Vikki is a senior professional with extensive experience in Inclusion and Diversity, leading organisations and engaging business leaders to build a culturally sensitive and inclusive culture. A thought leader, delivering cross country change programmes in inclusion and behavioural change.
Widespread experience of operating in fast changing, dynamic and results focused businesses, delivering tangible results within timescales. Working in global matrix organisations, such as the fashion, technology and data research industry, she drives change with evidence- based data driven conversations, mobilising teams across functional and geographical boundaries.
A Certified Professional Coach, MSc in Behavioural Change, Trustee on the Board of the Learn and Thrive charity, Author of The FT Guide to Inclusion & Diversity.
Everyone has a talent and it is about unleashing it. Talent is more likely to be unleashed in a supportive, inclusive and empowering environment. Teams that work together outperform those that don’t. Success feels better when it’s shared with others.
I have worked for a number of organisations, beginning my I&D career in HR and leading up to a Chief Diversity Officer role, with the opportunity to report into a CEO and sit on his board. My curiosity and education along the way has provided me with immense learning, having achieved a MSc in Behavioural Change made me see that it really does start with our own behaviour before we can address inclusion and then embrace diversity (B.I.D). There are many ways as to how to approach I&D, but it is more about how I&D practitioners can make an impact. The first consideration is; If I deliver this approach, what will be the impact and business value?
The business case for inclusion and diversity is becoming clearer to leaders, if they are ignoring it today, good luck to them. For a business to grow and create a sustainable future, it needs a diverse group of people, working in an inclusive environment. For these people to feel they can contribute and be included, regardless of their background, this requires inclusive leadership, to drive the growth and innovation, and to do this, organisations need to bring different people together and lead in an inclusive way. We need to start with our own behaviours and mindset, look to ourselves on how we behave before we can really understand how inclusive we are prepared to be. Only then, can we decide how we intend to embrace diversity as individuals.
"We need to start with our own behaviours and mindset, look to ourselves on how we behave before we can really understand how inclusive we are prepared to be"
It is far easier to build a diverse organisation as early as possible than to diversify a large, complex, homogeneous machine. By starting as early as you can, making it a priority to reap the rewards quicker and for established companies: do not put it off. The sooner you start, the sooner you make progress.
We need to stop and look at how and why it is driven the way it is. Not what do we need to do about it. A leader once said to me; Vikki, how many lanyards do I wear to support the different diversity groups, why cant we wear one and be proud of the behaviours and values our company holds. Organisations spend thousands of dollars per year strategizing and coming up with such company behaviours and values, but how do these really come to life? If a company says its values are inclusion and respect, how are these really brought to life? How can you live them every day? I am a believer in that this starts at the top with the leaders, with employees looking up and seeing leadership behaviours brought to life and choosing to follow¦.. or not. By getting beneath the skin of our behaviours and mindsets to simply treat people inclusively, fairly and with respect, we can begin to understand the culture of an organisation and move on to discuss intersectionality of the human being. Focus on the behaviours that impact inclusion, that embraces diversity.
If people are willing to be open minded, look forward and create a community of inclusion and tolerance, we can move this topic on. We are in this together, it starts with us, and as soon as we recognise and learn about each others behaviours and differences, we can look forward and create positive change together. By acknowledging and gaining this understanding, we have the opportunity to become more inclusive rather than encourage segregation which is my biggest fear of how inclusion and diversity is driven.
The I&D profession continues to rapidly grow and whether you are entering, been in the profession for a while, I know the dedication it takes to nudge things on. It is a tough role, a role that is expected to be analytical, present findings, operate with leaders, change behaviour, deal with issues that are found. The skillsets go on.