This week is National Inclusion Week and at LACE Partners we’ve been embracing the importance of diversity and inclusion through a variety of different initiatives. For this week’s blog we will focus on some of the activities, and also let you hear from one of our team – Emma Scriven – on her experiences having started at LACE with a disability, and her role on driving the D&I agenda.
Joining a consultancy firm with a hidden disability was a daunting moment in my career; the prospect of a new line manager who may not understand the support which I would need from them, and not knowing if I could truly be myself and share my disability with my colleagues. I discovered LACE really is ‘fundamentally different’ and truly has a culture where everyone is supported to bring their full self to work.
As a disabled woman in the workplace, I felt inspired to get involved with Diversity and Inclusion at LACE. The D&I committee forms part of the broader Corporate and Social Responsibility committee. Driving forward the activities and topics of the CSR committee, we wanted to continue the conversations started around the Black Lives Matter movement last year, and more recently, Pride Month, by focusing our efforts on National Inclusion Week.
National Inclusion Week is an annual event run by Inclusive Employers to celebrate, share and inspire inclusion within companies across the world. The theme for this year’s event was Unity, challenging us to be #UnitedforInclusion.
Inclusion is key to our success, empowering everyone at LACE to think differently. We encourage people to share their individual experiences and perspectives, allowing us to become more innovative and engaged. In a world of hybrid working where the boundaries between work and home life have become blurry, it’s even more important for us all to feel part of the LACE family and be our authentic self.
Throughout the week, we have run events to share our experiences, understand how we can make LACE more inclusive, and challenge each other’s perspectives as a team (while encouraging an environment of support).
Each of us on the D&I committee shared a personal recommendation throughout the week – an interesting article, a video or podcast, which we found insightful, and challenged our thinking around inclusion. We also encouraged the team to take the time to educate themselves throughout the week.
The week started with a panel event, with speakers from all levels of the company, sharing their stories, and experiences to give an insight into what it’s like to walk a mile in their shoes. Personally, this was an opportunity to share some of the challenges which I face on a daily basis as someone with a hidden disability, and the ways in which those around me can support me.
We then had a company wide session where we all participated in an open and honest discussion about how we can all challenge in the right way and ask questions when we’re not sure on what to say or the correct terms to use. We created a safe space where we could all admit that we weren’t perfect, but that we wanted to learn together. It’s important to recognise that sometimes these conversations are difficult and uncomfortable, but it’s these moments that really drive and inspire change for everyone.
Our usual Wednesday morning update was themed around National Inclusion Week, and we asked our Leadership Team to tell us one thing that we didn’t already know about them. This was a simple and easy way to open up the dialogue and create a safe space for us all to truly be ourselves at LACE. We also couldn’t let an opportunity for a quiz pass us by as we love a competition!
Last but not least, we focused on how we can become more inclusive at LACE, and where to focus our efforts within our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion strategy for 2022. Our ‘DE&I at LACE’ workshop focused on a couple of key questions:
- What does Diversity, Equity and Inclusion mean to LACE?
- How do we become more inclusive and diverse at LACE?
- How do we measure our success?
These simple questions allow us to form a LACE commitment to share with the team, and a sense of accountability for us all to drive change.
This week has been an opportunity to have the difficult conversations, challenge each other and focus on practical things which we can all do to make LACE a more inclusive company. We will continue the DE&I conversation over the coming months with a focus on educating ourselves and challenging the status quo.
I feel truly proud to be part of an organisation which values diversity, focuses on equity and fosters a culture of inclusion – and is continuously striving to do better.