IN Awards : New Network of the Year

IN Awards : New Network of the Year

Photo : A network coordinated by young people, for young people, ‘Young Persons’ Development Network’

We all know that founding a network group does not go without its challenges and is often the most critical point of our network group journeys. Our finalists are all new networks who are fresh out of the box but have all already made a positive start. More than just existing, they’ve already had a positive impact within their own organisation, and in some cases beyond. It’s hard to believe that some of our finalists are less than 9 months old.

Photo : The Action for Children ‘Celebrate’ team smiling with pride

WINNER : Action for Children, Celebrate LGBT

The LGBT staff network was officially launched in October 2014. The inclusive network is open to all staff and volunteers. One of the most active employee network groups on Twitter (700+ followers), the network does a fantastic job of highlighting key diversity days to their followers as well as within the organisation. Members of the network receive informative bi-monthly newsletters, regular equality updates, invitations to training and social events, networking opportunities, confidential support from the network and most importantly, a space to be themselves. Events hosted by the network include their official launch event, a Christmas quiz and a creative Love is Love event for Valentines Day.
Follow the network on Twitter @CelebrateLGBT

Fujitsu, Women at Fujitsu

Launched in March 2015, the network has developed the distinctive Why not a woman? brand, a dynamic leadership team, 250+ members and a robust strategy. The network has raised the profile of gender diversity, achieved some impressive results and had a transformational impact on Fujitsu’s approach to D&I. To increase its influence, the network has positioned gender equality as an issue for the entire workforce by focusing on the ‘power of difference’ and has both male and female members. A series of role model profiles have been published on their intranet page and they are now appointing regional leads so that all of their people can engage in the network, whatever their location.
Follow Fujitsu UK on Twitter @Fujitsu_UK

PayPal, PayPal Pride

The network was launched in March 2015 with the main purpose of celebrating diversity and creating a support network of LGBT colleagues. They do this through a combination of programs, resources and advocacy, raising awareness of diversity issues, encouraging sponsorship, fostering professional development and deepening connections amongst LGBT employees and those interested in supporting the network. The network walked together with members of InterTech, the LGBT forum for the UK tech industry, at Pride in London this Summer and members visibly supported the Irish constitution amendment on same-sex marriage. The network features prominently in the PayPal UK Diversity Newsletter.
Follow PayPal UK on Twitter @PayPalUK

WINNER : Standard Life, Young Persons’ Development Network

The network was launched in February 2015 and now has over 200 members. It aims to be a community where every young person (16-25 years old) within the organisation gets equal development support, equal opportunities, time to socialise and share ideas and a chance to have a positive impact on the wider community. Young people coordinate the network for young people and they act exclusively on ideas and suggestions made by other young people. The network is now covered in every induction and young people are offered the opportunity to join as soon as they join the company. The network is also an avenue for managers wanting to learn about how best to support young people in their areas.
Follow Standard Life on Twitter @StandardLifeplc

The Co-operative Bank, Proud Together

The network was launched in May 2015 to tie in with International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT). The network aims to represent LGBT colleagues across the Bank and to offer support and information on all things LGBT to anyone who’s interested. As part of the networks launch they held meet and greet sessions across a number of sites, along with flying a rainbow flag outside the famous CIS tower on Miller Street, Manchester. The network publishes a regular newsletter and engages with their members and supporters via their dedicated Twitter and Facebook accounts. The network has already undertaken fundraising activities, recently raising money for charity Stonewall.
Follow the network on Twitter @P2GCoop

HIGHLY COMMENDED : WILL (Women in Law London)

The network was officially launched in October 2014. The Committee decided to set up WILL after attending an International Women’s Day Law Society networking event in early 2014. They had, unsuccessfully, tried to find a network aimed at pre partnership (or top level in-house) women lawyers. They have amassed a considerable amount of enthusiasm for the network. With over 1,500 members it’s clear that there is a real need and desire for networking at associate level in London. The network has held a number of high impact events including their monthly WILL Supper Club, WILL Wednesdays and The WILLpower Programme – a series of professional development events and sessions.
Follow the network on Twitter @WomenInLawLon

About The Author

Thomas Anderson

Founder and MD of Inclusive Networks. Thomas was Chair of the award winning LGBT network for The Co-operative Group, ‘Respect’ (2011-14). Thomas named the network and designed and managed all of the branding, communications and engagement until he stepped down from the role of Chair in March 2014. He also created the branding, name, was Editor of the quarterly magazine and developed the launch of the UK’s first Inter-Retail LGBT network ‘CheckOUT’. He contributed to the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index 5 Year review. In recognition of his work in the diversity field he was shortlisted for ‘Diversity Champion of the Year’ at the 2013 European Diversity Awards, shortlisted for ‘Role Model of the Year’ at the 2012 Lesbian & Gay Foundation Homo Heroes Awards and shortlisted for the ‘Positive Action’ award at the 2013 Asian Fire Service Association Fair & Diverse Awards. He also won the 2012 ‘Pride of The Co-operative’ award. He was a judge for Scotland's biggest diversity awards, The Icon Awards in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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