Understanding and supporting our diverse communities
For any organisation to achieve success it must understand, and be reflective of, the diverse communities it serves. Only by gaining a clear understanding of the challenges faced by the people it aims to help and support can an organisation achieve the highest levels of effectiveness. To accomplish this, we must commit to ensuring that leadership teams represent the communities they support.
We must continue to talk openly about diversity and inclusion and continue to break down attitudes, stereotypes and behaviours. Unfortunately, some organisations still feel uncomfortable addressing these important issues and this discomfort is one of the key factors which needs to be addressed to enable progress to be made.
In the words of Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Alphabet Inc. and its subsidiary Google; “A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.”
Professional development for all
Having proudly served the insurance industry since leaving school nearly 35 years ago, I have been blessed throughout my career to work under the leadership of those who enabled me to receive and enjoy significant training and development opportunities. Without access to ongoing professional development I would never have been equipped with the skills and experience required to eventually run my own business. I left school with limited qualifications, immediately entered the workplace and my subsequent success was only made possible with the support and training provided to me in the workplace by my mentors and managers, and others in leadership positions.
A strong work ethic and ambition was enough to give me my first opportunity in my career. Sadly, I do not believe that this is true for everyone today. We must continue to work together to create working environments that are free from discrimination for all.
Call for trustee applications
I am a trustee at Citizens Advice South Essex, and my fellow board members and I are highly motivated to create a more diverse board of trustees. We are now actively encouraging enquiries from our community. Anyone can apply for the role of volunteer trustee board member, regardless of their age, sex, ethnic background, educational background, sexual orientation, religion or belief, or disability.
If you would like to apply to become a trustee at Citizens Advice South Essex, please click here to find out more.
Future business leaders
We must also work to enable the provision of opportunities at grass roots level for a diverse cross-section of those who make up our communities, to develop a generation of future business leaders which provide equal opportunities for all to participate, grow and succeed. Every individual, whoever they are, must be made to feel safe, welcomed and respected, and their contributions valued.
Driving this change for young people from all backgrounds now will enable the creation of the diverse leadership teams we must see now, and in the future.
Driving attitudinal change for the future
We must continue to drive change by talking openly about diversity and inclusion. As we make efforts towards our recovery from the Covid pandemic, we must work together to open the doors of opportunity to everyone in our communities, enabling inclusive working environments and cultures where everyone has the opportunity to participate, be heard, and succeed.