As a recruiter, Stuart Young sees people of all backgrounds walk through the doors of Shell. And he wouldn’t have it any other way. As a huge proponent of diversity, he has dedicated his career to ensuring that “the system works for all different types of people.”
From those of various cultural backgrounds to people with disabilities, Stuart strives to “make sure we get the best out of everyone” by really understanding and supporting differences.
“We don’t just do diversity for diversity’s sake,” he says. “It’s really about celebrating those differences and getting the most out of them. The purpose of diversity at the end of the day is to help innovate…It ultimately helps us become a better company.”
Stuart’s passion for diversity springs from his own unique background. Part Cree and part Scottish, he grew up on a reserve and minored in Aboriginal Studies. One of his goals has been to honor his culture—and Shell has given him just the environment to do so. In addition to making diversity an integral part of the hiring process, Stuart is involved in many of Shell’s Diversity and Inclusion groups, including the Indigenous Network. In addition, he plays key roles on the leadership teams for the LGBT Network and the enABLE Network, a group that supports those with disabilities.
For Stuart, groups like enABLE are especially meaningful. Ever since childhood, he’s lived with mental illness—a disability that, at first, he was hesitant to disclose to his colleagues. “I thought there would be a negative connotation and it really might hurt my career,” he says. However, after speaking with his mentors and his supervisor at the time, Stuart found the courage to open up about his disability. “I looked at everything Shell stood for around supporting individuals,” he says. “It encouraged me to take that step of faith and tell people what I was going through.”
The response was nothing short of remarkable. Stuart was met with overwhelming support from everyone he spoke to, which “lifted huge weights” off his shoulders. “What I’ve learned is to really be myself,” he says. “It was an incredibly positive experience for me.”
To Stuart, this accepting environment is what truly makes Shell stand out as a company. He describes their culture as one that “really celebrates the individuality of everyone.”
“When I came to Shell, I thought I had to look and be a certain way…[because] it’s a big company. I was so relieved after a few months, realizing that I was encouraged to be myself,” he says.
In addition to its supportive culture, Stuart raves about Shell’s passion for change agents—the people “who are willing to push buttons and challenge the status quo.” As someone who’s constantly coming up with new ideas, he’s proud to say that this drive has “always been met with enthusiasm.”
Beyond that, what has really impressed Stuart is the opportunity for everyone to be change agents, even the youngest team members. “At Shell, you hit the ground running,” he says. Graduates and interns have “responsibility and respect right off the bat” and are given meaningful, impactful work.
“It doesn’t matter what you do. If you’re a recruiter, an engineer, a scientist, a commercial analyst, everything you do ultimately has an impact in making this company better and providing energy more efficiently in a real way,” he says.