Andrea Loubier of Mailbird: 5 Steps We Must Take To Truly Create An Inclusive, Representative, and Equitable Society

You have to earn your spot as a leader and for me, this has always come with dedication, commitment, hard work and setting a positive example for others. Leadership is not something you are given, but something you truly earn. Many people due to experience, access to opportunities and key personality drivers are more likely to fit into a leadership position than others. At the same time, leadership is something that can very easily be taught as well — like with most things.

As part of our series about ‘5 Steps We Must Take To Truly Create An Inclusive, Representative, and Equitable Society’ I had the pleasure to interview Andrea Loubier. Andrea is the CEO of Mailbird committed to giving the world the opportunity to build a healthy relationship with technology, starting with email management. Andrea is a Forbes contributor and recognized as one of the leading women in tech within Southeast Asia. Andrea is passionate about balance, the future of work, women in tech, and improving lives through technology.

grew up as a third culture kid. My father is American, my mother Filipino yet I was born in France and lived in 5 different continents growing up. So, as you can imagine, I thrive when being immersed in many different cultures and backgrounds. This is what I grew up with, a widely diverse international setting with many different experiences that enable me to adapt very easily with all kinds of people and cultures. It’s part of the core reasons why I value and chose to create a fully remote company with Mailbird, keeping the future of work top of mind and opening up our hiring pool to the best talents from around the world. I value inclusion, diversity and equality in my everyday life.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

The Alliance, which was recommended to me and it was the perfect time to evaluate and assess what leadership means as you grow your company. The biggest part of it is the fact that many companies have lost touch with their people and building a team culture that deeply resonates with what your building with your vision. Another great takeaway from it all is the fact that the workforce today is very different from the workforce two decades ago. In the 50’s when you landed a job, when an associates degree was still the bare minimum, you were locked into that as your career for life. At least that was the mentality.

Today, with the new generations entering the workforce the ball is in their court. This is fully a result of the impact on job availability and accessibility online with the rapid boom in technology, globally. It’s more common these days if you were looking for a job, to gain experience working there for a year or two, then quickly building up your resume and experience by moving onto a new career, role or position within another company.

The diversity in experience is definitely something I see weighing more in importance when hiring. That alongside cultural fit, impact and value that a person can bring to your team, vision and overall organization. Have an honest conversation with your new hires about their future plans, and where they want to be in the next few years. Because most likely, they will already have a plan in place for their trajectory and path forward to grow professionally. It is our responsibility as employers to support that to build a better future for the world, and happier, engaged and more effective people in the work force.

You cannot force people to work for you. You can only welcome and support their professional growth, work-life balance, cultural development and experience — and set them free when they wish. If you are lucky and do a really great job, your people will be committed to you long term and that is always the ultimate outcome for both employees and employers.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life or your work?

“Everything in moderation.” This is something that keeps coming back through all the different phases and journeys in life and work. There are many sayings internationally that support this statement, as it is the realization that too much of anything is never a good thing. When we create space, action, situations and relationships with moderation in mind, it enables the nature of human kind to find a balance between inner awareness and discovery, and being an integral part of society.

It works in so many different scenarios whether it be how much time you spend connected to digital devices, to how much you allow yourself to be distracted, to how often you allow yourself to have that delicious slice of chocolate cake. It applies in leadership and business development as well. We live in a world where everything is about being the best, the first, the fastest, the richest, the strongest, the most successful, the most beautiful — everything we do in life is about getting the most out of life by rushing through it and doing as much as you possibly can.

The danger with this is that you miss out on the little simplicities in life, the little things that we forget to appreciate — like a simple coffee with a friend. Dedicated, fully engaged focus and attention to a singular moment and interaction. We miss out on the amazing things our world has to offer, which then also has the unfortunate outcome of neglecting our ecosystems. It’s a fine balance — but more and more with time, when we take “Everything in moderation” to heart, I believe this is where we find that beautiful medium and peace in the world with ourselves, with others and with the environment through which we thrive in most.

At Mailbird, we take extra care and attention to this with our passion for helping people live more balanced and happy lives, and a big culprit of this today is our current relationship with technology and the negative implications it has on our overall well being. It is our vision to contribute to fixing this, starting with the most used information technology communication tools in the world today and since the invention of the internet. At Mailbird we live “Everything in moderation” with our vision as an email company, to help people and teams around the world BUILD A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH EMAIL.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

I define leadership as a committed role to delivering to a team of people and to a larger purpose that you and your team are working towards. It means setting the tone, the pace and motivation for yourself and others. It means having influence. Leadership is evident not when you hold a certain title or position, but it shows best by how you approach challenges and opportunities. It’s not directive, but nurturing and supportive.

You have to earn your spot as a leader and for me, this has always come with dedication, commitment, hard work and setting a positive example for others. Leadership is not something you are given, but something you truly earn. Many people due to experience, access to opportunities and key personality drivers are more likely to fit into a leadership position than others. At the same time, leadership is something that can very easily be taught as well — like with most things.

And when you earn leadership, you don’t get to keep it forever, but instead you have to continue to be consistent in delivering leadership qualities — that means showing up every single day for yourself and for your team. It means being an amazing listener and being adaptable to many situations, and this is not something that everyone is capable of doing. We need leaders in the world, in order to hep us stay focused, to support us, to guide us and to also challenge us to continuously improve and develop. A great leader knows how to handle stress, how to celebrate and recognize others and how to take all the $!@% from everyone really well. Being a leader is not an easy job, but a role that you commit to and get on stage for, each and every day. Great leaders as the right questions and build great teams. Great leaders know how to nurture future leaders. I fully believe in this as this is how leadership is approached at Mailbird.

In my work, I often talk about how to release and relieve stress. As a busy leader, what do you do to prepare your mind and body before a stressful or high stakes meeting, talk, or decision? Can you share a story or some examples?

Stress management is one of the more challenging things for people to handle, and it negatively affects our overall ability to think clearly and feel good. At Mailbird, because creating healthy relationships and interactions is at our core within our company culture and business solutions, we take extra care when it comes to stress management. With many people having experienced burn out at one point or another, it’s clear that it is still something today that is not given enough intervention, care or management.

Happy, balanced teams are more productive, less stressed and able to enjoy their work with purpose, drive and commitment. So, stress management is something that we give a lot of care and attention to. You can ask anyone on our team about how Mailbird supports their levels of stress and helps with managing it. When it comes to being a busy leader, before you have to take on an important meeting or decision to make, where the stakes are high and stress is a natural outcome here’s my recipe:

  1. First eliminate things with lower priorities so you can declutter your mind and focus.
  2. Set focused time aside to assess the full situation fairly and realistically.
  3. Do your research.
  4. Get validation from others.
  5. Organize your information.
  6. Consider all potential scenarios and outcomes.
  7. Make a plan for all scenarios and outcomes.
  8. Approach the situation with mindfulness, respect and openness.
  9. Focus on the facts, and leave emotions out of it (even if that can be tough to do at times depending on the situation).
  10. Take the time to process everything with a mutual interest of coming to an agreement that everyone can support — then move on to the next thing to focus on.

A good reminder is that in all these tough situations, there is always more to life than just this one thing. Stay focused on the positive and find the right opportunities, and this thing we call “stress” becomes a thing of the past in all life situations. There is a fine balance of caring a lot vs. letting go.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. The United States is currently facing a very important self-reckoning about race, diversity, equality and inclusion. This is of course a huge topic. But briefly, can you share your view on how this crisis inexorably evolved to the boiling point that it’s at now?

I find the current state of affairs with regards to race, diversity and inclusion shocking that it still is an issue in the current generation we are in. Because I am someone that comes from a diverse background, and have been exposed to so many different kinds of people differentiated by race, sex, orientation and socio-economic classes I’m very fortunate to have a stronger understanding and assimilation with all under represented people or groups around the world. I fully believe it stems from fear and mis-information — people act hateful and negatively to things they don’t understand or if they feel their values are threatened.

There’s a lot of history when it comes to under-represented people. Judgement that is both active, passive and even subconscious emerges sometimes in the most subtle manner. Consider all types of people who have had less opportunity and how focusing on differences creates these really unfortunate outcomes. When it’s something that has gone as far as it has with hate, it deeply saddens me and makes me question the state of humanity. It’s so important more than ever these days to find commonality, where we can find assimilation with one another as humans. We need a unified world across all countries, cultures and underrepresented people that supports one another, that brings positivity, care and mindfulness.

This is a topic that I’m extremely sensitive about, and even at minor scales have experienced myself as a minority, “third culture kid” and female executive and founder within an industry that is dominated and subconsciously bias by one gender. The ideal of success still looks very old school to many in the top 1% of the world. This is unfortunate, because those who are underrepresented will always have to overcome extra challenges that their counterparts do not. We need more influence from leaders that are and are not typecast as the traditional image of success to speak up and work together to shift the mindset away from separation, to inclusion and equal opportunities and love for people around the world.

Can you tell our readers a bit about your experience working with initiatives to promote Diversity and Inclusion? Can you share a story with us?

As a ethnic and female executive minority in tech, I have values, and so do we as a company at Mailbird. It’s crucial to stick by these values in order to stand up for what you represent. As an influential counterpart and entity in the world, it’s never going to be worth it to step down from values that bring support and inclusion for the world. As individuals on the Mailbird team who hold ourselves to these strong, positive cultural values we want to always support spreading the message of love and understanding which brings the world together. These small acts are so important for making positive change happen, to create an inclusive, representative, and equitable society. I really dream of a world like this, without hate, judgement or fear. We will get there one day at a time, but we need to put the effort in.

In support of the recent pride month, Mailbird joined many other top tech organizations in supporting the movement. As a fully diverse team of people from around the world, and as a company that values inclusion and equality for all people who are doing great things for others, without judgment — it is our duty to celebrate all the wonderful people in the world during recognition times like pride month, international women’s day, black pride month and many others. When we publicly expressed our support of pride month by changing our logo from blue to the colors of the rainbow, I was shocked that there were some angry responses to it and this also was a sensitive topic to our team. In some cases, the fear of the impact of these angry responses to our business might have one revert any support of these positive causes in the world. However, despite the comments, we had so much more positive support for it.

This may be obvious to you, but it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you articulate to our readers a few reasons why it is so important for a business or organization to have a diverse executive team?

It’s very simple. When you have diversity and representation within any team — executive or not — you gain the opportunity for the best problem solving, considerations of all things that may affect people differently (both your internal team and your end users/customers) and you gain the best solutions. It also facilitates growth end development within that executive team, when diversity is a part the assembly.

Ok. Here is the main question of our discussion. You are an influential business leader. Can you please share your “5 Steps We Must Take To Truly Create An Inclusive, Representative, and Equitable Society”. Kindly share a story or example for each.

Here are the things that I make a point to consider:

  1. Ensure to listen, learn and understand without judgement and with intention to build stronger systems that are comprised of the diversity and collaboration of people.
  2. Make inclusion something that is celebrated and rewarded.
  3. Focus on individual achievements, rather than the sex, race, gender or orientation of a person.
  4. Make room for opportunity for underrepresented people.
  5. Create positive experiences within diverse teams that bond people and celebrate differences and the highly positive outcome it has on both our personal and professional development as contributors to the future.

We are going through a rough period now. Are you optimistic that this issue can eventually be resolved? Can you explain?

I choose to be optimistic, but the road to getting there I know will be slow and challenging. In media we focus heavily on a lot of negativity associated with differences and the brutal outcomes of these differences that end up in hate, war, fighting, negativity and a siloed, narrow scope of the world at large. What needs to happen over the course of the next decade is attentiveness and intention in our communication, actions and support of positive outcomes of celebrating diversity, inclusion and collaboration with human kind. We need to stop labeling and boxing people into one type of negative association, and appreciate history and culture that has an impact on how humans face the world today. Just like any adult and how they experience the world today, will be tremendously shaped by the experiences they have growing up through childhood. Education is the key and finding solutions to enable more opportunities for inclusion and equality in our society. Everyone deserves a fair chance at life. The covid crisis is a prime example of this — no matter what your ethnic background, race, gender, orientation or socio-economic status….for the first time in the world, it was a blink and moment where everyone as human kind, as a species were on a level playing field. We all went through it together and we did the best we could to support each other through it. That is remarkable.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Alan Henry, a journalist from Lifehacker. It has been a long while since we’ve been in touch, almost 8 years now. I admire the stories he covers as it is relevant to what we are doing at Mailbird. I’d love to connect with him to discuss the current situation as we both can share experiences given the current situations in the world. I’d like to talk with him about his thoughts on the future, and how technology can play a large role in supporting an all inclusive, diverse, healthy, balanced society that thrives.

How can our readers follow you online?

Facebook —

Linkedin —

Twitter —

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

Learn more about Meditation