Tag: #diversity

Being an outsider in a room full of insiders

This week was a European tour for me. I started in Brussels, then went up to Amsterdam to speak at the Sustainable Packaging Summit. on Wednesday I came straight to London (with a small box of chocolates for my dad’s birthday) to speak with a group of Spanish cleantech startups. I’m now going back to Brussels this Sunday (and speaking at another event on Monday there!)

I’ve been posting quite a lot recently about the importance of getting out of our comfort zones if we want to get wider perspectives. This week was me putting this into action

The power of acknowledging our own greatness

This week I attended a coaching immersion down in Kent, UK. I was one of 12 in an awe-inspiring group of people doing incredible things in the world.

Whilst the experience was powerful, one thing we discussed is how gaining insights in of itself does not actually do really do anything unless we act upon them. (Actually, it was put in less eloquent terms: ‘f*** insights’).

It’s why during the immersion I committed to creating the Make Diversity Matter to You Programme. It’s a month long experience starting in July consisting of four 90 min weekly webinars and a community group with peer learning activities and resources.

If you’re interested in knowing more about the programme, drop me a message.

Self-expression sets us free

Yesterday was Pride in Brussels. This is the third time I’ve been to Pride here, and I love how Brussels converts itself to a colourful, party atmosphere.

What I also love about pride is that it gives the space for greater self-expression, particularly around how we look and dress. It’s fun to get playful with basic things like glitter and makeup, which is outside of normal societal convention. For men, it’s actually a fun opportunity to explore these things which are traditionally only for women.

I wore nail glittery nail polish yesterday. I found it actually very fun to have some shine. Whilst this may seem out of the ‘norm’, men have been using makeup thousands of years.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of considering how I look.

Take a stand for the power of your work

‘It’s not too bad’
‘I could have worked on it more’
‘Hopefully it will help’.
These are all phrases I’ve used when talking about my book, Make Diversity Matter to You. But what am I saying about myself if I am not really willing to believe in what I am creating?

I know that this experience is not unique to me. In the fear of being seen as arrogant, many of us shyly meander around when talking about our own creations. It feels much more comfortable to avoid the idea that what we have created might be good. After all, who are we to be special?

I’ve received a powerful message over the last few weeks about the importance of taking a stand for my own work. If I don’t tell people about the transformative effect reading my book can have, then less people are likely to read it. And even if they do, no one will read it with the idea that it can be so valuable.

Life lesson 101: the more you give, the more you receive

This is article no. 101. So I thought I would share a life lesson 101: the more you give, the more you receive.

Giving is so powerful, yet we often get caught up in worrying about what is in it for us. Even when we want to be generous people, this falls away when we are stressed or lose sight of the bigger picture.
When we get in the mindset of thinking about what we are taking, we lose sight of the reciprocal nature of humanity.

How often have we experienced that friend who only reaches out to us when they need something? We can label these people as the ‘takers’ – we learn their patterns, and quickly become suspicious whenever they sporadically contact us. ‘What do they want this time?’. Whether it’s money or one-way emotional support, the conversation is about them and their problems.

I wrote a post earlier this week about how I’ve given out over 30 copies of my book, Make Diversity Matter to You for free. Economically, this does not make sense. I’ve already spent more money giving out this book then I have earnt from sales.

Putting yourself out there is scary. But it is also incredibly rewarding

According to LinkedIn, this is my 100th article.

I had no idea I would do this many. Yet when writing becomes a habitual moment of joy, everything else just flows. If I had spent too much time focussing on writing 100 articles, rather than just enjoying writing, I doubt I would have made it to this many. Let’s see if I make it to 1000 articles!

The theme around ‘putting myself out there’ feels very appropriate. My first article back in August 2020 was a nervous foray to sharing my thoughts to a public audience. I am so glad I made the step to do it. It started a new source of contentment and a new identity for me as a writer.

This week has also been a new, nerve-wracking adventure. On Saturday, I published my book, Make Diversity Matter to You.
There isn’t anything quite as exposing as putting a piece of work out there with your name on it. I still feel free around whether the content is of a good enough quality, or whether I’m charging too much for the book. Despite knowing that people enjoy my writing, that early feedback of pre-release versions was positive and that I’m happy with the content, I still feel nervous.

Birthing the creation of a book – Make Diversity Matter To You

The events of the killing of George Floyd shocked the world, and triggered a renewed and profound focus around the Black Lives Matter movement. Although the events took place in the USA, it was clear that this was the tip of the iceberg on a long-awaited discussion about race issues across the world.

I was locked up during the pandemic when the events took place. But like many people, I was keen to do something. Also, like many people, I wasn’t really sure what I could really do to make a change.

Then, in November 2020 I had an idea to write a book.

The book itself is a manifestation of my commitment to love and serve others. I wrote it with the genuine will to help people understand the topic of diversity and inclusion for themselves. I truly believe that the book will be a powerful tool to help anyone who picks it up to understand themselves better and be an actor for change.

You can check out the site page on Amazon where I’ll be self-publishing. The Kindle edition is currently available to pre-order, but there will be a paperback version on the site shortly.

Why a British, black, senior spy only happens in the movies

It’s been a few weeks since I watched the new James Bond film. I very much enjoyed it, both since it had been months since I had been in a cinema, and because it was a well-directed and enjoyable ride.

The casting of Lashana Lynch as ‘Nomi’ as a new ‘007’ was an interesting twist which highlighted a sense of changing of the guard. I certainly applaud the increase in diversity within the cast.

That said, having worked in Government I couldn’t help the niggling feeling of how this might give an unrealistic expectation of how inclusive the UK Government and the Secret Service is.

‘As ye sow, so shall ye reap’‚Äč – the failure of organisations to tackle racism

When former Yorkshire Cricket Club (YCCC) player Azeem Rafiq made allegations around racism during his time at the club which led him ‘close to committing suicide’, one of the first interventions came from Roger Pugh, then Yorkshire South Premier League Chairman. Pugh took the uninvited opportunity to highlight Rafiq as ‘discorteous, disrespectful and very difficult’.

Unfortunately, the saga around the Yorkshire Cricket Club’s handling around racism has only gotten worse as time has gone on. I’ve personally found this particularly depressing, both as an avid cricket fan and having previously gone to Headingley – Yorkshire’s ground – several times as a student during my time in Sheffield.

Why you’re not hearing about Diversity issues in your workplace

Talking about Diversity issues can be pretty tough. In an organisation where it’s not the done thing, saying you are being treated differently can be extremely uncomfortable, particularly if you happen to be the ‘only’ in the room – whether that be the only woman, BAME person, disabled individual or something else entirely.

I had an interesting conversation recently with a group of coaches around clients from underrepresented backgrounds. Many organisations have a culture of raising these issues through a one-to-one with managers. Unfortunately, this usually
doesn’t end particularly well for the underrepresented member of staff wanting to raise their concerns, as they tend to be brushed aside. But why is this the case?

These are my thoughts. Why do you think people don’t speak up about diversity issues in the workplace?