Last year I had the pleasure of co-leading Connecting Diverse Voices, the Government Communication Service (GCS) diversity and inclusion mutual mentoring scheme, alongside Stephanie Mittiga and Gabriella Jessup. While setting up the programme, I was also eager to participate as I felt this was a unique opportunity to have open discussions around Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) with a senior GCS colleague.
Learning from each other
I was partnered with Simon Baugh, Director of Communications at the Home Office, and we were able to have honest conversations on the subject of discrimination. Initially, I thought that we needed specific diversity driven outcomes to aid our discussions. However, we soon learnt the most rewarding conversations were when we ‘let loose’, didn’t have an agenda, and spoke from the heart about our experiences.
I asked Simon for his reflections on the programme, he said:
“I’ve really enjoyed being on the Connecting Diverse Voices programme – in a different way than I imagined from the start. By discussing concepts such as white privilege we had the opportunity to test and challenge each other’s views, in an open way. Those conversations have been helpful in bringing a different perspective, a way to test thinking, in a way I wouldn’t have got anywhere else. That was the real value in the programme – it was a different type of conversation.
I found myself looking forward to conversations – to see what actually does it mean to be from a Black and Minority Ethnic background, what does it mean for life chances, and what are the differences between the UK and USA. I felt it was an enjoyable experience to have a space to really challenge my views.”
Finding my voice
Taking part in the programme was incredibly rewarding; it was refreshing to learn and gain a different perspective on things I hadn’t considered before. I also gained a great deal of confidence just by conversing with a senior member of the GCS. It’s made me proactively look for opportunities to progress and get involved in other diversity and inclusion initiatives. Most recently I joined the Ethnic Minority Women’s Forum Committee where I’ll be planning and organising future events.
I would strongly recommend joining this year’s Connecting Diverse Voices programme, it’s an excellent way to connect with people, share your experiences, and create better understanding. This is fundamental in creating a more diverse and inclusive GCS.
Find out more about Connecting Diverse Voices. Applications for the 2021 programme will open in early Spring.
- Image credit:
- Sarah Chaudry (1)