When we decided to run a conference for National Inclusion Week, what we set out to do was gather a range of speakers to inspire people about new ideas about the world of work. We wanted people to learn about how to implement change to create diverse, inclusive working environments. And we wanted people to feel hopeful about the future.
We have gathered a fantastic range of speakers who have definitely delivered on those early ideas we had about what we wanted people to take away from the conference. Our 13 speakers have created brilliant talks with lots of ideas and practical advice. So to help you think about which speakers you want to listen to on each day, here’s 5 new ideas to inspire you from our speakers
1. Including different perspectives
Did you know that around half of the population are shy? Doesn’t that make you wonder why everything in our lives is focused on those who are extroverts? From asking children to raise their hands to speak at school, to politicians giving speeches, we are missing the contributions of the people who are shy. Nadia Finer is on a softly-spoken mission to help everyone understand the power of shy people.
We are different in so many ways, and we need to consider how to include different types of people. How do you experience the world if you’re neurodiverse? And how can we celebrate cultures where we can talk about our mental health? Listen to DeAnna Avis talking about mental health positivity.
Holly Simmons from Niya talks about different perspectives when you are recruiting. Many people talk about how to recruit different types of people, and ideas for including different perspectives, but how many companies consider what that really involves? If you want to recruit a refugee, do you know what actions to take? Listen to Holly talking about this.
2. Bringing your whole self to work
There used to be this idea that you had to be someone different at work. People would hide who they are or what is happening in their life. Perhaps because they are different in some way, or because they are experiencing something people are uncomfortable about. Several of our speakers address this theme in their talks. To create inclusive ways of working, we need to be able to be ourselves and bring our lives to what we do in our work.
Louise Harman tackles a subject that makes people uncomfortable. We do not talk about death. We skirt around the subject, we use different words to describe it. So what happens when someone experiences death? When someone close to them dies, and no-one will talk about it.
Dr Helen Curr talks about this subject in a different way. If we are to embrace new ways of working and collaborative leadership, then one of the factors we need to talk about, is being ourselves at work. Helen is talking about ways of working in which we don’t have to pretend or hide who we are.
3. Action, activism and adversity
For any changes we want to see, these changes face barriers. To drive those changes forwards takes drive, action and we often have to overcome adversity and opposition. Our speakers address these issues in their talks around some different subject areas.
When we talk about anti-racism and the work that needs to be done for racial justice, many people see this as something performative. Perhaps they change their logo a different colour or post something on social media. What does that really do though? Does that drive change? Kaia Allen-Bevan talks about how you can be a proactive ally.
And Paul Mortimer has been a long-time campaigner for racial justice. A former footballer who overcame adversity himself, he is talking about what we can do when things go wrong. In any changes we’re trying to drive, things will go wrong, listen to Paul talking about his experiences in this. How can we be stronger in how we deal with things? Paul has lots of advice.
Activism takes many forms, but inevitably involves activity online on social media, websites or other digital platforms. With more of us working more regularly from home, that means we are more open to online platforms and engaging with people online. Gwen Taylor from Glitch will talk about digital self-care online and the work Glitch does to make the internet safer.
4. Practicalities of inclusion
As the theme of National Inclusion Week this year is ‘Time For Change: Actions, Not Words’, our speakers have practical actions and takeaways for you. Firstly Silvie Koanda from Soundwaves Foundation will talk about what the inclusion revolution means for deafness. How can we include people who are deaf, and how often do we forget about this? Sylvie will talk about what we can do to include people and take action for captions.
Nicolette Wykeman will help us all to think about ways to create multi-generational workplaces. Different generations bring different strengths and benefits to work. We need to think beyond stereotypes, think about different ways of working and really think about the amazing benefits of different ages working together.
A lot of these themes and practical ideas come together in Matthew Knight’s talk about ‘The Manual Of Me’. This is a way in which we can share who we are and think about practical ways we can include each other in how we work. Are you someone who likes phone calls? Or perhaps you prefer to work in the afternoons only? Or maybe you have family responsibilities which factor into how and when you work? Do you share those things with people you work with? Listen to Matthew talking about how to do this.
5. Creativity, change and new ideas
All of these different ideas involve change, creativity, new ideas and thinking about a different future. Meg Fenn talks to us about how to bring creativity in what we do. For reimagining work, and thinking about new ideas, we need to be creative.
Which brings us onto Marc Convey talking about how we can create the change the world needs today. He has changed his life and work in many ways and he reflects on what we need to do to think about these new ideas and change. As with all of our speakers, Marc has some practical advice for you and some actions.
Inspired? Here’s how to buy a ticket
If reading about these fabulous speakers and ideas has inspired you, then buy a ticket to access the talks all week at a time that suits you. And as you have read this blog, we consider you a friend, use the code FRIENDS so get 20% off and buy a ticket for only £16. See you there!