Last Thursday (25th) I was at Passle's Rainmaker conference 2019. We had a fantastic day full of inspirational speakers who shared their experiences with all the attendees.
Katie Nagy de Nagybaczon (partner at CMS - Global law firm) spoke about "Driving diversity and inclusion" and made a number of points (though I am only writing about two) that I thought were incredibly important and something that we can all learn from and implement in our various fields/ companies and maybe even daily life.
1. Accountability - Firm and Personal
Katie spoke about accountability in two ways, her firm's (group) accountability and personal accountability.
Group accountability - Katie explained how her firm have publicly expressed that inclusion and diversity are important to them and this plays a big role in the firm’s values. By doing this, as a firm/company or person you are allowing yourself to be held accountable for actions you take that go against this ethos or where you could be doing better to address this ethos. [This is very visible in our media at the moment with the release of BBC's annual report - where they can be held accountable for the pay of their employees].
Personal accountability - Katie further explained that it isn't only the managers and senior members of staff's responsibility to address inclusion and diversity but also each and every one of us. "Inclusion and diversity" can be focused on a number of different subtopics (female/BAME/LGBTQ+/disability) and therefore we can and should take it upon ourselves to do what we can and what we feel most comfortable expressing and raising concerns about.
For Katie, she's taken steps such as only speaking at conferences/events where there are other female speakers, encouraging organisers to add other female speakers to their event if they haven't done so already. She is also driving the LeadHers program which actively seeks out female startups.
Speaking from her own experience Katie explained that within her firm they have created a way of 'calling people out' when they aren't acting in line with the firms ethos. This was by saying "That's not very CMS". A good way of being able to highlight that someone might have said something sensitive. This allows the "awkward" conversation to be done in a positive manner for both parties. This would be a very simple yet powerful tool to implement within a workforce as it allows for distributed leadership, as all staff members are provided with the tool and power to explain if something is inappropriate without causing offence or embarrassment.
This all resonated very deeply with me, as someone of a BAME (Black, Asian, Minority, Ethnic) background who is also female, this topic is often brought up around me. Whether that is myself explaining that something is not being inclusive or being the token person of colour in campaigns (which happened often during my education). What Katie had explained in her talk were very simple things. We should be leaning towards most, if not all, companies highlighting their commitment to inclusion and diversity but also as individuals we must actively seek our own way that we can make changes within our power.
My food for thought after reflecting on Katie's talk is - What can I do to impact inclusion and diversity?