In the pursuit of gender equality, Adelaida was willing to go the distance (and then some)

March 30, 2017

Bloomberg employees give back to local communities with their talents, time and hearts. Adelaida Hassan from the Singapore office, reflects on her volunteer experiences at Bloomberg – and how they’ve empowered her to fight gender inequality from anywhere in the world.

From dawn till dusk, they walked. Eight hours a day. Up and down sand dunes. All under the pounding sun in one of the world’s least forgiving environments, Adelaida Hassan and a team of 12 women walked 8 days – determined to make history. They would be the first all-female team to hike across Iran’s Dasht-e Lut desert, a spot NASA satellites say once reached 159°F.

So why, you might ask, would anyone do that? Adelaida, Bloomberg’s lead for the Financial Instrument Global Identifier (FIGI) on the Global Data team in the Singapore office, is no stranger to pushing her limits. This trek was connected to her life’s mission: raising awareness about women’s issues and gender equality.

“As a member of the Bloomberg Women’s Community, I attended an ASEAN Women in Leadership Summit last year,” said Adelaida. “There, I met the co-founder of an organization called Women on a Mission, which organizes ladies to go on an expedition each year to fundraise for Women for Women International, an inspirational charity that provides rehabilitation programs for female survivors of war. I felt like I’ve found my tribe – a group of women who were passionate about philanthropy, yet adrenaline junkies who loved putting their body and mind to the test.”

Adelaida trekked Iran’s Dasht-e Lut desert to raise funds for Women for Women International, a program supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies

Adelaida trekked Iran’s Dasht-e Lut desert to raise funds for Women for Women International, a program supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

But a march across the desert wasn’t enough to satisfy her need to give back and raise awareness – she also volunteered an additional 83 hours in her own personal time in 2016 through Bloomberg’s various charity partners in Singapore.

“There were just too many interesting volunteer opportunities I couldn’t bear to pass up!” she said. “Physical construction work, building robots with children, Bloomberg Startup mentoring, feeding the disabled – I couldn’t say no to these opportunities.”

Some of her favorite activities include laying bricks and building homes in Batam for Habitat for Humanity Singapore, and running a Bloomberg Startup youth robotics program with Club Rainbow, a local charity dedicated to providing assistive services to children with chronic and life threatening diseases.

During the Batam Build, a Habitat for Humanity project, Adelaida (second from right) takes a break to converse with children.

During the Batam Build, a Habitat for Humanity project, Adelaida (second from right) takes a break to converse with children.

“In robotics, my Bloomberg colleagues and I help students pick up the basic concepts and mechanics behind building and programming a robot,” Adelaida said. “It’s a lot of problem solving and creative thinking (and crowd control).”

Adelaida (center) and colleagues lead a Bloomberg Startup robotics workshop for local students in the Singapore office.

Adelaida (center) and colleagues lead a Bloomberg Startup robotics workshop for local students in the Singapore office.

For Adelaida, the motivation to stay involved comes from the people she meets –whether it’s chatting with a new homeowner after helping to build their house or seeing the sense of accomplishment in a child’s face when they finally get their robot working.

“These are moments you don’t really experience elsewhere – and it’s because I work at Bloomberg.” she said. “The partnerships we have with Philanthropy and with the Bloomberg Women’s Community have given me access to unique experiences I would have missed if I didn’t work here.”

Coming from the world of finance in particular, the Bloomberg Women’s Community has become a new home for Adelaida – pushing her professionally in ways she never anticipated and giving her a place to discuss issues she deeply cares about.

“We are extremely fortunate at Bloomberg to have women so supported in the workplace – but this is definitely not the case in the larger finance industry,” she said. “Our senior leaders talk the talk: from Peter Grauer’s (Chairman of Bloomberg LP) passion for the 30% Club, to the strong examples of our female senior leadership and the many exemplary male leaders willing to lend their political capital to our cause.”

Adelaida says she has found a place for her passions at Bloomberg – an open, flat and dynamic workplace where leaders are bold in talking about innovation and serious about the fight for gender equity.

Read more about our work with Habitat for Humanity and local non-profits in our Bloomberg 35: Being part of the everyday lives in our communities post.