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Frederike Schoonheim,
Hoofd People & Culture bij Dopper

The context:Diversity, equity & inclusion (DE&I) at Dopper


At Dopper, we are a 'business for good'. We have our mission: we want to empower people to choose reusable water bottles over single-use plastic water bottles. So, we are a company with a mission to create a better world. I think that, in a sense, we are always looking at doing everything “right.”


When George Floyd was killed a few years ago, there were people at Dopper who said “we have to do something.” So, we started a “Culture Group” to talk about DE&I at Dopper. It was during this group – we met about once a month – that we would talk and talk and talk, but we didn’t actually know what to do or how to take action.


In the meantime, our CEO Virginia Yanquilevich met Bernice at a conference and she (Virginia) realized that perhaps we need help with DE&I in a more structured way. We decided to start working with Bernice because she could help us with knowledge on the subject. We all know something about DE&I, but not the whole story. We wanted to learn more about DE&I, but we also wanted to create a vision on this topic and that’s where the magic came when we worked with Bernice.


In short, DE&I was already important to us and we tried to do something ourselves, but we realized that sometimes you just need help from a professional like Bernice to drive change in a more structured way with the right knowledge.


The approach: Diving into DE&I together 


Together with Bernice, we did online workshops with the whole company. In those workshops, we learned about DE&I – for example, we had a workshop on how unconscious biases work. Of course, you know that bias exists but it turns out there are a lot more biases than we think. These workshops were really about knowledge and diving into a subject in order to create a vision statement.


The next step was starting to work on that statement with the whole company. This was quite interesting because we were a total of 50 people at that time, so it was impossible to create a statement with all of us but Bernice designed an effective program with questions where everyone could give input.


So, we were able to use input from all our colleagues to create a joint vision statement. Here’s a small part of our statement:


"Dopper exists to change behaviour. To change the system. To change the world into a place with crystal clear water, in every ocean, from every tap. Shaping that sustainable future for everyone, begins with including everyone."


We launched the statement during one of our quarterly meetings where we printed it on a poster, and then we had everyone sign it as a way to say “yes, I am committed to this statement.”


The impact: Taking action 


What happened is that the topic of DE&I is now more “on the table” for everybody, but I also think we still have some work to do. One of the things we realized is, while we are a sustainability-driven company, we are also in this sustainability “bubble,” so a lot of our customers are already interested in sustainability. However, we also want to reach people who are not thinking about things like plastic waste or eating less meat. When your company is in a “green bubble” on the inside, it will reflect on the outside. That’s something we talked about a lot and I think it’s something have to explore further: Who do we want to reach and how do we reach these people?


For me, as the Head of People & Culture, looking at something like recruitment is interesting. What can we do to make our team more diverse? When you look at a group photo of the Dopper team, there is diversity, but as we are an international company, I think it’s still not as diverse as it can be. So, there’s still some work to do.


Basically, what happened is that we started thinking about DE&I more and more, and how we can take concrete action.

"Overall, it’s really fun working with Bernice. She has a good mix of enthusiasm and professionalism – she knows what she’s talking about and she’s also a very nice person."

The future of DE&I at Dopper


Now that we’ve launched our vision statement within the company, the next step is to have Bernice come to Dopper again to speak with all the teams. We have the statement and now it’s time to find out what the statement means for each person and their team. What does it mean for recruitment, for marketing, for people & culture? Now, we are going to work in smaller groups and translate the statement to our daily jobs so that we can actually start putting our vision into practice.


Overall, it’s really fun working with Bernice. She has a good mix of enthusiasm and professionalism – she knows what she’s talking about and she’s also a very nice person. She brings fun and humor to this really serious subject. When we were working on the statement, it was difficult because we had so much to say. We came up with the statement, but Bernice definitely helped to tweak it and focused on the details. I loved working with her and I’m really looking forward to our follow-up sessions with her.


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