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Eduardo Matos: An Advocate for Belonging

Innovation

Although ADM’s Eduardo Matos,has been an engineer for 20 years, now serving as our Enviornment, Health & Safety Manager for Oilseeds in Brazil, his roots are actually in fighting racial prejudice. In fact, in 1993 he founded an NGO to combat prejudice with fellow students from a college in Brazil’s countryside. Today, he volunteers with NGOs to talk about inclusion and equity, gender identity, and sexual orientation in São Paulo’s underprivileged communities.

 

“I am happy to bring these themes into my work as well. Fighting for respect and representation is something I learned early on from my mother. I believe in the power and ability of people to make a difference," said Matos.

 We asked Eduardo about how he continues his activism, and how we can foster belonging. 

 

Why are you so passionate about teaching D&I?

 I come from a generation where talking about DE&I in Brazil was only applied to the cultural and sports sectors. Nowadays, a lot has changed and, despite not having many examples of DE&I when I was younger, I have the opportunity to be an agent of transformation and to see a different world. When we talk about DE&I in companies, I believe that changes happen in two ways. We generate that, and it changes us into something better. DE&I is urgent and necessary. It's a historic repair. I want my child to be a citizen of the world, to have respect, and to promote it.

 

How does your activism affect your work life?

 Race issue is a complex issue in Brazil and discussions on the subject are, fortunately, bringing this complexity to light, with the potential to generate real transformation. I live in a country where racial prejudice is still strong, but many people don't talk about it; it's something veiled. It is necessary to talk openly about race to fight prejudice, fight for respect, talk, support, and help people to believe in their dreams. I apply these principles all the time at work.

 

What can we do to ensure people feel included?

I have a practice of calling people to talk. I called the interns to show an example that there is a great way to go and help in self-esteem. I also told them my story. Young people need to see that there are examples of successful people, that they can get there too. I believe that to ensure that people feel really included, it is necessary to talk, support, and listen. Together we are starting to make a difference, and that is essential.