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It was a packed evening for BIMA’s first London event of 2020. Curated by BIMA’s Apprenticeship, Diversity & Inclusion, and Mentoring Councils, the night served up 3 distinct and insightful roundtables that our attendees from far and wide got to sit on. Team members from digital agencies, brands and beyond explored the latest thinking on how to embed D&I and Mentoring into their business.
The three roundtables were chaired by some of the best in the business. Peppa Wise & George Mann from Whitehat delved into the steps that SME/Media Organisations can take in creating a real case for diversity in their workplace that will be understood by C-Suites. Speaking on the evening George said, “We explored the ways to value diversity within your organisation not only with bringing diverse people on board but also showing the continued value to internal stakeholders as well” The pair also discussed how organisations have to earn “the right” when hiring diverse individuals within your organisation and the things they need to consider when bringing in new demographics.
Jane Newell Brown, MD of silverspace & advisor on BIMA’s Mentoring scheme, helped the group understand the level of research and focus on mentoring that is already out there in the industry, and shared to her own experiences of 20 plus years, as well as the mentoring programme is running right now. She stated “Mentoring is an individualistic thing, we can’t shoehorn people into a program, send them off and say go have a lovely chat, that is less likely to be successful. There needs to be a beginning, middle & end with clearly defined structures to the conversations, and the success will depend on the time & effort put into the program.” She also strived the importance of Mentees pushing themselves for success, as she sees this as a common factor for downfall of mentoring programmes.
Our third and final roundtable was chaired by Stephanie Matthews, Partnerships Director at Creative Equals & Nadya Powell, Co-Founder of utopia and D&I Council Chair. Stephanie had some insightful takeaways for the attendees, warning organisations that “You don’t know what you don’t know. Don’t make assumptions about the diversity profile of your business or what you need to fix. Get the data in, understand the makeup of your workforce, once you have that you can then decide what you need to prioritise.” She also called on organisations to take one step beyond just hiring to be more diverse; “Inclusion needs to be baked into business objectives because it’s part of how the business operates and that can transcend down the whole organisation to a point where everyone involved is individually responsible for ensuring diverse and inclusive thinking.”
Stephanie also provided an amazing takeaway for all organisations no matter what size; “Think ‘culture add’ not ‘culture fit’. It’s easy to recruit people that look like you and how you think, but in reality, you need those different voices and different opinions to get really interesting solutions to business problems.”, and pointed everyone towards Creative Equals’ Accelerate program, a training and mentoring programme tailored to multicultural talent, which kicks off on 13 Feb, as well their Equality Standard accreditation data tool.