Our very first Inclusive Networks event

Our very first Inclusive Networks event

On 5th May 2014 we teamed up with leading children’s charity Action for Children to host a unique networking and best practice sharing event to bring networks of all diversity strands together.

On 5th May the UKs network group hub Inclusive Networks and leading children’s charity Action for Children hosted a unique networking and best practice sharing event aimed at those involved in coordinating network groups.

The round table event was held at Action for Children’s office in central London and was a sell out, attended by 30 network group representatives. This included representation from EY, John Lewis Partnership, Ogilvy & Mather Group, City Police LGBT network, Employers Stammering network, Fujitsu, Brown Brothers Harriman, Deloitte, Victims Support, PwC, Stonewall and many more.

Photo : Sir Tony Hawkhead opens the event.

The aim of the event was for four diverse network groups to share their journey of creating the branding for their network and the different methods they use to engage with their members all over the UK, and to share the challenges experienced and how these were overcome. We know from our own experience and from speaking to many networks that branding and engagement are two things that are often a challenge for networks with many factors contributing to this including the geographical spread of their members, resources (or lack of), maintaining interest and momentum for older networks and lots of internal red tape. It was also an opportunity to celebrate their fantastic work.

We wanted to break down the barriers between network groups of different diversity strands and we were delighted to have a distinguished panel that included:

Indy Hothi, Anisha Seth and Lovepreet Samra, Co-leads and Founder of the EY Sikh Network, Andrew Barratt, Chair of Ogilvy Pride UK, Claire Cahill, Chair of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) network at Action for Children, Celebrate and Matt Day, Network Secretary of the LGBT network at the John Lewis Partnership, Pips (Pride in Partnership).

“It was really interesting to hear about how the staff networks were established and how far along their respective journeys
they were.”

Thomas Anderson, Founder and Chief Executive of Inclusive Networks said:

“A unique element to the event was that the diverse panel included networks from a variety of different sectors and diversity strands. We felt this was positive and much needed as it’s important that businesses understand multiple identities amongst staff and that many of their employees will identify with fitting in to more than one minority group and will identify with more than one protected characteristic – and will be members of more than one diversity or professional network. There are many commonalities between different networks and sectors and this really shone through at the event. The benefits of collaborating and sharing knowledge, learnings and resources can only be a positive thing.”

The event was opened by Sir Tony Hawkhead, Chief Executive of Action for Children and Senior Champion for the Celebrate network. He said:

“As a strong believer in the value of equality and diversity, it was a pleasure to welcome our guests to Celebrate LGBT and Inclusive Networks best practice sharing event. It was really interesting to hear about how the staff networks were established and how far along their respective journeys they were. I want Action for Children to continue to develop a truly inclusive environment for all staff, volunteers and those who access our services. Supported, motivated and creative staff really can improve outcomes for children and young people and staff networks support working inclusively and bring many benefits to Action for Children.”

“It was the first time I got to share ideas and best practice approaches in an intimate environment with a diverse range of network leaders from across the UK.”

Siobhan Corria, Head of Inclusion at Action for Children said:

“Staff networks are really important in the charity sector, because they provide a supportive mechanism for staff who can work in very demanding situations. We want to make sure that Action for Children is an inclusive organisation that improves outcomes for some of the most vulnerable children in the UK. It is great that different sectors and networks can come together to share good practice and raise awareness of the importance of networks and inclusion.”

On being a part of the panel at the event, Andrew Barratt, Head of Ogilvy Pride said:

“It was brilliant to get to speak on a panel with EY, John Lewis and Action for Children and hear about the hard work they have been doing to promote a more inclusive workplace in their respective organisations. Great as well to be speaking with people from a range of different diversity strands to collaborate and learn best practice.”

Indy Hothi, Co-lead of the EY Sikh network added:

“The Inclusive Networks and Action for Children event was extremely refreshing for me as a diversity and inclusion (D&I) network leader. It was the first time I got to share ideas and best practice approaches in an intimate environment with a diverse range of network leaders from across the UK.”

Guests enjoyed a selection of food and were treated to products by the awesome business The TeaShed and everyone received a goody bag, including branded items from many of our panel and our very own Inclusive Networks badge-packs.

Inclusive Networks and Action for Children would like to say big thanks to everyone who attended and to our awesome panel who gave lots of inspirational insight that we know from feedback was very helpful and of great value to our attendees.

We’ll be sharing some of the content of what each of the panel discussed and the top tips and advice in a number of upcoming articles on our website and in our online Network Buzz magazine – watch out for them.

Event photo gallery :

Some tweets from the event :

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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