Leaders in Diversity

Over the course of last week, London was jam-packed with diversity events, from the International Conference of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, to the Stonewall Workplace Conference on LGBT inclusion, and Symposium’s Diversity and Inclusion Conference. Delegates attended in their thousands to show their support for trans equality and a commitment to drive LGBT inclusion at work. Speakers shared their expert knowledge about fundamental issues including the gender pay gap, unconscious bias, promoting diverse talent, and how businesses can defend underrepresented members in the workplace.

Here we celebrate our favourites among the impressive line-up of speakers at these conferences.

Sanjay Sood-Smith, Stonewall

Sanjay Sood-Smith is best known for his 2014 appearance on the 10th series of BBC’s The Apprentice. He has since become the Executive Director of Workplace and Community Programmes at Stonewall, whose mission is to ensure that LGBT role models and allies are visible throughout public life, in order to create an environment where all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people are able to participate fully in society. Last week he spoke about his experiences overcoming homophobia and how important it is for everyone, LGBT or not, to take action and be an ally.

Prior to joining Stonewall Sanjay spent most of his career at Lloyds Banking Group where he held several senior positions across retail banking, strategy and digital. He is a man of many talents, having also co-founded a food business called Tuk In, a ‘curry-in-a-naan’ microwave meal product that is currently listed in Tesco, Ocado and Spar stores.

Sarah Kaiser, Fujitsu

Sarah Kaiser is the Employee Experience, Diversity & Inclusion Lead for Fujitsu EMEIA. She has driven Fujitsu’s activity to become recognised as an exemplar on gender pay gap reporting, a Times Top 50 Employer for Women, a Disability Confident Leader, a Stonewall Top 100 Employer, a BITC Top Employer for Race and a Top 50 Social Mobility Employer. She is passionate about finding creative solutions to unusual diversity challenges, developing cultures where everyone can achieve their full potential, and the representation of diversity in contemporary culture.

Previously Sarah was the Head of Equality at Brent Council, where she led the organisation to achieve the Excellence level of the Equality Framework for Local Government. Beforehand, as the first Diversity Manager for Tate, Sarah increased the diversity of Tate’s audiences, workforce and programme.

Sarah Brooks, Atos

Sarah Brooks is an HR Business Partner at Atos and is the chair of the Atos Adapt employee network for those with disabilities and those interested in disability issues. The network is committed to enabling employees with a long-term illness, impairment or disability to reach their full potential in the workplace.

When Sarah became ill in 2000 and had to be intermittently off work for two years while searching for a diagnosis, she was demoted within the organisation and faced discrimination because of her disability. After returning to work full-time, she set up Atos Adapt, and now speaks out about her experiences as a person with hypermobility syndrome and how businesses can tackle the organisational and cultural barriers that prevent career progression for the disabled.

Trevor Hudson, King

Trevor Hudson has worked in a variety of sectors, including charitable sector, transportation and retail, construction and property management, finance and now tech. He currently works as a Senior Learning Business Partner for King, the second largest mobile games company in the world. In almost every role he has held, Trevor has worked on Diversity and Inclusion initiatives and at King he looks at the role of developing leaders and managers to create inclusive environments in which everyone can share a sense of belonging and build a community.

Last week he delivered a talk at the Diversity and Inclusion Conference on unconscious bias training, how to train for what you aren’t aware of, building a business case and how to link unconscious bias to an effective diversity and inclusion strategy.

Sarah Maskell, HSBC

Senior Global Diversity and Inclusion Relationship Manager at HSBC, Sarah Maskell, shared her expert knowledge on building and embedding diversity in organisational strategy. She spoke about how to identify skills and diversity gaps, recruiting and promoting diverse talent, and the role of leadership in generating an inclusive company culture.

Sarah spent 18 years working for the Royal Air Force where she climbed the ranks and became the strategic and operational lead for Diversity and Inclusion Policy. She holds a number of awards and has been a judge for the RB First Women Awards, the Rising Stars 2018 Awards, and the 2018 Age Awards. Sarah is also a national delegate for the NATO Committee on Gender Perspectives.

Nour Fayad, Vodafone

Speaking about how we can create a brighter, more inclusive future, Nour Fayad says there are three key ingredients: invest, inspire, and elevate. She spoke out against “tolerance towards intolerance” and encouraged organisations to sign up to the UN Standards of Conduct for Business. Nour works in product development at Vodafone and has a great focus on the values of diversity, inclusion and empowerment, while being a visible role model to help moving towards a more trans inclusive workspace.

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