Interview with Fiona Dormandy

Sarah Ingwersen Career Advice, International Women's Day

Taylor Root is proud to be supporting International Women's Day 2020. International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Whilst we all know that gender parity within the workplace has improved over the past decades, we all also know that there is still a long way to go.

We interviewed Fiona Dormandy, General Counsel EMEA at Airbnb.


The theme for IWD2020 is #EachforEqual. Have you experienced gender stereotypes/gender bias in a professional context? If so, how have you been able to challenge this?

Unconscious bias was particularly strong during my law firm days and undoubtedly contributed to my decision to move in-house where I found many more female role models including a very strong GC. I hope that by reaching GC level myself and combining a successful career with raising 3 children shows other women (and men) that it is possible.

If you mentor professionals at the early stages of their careers, do they/have they encountered different equality issues than you experienced at the same stage in your career? What changes have you seen?

I hope that like me at that stage, young people assume they will not be disadvantaged because of their gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation. I believe that a lot has changed in 20 years but we should not take for granted that momentum will always continue, as leaders today we need to look out for obstacles and try to remove them from the paths of the leaders of tomorrow.

How do you think parental leave should be approached in 2020?

Parental leave should be for "parents" and giving men and women an equal chance to share responsibility and time at home in the early months is key. I would add that I think the medical profession and schools need to share responsibility here and treat male parents as equally capable as women. Men can experience discrimination in a parenting context and I have often thought that my office is a lot more inclusive than what we've encountered in a family context.

What have you or your business implemented to achieve positive changes for an equal workforce?

At Airbnb we have a number of initiatives including local office affinity groups for women, sponsorship and mentoring programmes and of course we celebrate IWD!