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Meet Visma’s Champions: Nataliya Ilieva & Marie Norberg

At Visma, our Champions are leading peer-to-peer communities that are essential to our success – bridging companies, countries, and various fields of expertise. Join us in celebrating these Champions and explore how they empower their colleagues.

Visma Champions

With 15,300 coworkers, someone working solo is never really alone in their field. Because in a company the size and make of Visma, there’s always someone facing similar challenges and experiencing similar wins. That’s why our peer-to-peer communities – overlapping companies, countries, and time zones – are essential to our success. And those peer-to-peer communities would not be possible without our Champions: colleagues with knowledge of and experience with a specific competence, who dedicate time to help their peers with questions and challenges.

In this series, we interview Champions of our different communities and discuss what sparked their interest in becoming a Champion and helping others. Today, we’re sitting down with Nataliya Ilieva, product manager at iAsset, and Marie Norberg, a content manager for Visma Draftit. They’re both Champions of Visma’s diversity and inclusion (D&I) community.

How and why did you become a Champion?

Nataliya: “At the previous Visma company I worked at, Visma Connect, I was part of a D&I committee. I’d say that we were doing a pretty good job, and Visma Connect was even recognised and awarded for being a diverse employer. A colleague introduced me  to the D&I community and I immediately felt like that was a perfect opportunity to share my experiences from the committee and with our successes.”

Marie: “I’ve always been quite outspoken about D&I in both my personal and professional life. My children are part of the LGBTQI+ community and I feel like it’s my duty to stand up for their rights. They once told me: “We don’t have to stand on the barricades, you’re already doing that for us. We can just go and live our lives”. So, when I was approached to join the D&I community, it was an easy decision.”

How have you helped your community so far?

Nataliya: “I think that our D&I community might be a bit different than peer-to-peer communities that are based around skills or expertise. Our efforts are mostly about spreading awareness. Our main purpose is to make sure that D&I is part of every Visma employee’s daily work – an added layer, if you will, to a project, team, or company. Personally, I like to do this by writing articles about my experiences and from my own perspective, or about subjects I’m particularly interested in.”

Marie: “My main goal in this community is to offer people a safe space. Colleagues can talk to me about anything they might be dealing with regarding D&I, and I’ll listen and offer my advice if they want it. I’ve also spoken at seminars internally about situations my son has dealt with, like being called out in public. I’ve been told I “make D&I feel more real”, which I’m really proud of.”

What do you get out of being a Champion?

Nataliya: “To me, it’s the connections and network I’ve built, and being able to share and discuss relatable experiences. I feel a sense of joy whenever somebody comments on an article I’ve written about something I’ve gone through, like: “Hey, we think alike!” Connecting with people from all over the world, all with their own perspectives and  references, is the best remedy to any biases you might have.”

Marie: “I have yet to stop learning since becoming a D&I Champion. I’ve learned that I’m not perfect, I have biases like everyone else, but I’m aware of them and continue to develop myself. Speaking with colleagues from all corners of the world really makes me realise the importance of our community! Someone even mentioned that their workplace is the only place where they can be their 100% authentic selves, because here at Visma we accept everyone for who they truly are. It feels great that the D&I community contributes to this.”

Would you recommend being a Champion?

Nataliya: “If you’re willing to step out of your comfort zone. It can be nerve wrecking but so rewarding! It’s a wonderful way to keep on learning and making connections.”

Marie: “I think it’s one of the best ways to broaden your horizon. I was a bit hesitant at first because I’m not fluent in English, but then I realised that that’s also a part of inclusion. Now, I’m so happy that I stepped over that mental barrier and became a Champion.”

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