by Kalpna Woolf
As we approach the May bank holiday and we see the slow – but so welcome – move out of restrictions, we start to think about everything that has happened in our city. Thousands of jobs have disappeared, businesses have permanently shut, our high streets have suffered and many people’s lives will never be the same again. No-one has been left untouched by the pandemic and the opportunity we have now is to affect a positive recovery for everyone in our city. There are challenges.
The question is: do we go back to the way things were, where we talked about ‘inclusion’, or do we use the recovery as an opportunity to fulfil this aspirations for everyone in our city.
How do we do this? We believe that diverse leadership is the key. We know that it adds value and makes a difference to delivering more equitable and progressive outcomes for businesses, individuals and communities.
And we are in good company – the Parker Review, The Close The Race Gap At Work, The Mckinsey Business Case For Diversity as well as the British Standard for Diversity and Inclusion (BS 76005), all agree and support this with established and indisputable research.
“Encourage, appoint and be intentional about diversity. This will bring the change we wall want to see”
At BeOnBoard we are on a mission to disrupt the business-as-usual model with high-calibre leaders of colour, from different backgrounds and gender to deliver more inclusive workplaces and a fairer society for all. As we look forward and beyond Covid, we are putting a call to action for our civic, business and community leaders who are serious about advancing diversity and inclusion. The time for talking is officially over. Now is the time to make good on your good intentions.
On May 6th, residents in Bristol and the West of England go to the polls to choose a City Mayor, West of England Mayor and Police & Crime Commissioner. Both Mayoral roles will have important powers and funding over strategic transport, planning, housing, health, education, skills and more.
BeOnBoard will be rocking up to the remaining hustings to hold our aspiring future leaders to account on race, inclusive growth, and representation. We are keen to challenge all candidates on what tangible change they will make to resolve the persistent lack of diverse and racial representation among our leaders and our institutions. We are equally as keen to understand how they will deliver meaningful inclusive growth for all our communities and particularly communities that experience inequality.
On inclusive leadership, we recently caught up with Mayor Marvin Rees and this is what he had to say:
“We have worked hard to transform Bristol’s approach to the leadership, and I suggest that our city is today more aware of the importance of building an inclusive leadership than it ever has been. We have had great city buy-in to Stepping Up and it has been particularly inspiring to see the private sector taking the lead. And BeOnBoard continues to go from strength to strength, connecting our city’s organisations with the talent in our communities. On top of this we have the most inclusive and diverse political leadership in Bristol’s history. Bristol has begun moving in the right direction. Now is the time for people to come forward.
In ‘A Promised Land‘, Barack Obama shares the story of the conversation he had with Senator Ted Kennedy. People had been encouraging him to run for President. Obama was not sure. He thought it was too early having only recently become a senator. Kennedy tells him that sometimes you do not choose the time, the time chooses you. The openness Bristol is currently experiencing is the time that is choosing us to step forward. You will not be alone. This is something we are doing together.”
We hope Barack Obama’s words will inspire you. Bristol is a great city. We are ready to show the world what inclusive leadership looks like and how it helps everyone in the city to thrive. So many business leaders ask us what they can do and we say: encourage, appoint and be intentional about diversity. This will bring the change we wall want to see.
BeOnBoard are here to help – If your organisation has a specific ED&I challenge, project, or vacancy you would like to progress, or if you are an aspiring leader looking for your next boardroom role do reach out to us, we are here to help navigate you through your journey towards inclusion.