An introduction to #ThisIsMe by Thomas Anderson

An introduction to #ThisIsMe by Thomas Anderson

Two awesome #ThisIsMe magazine readers with their copy of issue1 | Photo by Carol-Anne Shaw

Since I can remember I’ve always dreamt of publishing a magazine, one you can pick up. Even in this digital age I still prefer physical magazines, and from speaking to lots of friends, clients and colleagues, many of you feel the same. Last month I turned a dream in to a reality and published the UK’s newest and freshest diversity focussed magazine. Say hello to #ThisIsMe.

Those who have followed us for a while may know that #ThisIsMe is a part of a community focussed organisation called Inclusive Networks, the website you’re reading this article on, which I founded at the end of 2014 – with a good luck message from British institution Stephen Fry. We spent our first full year celebrating the achievements of workplace and community network groups via our award-winning website and thriving social media platforms. We also hosted our own events, including a panel event in London with Action for Children, John Lewis, EY and Ogilvy & Mather Group, as well as our very own event, which took place in Manchester in November 2015 and was sponsored by organisations including PayPal, EY and Fujitsu. In 2015 we celebrated the work of and supported over 100 network groups who champion diversity and inclusion all over the UK. It’s important to celebrate.

#ThisIsMe is all about spreading the message that everyone should feel they can be themselves in every part of their life with no filters. With so much hate making the news around the world, this seems even more important now. We need to celebrate who we are, and be proud about it too.

We’re doing our best to get this message to as many people as possible in a non-traditional way. We’re working hard not to put labels on what we do and we want our audience to be as diverse as possible. I hope by doing this people who may not have otherwise heard about some of the subject matters we’ll be covering will learn something new, and hear and see things from a different perspective.

I’ve found that often in diversity forums we are speaking to the same people event after event and it’s often the people who need little influencing – they already get the value of embracing diversity and inclusion. We need more allies or, as we like to call them, friends.

“#ThisIsMe is all about spreading the message that everyone should feel they can be themselves in every part of their life with no filters. With so much hate making the news around the world, this seems even more important now. We need to celebrate who we are, and be proud about it too.”

Powered by Inclusive Networks, #ThisIsMe is an innovative, vibrant, community-focused initiative that will bring people from all walks of life together at exciting events, and through original and interesting media platforms, including this magazine and our own unique events – the first of which was supported by Kiehl’s. This collaboration continued with our Rooftop Garden Party on 2nd July.

Inclusive Networks and #ThisIsMe are also about giving social enterprises, network groups, charities, businesses and brands a platform to showcase their work to an engaged and targeted audience.

It’s important that businesses and brands understand multiple identities amongst their staff and customers. We can’t be shortsighted.

Understanding that people don’t just fit into one group is vital – not just so businesses grasp the complexities of their employees and customers’ experiences but also to ensure they aren’t typecast or stereotyped in any way. This is an area where there is a lot of work still to be done.

It’s integral that we avoid looking at things as standalone and we look at the further issues which people who identify with more than one protected characteristic face (sexuality, race, religion, disability…).

In our first issue of #ThisIsMe you’ll read about awesome people, role models, creative talents…from all backgrounds and sectors. I hope sharing these features will broaden all of our thinking. I hope you read something that inspires you. Also included are some awesome exclusives and celebrity interviews.

Huge thanks to everyone who has supported this first issue and our events to date. Collaboration has made this all possible. Special thanks to Luciano Del Viscio for all the support designing and producing the issue, and to Mark Vice for all his creative support by producing the very special cover. Without the support of some amazing photographers the magazine really wouldn’t be the magazine I dreamt about with all of our features being accompanied by original photography (I hate stock images). Big shout out to Carol-Anne Shaw, John Dyer, Yemi King, Kazuki James and Ellie Morag.

We have lots planned and I hope you’ll be a part of our #ThisIsMe journey, and watch out for some exciting upcoming media and event collaborations. We’re currently developing Issue2 that will be published in January and will be a special LGBT History Month and International Women’s Day themed issue (with lots of other diversity related content too). Be a part of it!

If you’d like to find out more about Inclusive Networks and #ThisIsMe, would like to talk about working together, or want to share your diversity and inclusion work with our readers, please get in touch.

Speak soon

Thomas Anderson
Founder, Inclusive Networks and #ThisIsMe
07702 130 348

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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