An SDG Pioneer for Economic Empowerment of Refugees

Danielle Pieroni is bringing her expertise in people — how to train and help them find jobs — to help female refugees begin new lives in Brazil.

As Chief Operating Officer of Foxtime Recursos Humanos, Danielle plays a crucial role in the Empowering Refugees Project, an initiative of the Human Rights and Labour Group of the Global Compact Network Brazil. The project was started to expand female refugees’ access to registered employment in Brazil. It does this by helping the refugee women directly as well as raising awareness among local businesses of the refugees’ skills and capacities for work.

Foxtime is a human resources agency in Sao Paulo that links job seekers with employers. It also provides a variety of services for employees and companies, from coaching to background checks to business services such as payroll processing. It dedicates itself to serving the needs of all its clients.

Danielle revamped the company’s business practices to align with many of the Sustainable Development Goals, placing particular emphasis on Goal 5 on Gender Equality and Goal 8 on Decent Work and Economic Growth. Gender equality is important to this small company led by women. It has launched internal campaigns to teach employees about the importance of Goal 5. In conjunction with UN Women (United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women), Foxtime supported a lecture for its employees on domestic violence against women.

While the company adheres to Goal 8 in the treatment of its own employees, the commitment to providing decent work and economic growth has forced it to turn away some potential employers that did not offer decent working conditions. It was a difficult decision to take for a small company with less than 400 employees. Yet Foxtime remains devoted to its principles.

Danielle helps run workshops that help refugee women with their finances and careers, study Portuguese, and learn about their rights as refugees, women and workers in Brazil. Danielle also is leading a group of coaches whom hold weekly coaching sessions to help motivate the women, hone their skills and find jobs in the Brazilian labour market. The agency also helps refugees who lose their jobs to find new employers.

Foxtime has been participating in the UN Global Compact since 2013 and its values are aligned with the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact. Danielle has streamlined the company’s business practices, for example, moving its paper archives and its hiring process online. She also created a code of ethics and ombudsman position, to which any employee can report anonymously.

In addition to the Empowering Refugee Women project initiated by Network Brazil, Danielle leads the agency’s efforts to help all refugees, both men and women, find jobs. Foxtime is also developing a vocational training project for housekeepers that will connect refugees with the agency’s hotel clients. The new project is scheduled to begin before the end of 2018. Foxtime is also developing ways to help the influx of refugees from Venezuela.

To expand awareness of how a small company can improve society, Danielle lectures at universities, fairs and workshops for students and professionals. Foxtime has successfully used social media to help female refugees acquire the skills for decent work that will lead to their financial independence and better lives.

The Empowering Refugee Women Project also works with local businesses to clarify the hiring process surrounding refugees and make them aware of the refugees’ skills and capacities as employees.

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