My D&I Journey with:
Global Head of Diversity Equity & Inclusion
1. What was your journey into diversity and inclusion?
My career started in the music business as an artist manager. I then moved into recruitment and spent some time in the learning and development and talent management space. While working on talent management programmes, I reflected that it didn’t seem that we discussed diversity in our work around talent development. My manager at the time encouraged me to write a strategy for the business unit I was in and apply for a role in what was a newly formed DE&I team. I wasn’t sure about this move as, at the time, DE&I wasn’t taken that seriously by business and I felt like it could be a vanity project. However, the new team had an exciting mandate, and I jumped at the chance to be the change I wanted to see.
2. How would you describe a typical day in your role?
I don’t think this role has a typical day; this work is vast. Sometimes I am in meetings with our sustainability and business strategy team. Or I am working with my HR colleagues on processes/practices – other times working with my team on strategy and how it interconnects with our business goals. You might also find me working with our communications/brand marketing teams to see how we continue to tell our story and reflect our consumers in our various projects. At the heart of everything I am doing, I am connecting business performance back to the subject of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
3. What is the best part of your job?
I use various skills, storytelling, creativity, and analytical knowledge to drive conversations around DE&I. I am constantly learning, testing new ideas, and advancing this conversation to impact my organization. I also get to meet some phenomenal people doing some super-important work worldwide. Currently, I am working in a creative business with some passionate but humble people, and it has been eye-opening and insightful to learn from them to keep this work moving forward.
4. What advice would you give to someone looking to move into D&I?
Understand what you would like to do in the DE&I space. Is it more policy-focused? Do you want to do work with a more civil rights focus? Then pick your area of DE&I based on what you want to influence. Understand we all own DE&I in businesses, so consider how you show up as a leader and influence in this your work now. Finally, like any department, the DE&I function supports the business fiscal performance, representation and reputation.
5. What are the main challenges faced by D&I professionals at the moment?
Business leaders and employees have high expectations of this subject area personally, from what they see and hear in the news and from peers in other companies. However, sometimes, change isn’t as fast as their expectations, depending on your business. So I think DE&I professionals have the challenge of managing expectations. Also, as the world continues to change, several new subjects intertwine in these conversations, such as climate change, disability, racial equality, gender, LGBTQIA+ identities etc.
6. Name three skills that support you to succeed in D&I
1. Creativity to bring this story to life using data, storytelling, and influence to effect cultural change.
2. Listening – you have to be able to hear what your stakeholders from across the business have to say and feed that back into your actions and KPI’s year on year
3. Courage – to march to the beat of your drum. You will sit outside some of the frameworks and constantly challenge your peers and your leadership to effect change and push them out of their comfort zones to create real innovation in this space.
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Online Training Workshop
The Foundations to Being an Effective D&I Leader
This one day online CPD Accredited training workshop has been designed for professionals who have recently taken on responsibility for leading, or helping to deliver their employers diversity and inclusion strategy, as well as those who aspire to do so. It offers a unique opportunity to learn the foundations to being an effective D&I Leader directly from three experienced D&I practitioners: Gamiel Yafai; Fiona Daniel and Toby Mildon.