Print First published: April 7th 2021; Last Updated: February 2nd 2022
'By encouraging difficult conversations and peer-to-peer learning through the communities we have built, we can harness this power and encourage people to bring the best version of themselves to work. For one and for all, please join the movement for change'.
In recent times, we have seen an uptake in engagement with diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives to address the inequalities that still exist in today’s modern workforce. Covid-19 has also acted as a catalyst for major changes in terms of leadership, collaboration, and partnership.
Personally, I continue to reflect on the role I can play to drive positive change and what we can all do together to achieve equality in the workplace. My activism stems from being a black woman in tech, which, in combination, makes me a minority in my field.
The initiatives I am involved with involve assessing the types of interns and graduates we are attracting as well as the diversity of our senior leadership team. My role and background also highlight a key question for any organisation’s diversity credentials: are we a truly diverse business or are we just
ticking the diversity box?
So how do we drive change and see demonstrated impact in the workplace? I have been fortunate to participate in conversations on race and discrimination, training on unconscious bias, reverse mentoring, coaching and now cross-collaboration mentoring that focuses on diverse talent through #TalkAboutBlack and City Hive.
I joined the City Hive mentoring scheme largely due to its inspiring founder Bev Shah, an advocate who shows true leadership in bringing change for women and ethnic minority talent. She always looks for the potential for people to grow and be given a chance to shine. This is the influence we need now.
I am actively involved in the networks and communities at the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), utilising my experiences as a black female to drive change. I have also encouraged new starters, interns and graduates to join these networking and educational events. I believe attending these events encourages people to speak out and show solidarity. I refer to the issues on race with George Floyd – this will always be remembered as a pivotal moment in 2020, where people were globally united. The support I experienced from colleagues, the allyship displayed by my colleagues across all races, and the support from LSEG’s CEO exemplified the solidarity these communities foster.
Not many organisations or people I discussed this with have received this level of support. By encouraging difficult conversations and peer-to-peer learning through the communities we have built, we can harness this power and encourage people to bring the best version of themselves to work. For one and for all, please join the movement for change.
Akua Opong is senior analyst, service management at the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG).
This article first appeared in Investment Week, 29th March 2021 issue.