#eachforequal #freedom #tomorrowstartstoday
"The freedom to be yourself is an underestimated luxury"

The world we want tomorrow starts with how we do business today. Many Associates at Mars actively support the simple yet layered company vision, launched in 2019. But it makes us wonder: besides the world Mars strives for as a company, what kind of world do our Associates want? And how do they act to make that world come to life? In celebration of  International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, we talked to an associate who is a proud member of the rainbow family on how they are working today on creating a better tomorrow.

Dimitri is Communication & Consumer Care Coordinator in the Corporate Affairs division at Mars Belgium. He’s a man of many colors and shades, often literally. He’s the guy at Mars who’ll bring a smile to your face, with his verbal wit and his sartorial appearance. His extrovert, jaunty fashion sets him that little bit apart. “I grew up in a large, loving family and was always a bit of the odd one out. I still sometimes feel that way, in my private life and professionally. I’ve often wondered why they need to be separated so strictly. Well, they don’t. The past years have taught me a great deal. I used to hide myself away a lot of the time, but that’s just no longer my style. Any time, any place, it’s always the same colorful Dimi. So, embrace what you do differently from the rest instead of shaping yourself to their mould. Free yourself of labels and boxes, and you’ll see the beauty in diversity.”

The diversity he speaks of is a reference to his extrovert nature and his personal predisposition, which even now attracts hackneyed clichés. “People do tend to use labels and preconceptions. If only we would all now loosen up those barriers and realise that our own (cultural) framework is no block of concrete, would we take a more positive approach to one another?"

“About half of what I do is copywriting, the other half is consumer care. The manner in which communication is used sets the tone of what an organisation stands for or who an individual is. I try to bring warmth to our communications. Seasoned with just a hint of irony for our internal messages, haha. I have the freedom to let my creative juices flow in this job. My words can impel people to action. And that can create a ripple in the water.” And so, that said, he endeavours to lead by example. “One day, we were asked to put down in writing how we personally would want to turn the new purpose to practice. I wrote down: ‘I’m gonna kill consumers and colleagues with kindness.” He laughs. And, in so doing, encapsulates himself in a single sentence.

It’s a philosophy that harbours as much beauty as it does danger. For it is grounded in positivity and in giving. Do unto others as you would they do unto you. The extent to which you do that lies in your own discretion. Freedom and mutuality. These are important and sometimes also perilous core values for Dimitri. A few years back, he went through a bad patch. He burned out and ended up in a state of depression. I now realize that there can be no light without shadow. And I no longer live a life of act and consequence. ‘I have to’ has given way to ‘I want to’. No longer do I live with the handbrake applied to the max, although it does occasionally stick a bit. But I can be who I am in what I do. And I am fully aware this freedom is an underestimated luxury that cannot be bought and yet without it, you can’t make a difference.”

Mars Belgium teamed up with The Dreamers, a duo comprised of a journalist and a photographer. They try to paint a picture with only a one hour conversation and an old skool camera as their tools, with dreams and goals as the main topic of conversation. This is their impression.