The Green Room

I help companies become more diverse and inclusive. AMA

I am a leading diversity and inclusion practitioner, speaker, event host, writer, and guest lecturer based in the UK. I believe that systemic change comes from taking a considered, blended approach that brings accountability to the change process, the inclusion
of appropriate lived experience, and dynamic and innovative approaches to facilitated thinking.

More importantly, I focus on working with organisations on how they prepare
employees and leadership for uncomfortable conversations before they receive any training
and education. I am able to bring the experience I gained from five years spent as a
Regulatory Compliance AVP for the likes of Santander Bank, Barclaycard, and the Financial
Ombudsman Service. This experience has given me an understanding of corporate
governance and challenges associated with change management and workplace culture shifts.

I have also been a judge on a number of awards panels, including the Eventex Awards,
Independent Publisher Awards and the Virtual Event Institute Awards. I have also Founded
and am the Event Director at EventMind, a diverse digital event delivery partner that helps
organisations to diversify their supply chains and plan events that have D&I at the heart of
their strategy.

Hey Ashanti,
Thanks so much for joining us today!
To me, diversifying the workplace and making it more inclusive is very important.

To kick things off, in your experience, what are the challenges faced by members of underrepresented groups in the workplace?
What did you do to tackle these challenges and what advice would you give to those who may be in this situation right now?

Also, how are you helping companies and the workplace become more diverse and inclusive?
Do you outline any steps for them to do?

Hi Ashanti,

Is there a rise in productivity when the workplace is more diversified?

If anyone else has any questions, please feel free to reach out to Ashanti through her LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashantibd/

HI Karla, this is a brilliant question. Some of the challenges are rooted in being misunderstood, dismissed and left out of the systems and processes workplaces have built. For example, for some groups who do not partake in alcohol, a lot of social and team building activities are built around alcohol and these are often the moments that people network and lobby for a promotion. If one does not partake in these occasions then they may miss out on these types of opportunities.

In terms of tackling the challenge, raising awareness is key. Senior leaders and managers may not be aware that some groups are or feel excluded. So the first step is raising awareness and discrete education to help leaders recognise some of these challenges in the first place.

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There are a number of steps to take as an organisation beginning a diversity journey.

  1. An audit or assessment of your current D&I status and position.
  2. Awareness and education: This could look like workshops, talks and the sharing of resources. These must be targeted and relevant to an organisation so attendees and participants get practical advice and guidance.
  3. Specific and ongoing training for the workplace initially for senior leaders and managers and then this training can cascade to the entire employee cohort.
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Hi Mike

Another good question. Human beings tend to be far more helpful, useful, engaged and therefore productive when they are comfortable and have a sense of belonging and acceptance in their environment. This is true of most employees. Also diversity encourages creativity, healthy challenge and innovation which in turn means a business is far more productive, agile and forward thinking.

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I see, thank you!

What do you think is the reason why some companies find it difficult to have a more diverse/inclusive workplace?