Isis Almeida is a senior reporter covering agricultural commodities for Bloomberg in Chicago, writing about everything from cocoa to sugar, wheat to soybeans, and animal protein markets. In her current role, she covers markets globally and also follows some of the top companies in the industry. Isis joined Bloomberg in 2011 as a soft-commodities reporter in London.
She has also covered European power and gas markets and global LNG. Prior to Bloomberg, she covered biofuels for S&P Global Platts and was also a copy editor for Dow Jones Newswires. A native of Brazil, Isis has lived in The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, France and the U.K. before moving to the U.S.
Hello Isis, thank you for participating in our “Women in Commodities” series. Tell me, does being a woman make your job harder?
I think being a woman has advantages and disadvantages, and that’s no different for men. Women are in many cases better listeners and better at gauging personalities. That can make building trust quicker and easier.
I understand that Bloomberg has a programme, New Voices, to expand female sources. Can you tell me a little about that?
Yes, the New Voices programme is aimed at increasing our representation of female sources and other diverse experts across our platforms. Journalists track stories that cite or quote a woman expert. We also have a global database of women experts that includes more than 2,300 names now.
What is Bloomberg doing specifically to promote gender equality in the workplace and among sources?
In order to help increase the number of women interviewed across platforms, Bloomberg began funding a media training program for women executives in business and finance.
The company is also committed to promoting gender and diversity efforts on several fronts, in the newsroom and beyond.
You have recently moved to Chicago. That sounds like a great promotion, but a challenging one. Can you tell us more about that move? How is it going?
I had been covering agricultural commodities from London for the best part of the past 8 years and moving to the U.S. was a great chance for me to experience the American market first hand. Chicago is the centre of agriculture trading, especially for grains and oilseeds. And it’s also not far from New York, where a lot of the soft-commodity traders are located.
Being here enables me to expand my knowledge and source base, making me a better and more well rounded reporter. It also gives me the opportunity to work with a different set of people, which brings a whole new challenge.
The commodity world is said to be predominantly male: has that presented any particular difficulties?
I would say the leadership in commodities is predominantly male. I think remaining professional and objective is key to gaining respect in any industry you cover, whether you are a man or woman.
What do you think the commodity trading companies should do to promote more women?
One thing that catches my eye is that as agricultural commodity traders refocus to be more integrated food companies, more women are starting to work at them.
Louis Dreyfus’ boss recently said that they have a gender-equal policy. Do you think that trading companies should have positive discrimination towards women?
I think we are seeing more companies (and that includes commodity and non-commodity firms) train their staff to be more aware of unconscious bias, which is already a step toward achieving gender balance and diversity.
Thank you Isis for your time!
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