Precisely that niche that employers often get stuck in,” explains the CEO. “We connect cultures and that is necessary in an internationalizing world. We help people, organizations and the government, among other things, with 2nd track and 3rd track reintegration programs for non-native speakers, language training and offer advice and coaching in finding suitable work.”

Parallel to the reintegration office, the entrepreneur set up the first occupational health and safety service for non-native speakers in the Netherlands this summer. With this she takes another (solid) step in the direction of her mission. “Indeed, we go a step further in this, and can completely unburden employers across the board and help employees even better. The language barrier is no longer an issue and the mutual understanding remains intact, because we work exclusively with multilingual professionals. The company doctors, labor experts and case managers are all professionals with multiple identities.”

true wealth

She herself experiences the cultural diversity with which she grew up as true wealth. Her knowledge of the Dutch language and culture is of a high level, she likes clarity, order and structure. Her love for her Moroccan roots runs deep. She especially likes the haute de couture, the architecture and authentic dishes. “I love the Dutch sobriety and the traditional Moroccan culture. As a little girl I already had a predilection for international allure. We are all global citizens who have more in common than we think. Let’s focus on that, because we can learn so much from each other and complement each other so well,” said the wise woman. “I am grateful for this enriching life experience, for the opportunities and possibilities that have been given to me. My multiple identity makes me unique.”

Her dream is to excel even more in the labor market. “You can make dreams come true, but they don’t come out of the blue. It is hard work. Life is made up of trials. From life lessons that make you grow. You can’t lose potential,” she emphasizes again. “Knowledge is power. World orientation is essential for your personal development. Everyone is born with one or more talents, but this is not always recognized. You have to discover it, research it, develop it, apply it and then share it. Only in this way can you make each other stronger.”

Contribute to a better world

With that in mind, Abtro reintegration agency donates 5 percent of the proceeds of each trajectory to charities and is a regular donor of The School Girls of Azaghar Foundation. This organization supports young girls in the high mountain areas of northern Morocco to receive education for as long as possible. “Young people are the future and we want to invest in it. By working with us or working with us, you not only make a difference at a local level, but also contribute to a better world.”

She has no problem taking the lead in this. “It is our duty to help others, especially orphans, the underprivileged and the needy, for whom not everything is self-evident. There are so many intelligent, highly educated women working in business who are indispensable to society. We have so much talent, at all levels and from all cultural backgrounds. It is high time that we appreciate these women and their rightful position, shine in the full light.”