We’re celebrating our first year

We’re celebrating our first year

On 20th October 2014 Inclusive Networks was launched on to the world wide web and our journey to raise the profile and connect network groups and celebrate their amazing work began.

We’ve worked with so many inspiring and fabulous people in our first year and we’re so happy to have played a role in helping lots of networks get off the ground, raised the profile of lots of networks, helped a number of networks get a social media following, added lots of buzz and excitement for many networks internally and externally, and to have brought lots of networks together.

One of the main things we’re so proud of is that every network group, no matter what organisation or sector they represent, has had an equal opportunity to celebrate and share their work with our thousands of website readers and social media followers. If you get in touch with us, we’ll work with you to make the feature a reality.

We remain unbiased, motivated by the desire to see more networks of all diversity strands helping other networks and…authentic. Inclusive Networks is coordinated by people who have led successful employee networks and understand and appreciate the challenges and the working of networks in organisations of all sizes and sectors. This authenticity makes us stand out. Our features and network coverage is not motivated by money and preference is never given to those we have prior relationships with. If you’re a network group who would like to share and celebrate your work, get in touch!

Our Founder Thomas Anderson has brought together a selection of our first year highlights. We’ve had so many that we are extremely thankful for and we can’t wait to see Inclusive Networks develop as we go in to our second year – we have so much planned. Thank you to everyone who has supported our first year. We couldn’t have done it all without you!

Stephen Fry wishes Inclusive Networks ‘good luck’

On 28th October 2014 we were taken aback when the truly inspiring ‘King of Twitter’ Stephen Fry sent a tweet to his 7.77 million Twitter followers wishing us ‘Good luck’. The tweet was sent in the week we officially launched and the visible support from such an authentic role model to his millions of followers really meant a lot to us.

Networks Helping Networks

Before launching Inclusive Networks we had met and worked with many network groups so we knew of the amazing work that was taking place in workplaces and communities around the UK. We also knew there were many networks we hadn’t yet met, or even heard about. We’re thrilled to have been able to share the work of many diverse networks on our website and in our Network Buzz magazine.

These have included : EY Sikh Network, Employers Stammering Network, Cardiff University Enfys LGBT+ Network, RBS Focused Women’s Network, John Lewis Partnership Pips LGBT Network, Action for Children Celebrate! LGBT Network, WeAreTheCity, The Network of Networks (TNON), Cheshire Fire & Rescue Firepride LGBT+ Network, The Co-operative Groups Aspire Career Network, Leicestershire Police LGBT Network and many more. We have so many features still to publish so watch out for them!

Network Buzz…..Putting networks in the spotlight

When we were developing our ideas for Inclusive Networks one thing was a definite from the very beginning, we would launch a brand new online magazine that crossed diversity strands and had something for everyone.

Our magazine wouldn’t be a HR magazine, an LGBT mag or a mag that was too specific in what it was all about. It would be a magazine that contained articles and content we would want to read ourselves, a good mix of features, role model and celebrity interviews and content to inspire that covered the spectrum of diversity.

From those ideas we launched ‘Network Buzz’. The bi-monthly online magazine has a strong focus on celebrating the work of networks and sharing this with as many people as possible, in an authentic way. With six issues under our belt and over 280 pages of content, the magazine is going from strength to strength and will receive a big facelift…a special print edition…and a new name…in early 2016.

Our cover stars have been :

Issue 1 : Jasz Vegas – TV Magician
Issue 2 : Lewis Hancox – Filmmaker and role model
Issue 3 : Indy Hothi – Co-Lead of the EY Sikh Network
Issue 4 : Darren Hayes – Singer, Savage Garden
Issue 5 : Tipsy Teas – An awesome business
Issue 6 : Howard Middleton – Great British Bake Off star

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the issues and special mention to our blogger Molly Aldrich-Wincer who has contributed so many interesting articles.

You’re officially awesome

Our Awesome Networks list is the first list of its kind and aims to celebrate the positive impact that network groups of all types and from all sectors have and also thank those people who selflessly coordinate the networks, with many doing this on top of their day jobs. We wanted to hear about networks that have done something special. This could have been hosting an inclusive event that was a real highlight, supporting an internal or external initiative, making a positive difference to the workplace or beyond, fundraising for charity or just generally being awesome through the work they do. 100 networks make up our 2015 #Awesome100.

We know from feedback and from speaking to lots of networks that appearing on the list has had a positive impact in many ways, creating buzz and an opportunity to highlight the work of the network and engage with more people, support momentum and give visibility to other networks to reach out to for support and advice – and much more. One network lead told us their Chief Executive personally congratulated them and this was the first time they had engaged with the network. Our Awesome Networks list will be back…bigger and louder…in 2016.

Our first event was a huge success

On 5th May we collaborated with awesome charity Action for Children and 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.

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 wanted to break down the barriers between network groups of different diversity strands.

Watch out for news of our next event, in collaboration with Brown Brothers Harriman. We’ll also be announcing our first event in Scotland very soon.

18,500 social media followers and growing

We’re extremely proud to be one of the fastest growing diversity related accounts on Twitter. We may not have the huge resources and influential mainstream media links but we can boast having accounts that receive significantly more engagement than many of our peers. We’re proud of this.

We like to keep our @IncNetworks (4,390+ followers) and @OUTintheUK (11,250+ followers) accounts vibrant and we enjoy sharing your news and successes, as well as celebrating the many key diversity days that pop up in the calendar. Feel free to tag us in your updates and news and we’ll do our very best to RT and share far and wide.

We have neglected our Facebook accounts a little bit, we find Twitter much more exciting, but these will be getting lots more attention and we plan to increase the ‘likes’ on these pages significant. Watch this space!

Something for everyone

We work hard to publish a diverse range of content on our website and we reach out to networks and role models all of the time to keep our content fresh and interesting. We’re not a big fan of regurgitating content published on other sites and copying this on to our website – we’d much rather publish our own original content. We’re not a news website and we don’t do click bait so when you visit our website you’ll be sure to find quality articles that have had lots of time spent on them – we like each article and page to feel unique.

Role models who have given their time to be interviewed for our website include :

Funke Abimbola – Corporate Lawyer (pictured above)
Andy Woodfield – Lead Partner for the International Aid Development Consulting at PwC
Lucy Powell MP – Shadow Secretary of State for Education
Aled Davies MBE – Paralympian
Jen Gagg – Equality Officer
Matt Cain – Author
Vanessa Vallely – Founder & CEO – WeAreTheCity
Sanjay Sood-Smith – Entrepreneur and The Apprentice
Cherron Inko-Tariah – Author
Nicky Morgan MP – Secretary of State for Education
Claire Young – Entrepreneur and The Apprentice Finalist
Lisa Gifford – Writer and Director

We have lots of interviews and features still to publish so watch out for them!

Celebrity support

We wanted to add some fun to our website and make it stand out from other diversity sites and forums that can feel a bit uninteresting (or old fashioned) and one in the same. Amongst our network group, role model and community features you’ll find regular interviews with well known faces as well as up and coming talent. Showcasing new talent is important to us. Highlights for us include interviewing Equality Hero Michelle Visage and one of our musical idols Darren Hayes of Savage Garden.

Other celebrity interviews include :

Courtney Act – RuPaul’s Drag Race
Lucy Spraggan – Singer
Steve Grand – Singer
Darcy Oake – Illusionist
Charlotte Jaconelli – Singer
CeCe Peniston – Singer
Heather Peace – Actress and singer
Joe McElderry – Singer

…..and lots more. Oh, and lets not forget the Vengaboys.

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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