InChorus recently hosted an event for EDI professionals at Somerset House, with the aim of exchanging ideas and building confidence in driving inclusion initiatives forward.
Reflecting on the evening, our overwhelming takeaway was the keen desire among EDI leads to connect and unwind with like minded peers, many of whom are facing the same day to day challenges (particularly in relation to workload!). This got us thinking about the real need for greater emotional and professional support for EDI professionals - and how InChorus might be able to help!
"...having a community of fellow DE&I professionals to reach out to can really help to stave off the emotional exhaustion."
We've received some really insightful comments about the value of our event for EDI leads, particularly in relation to the sense of community and support system that was created. Here are just a couple of accounts from EDI leads who attended:
Aneta Weedon, Senior Diversity and Inclusion Leader:
"When your days are filled with other people's emotions and experiences, it's inevitable things rub on you and this can become emotionally draining. Chances are working in DE&I means you're either working alone or in a very small team, and sometimes it means you don't have anyone to turn to. This is where having a community of fellow DE&I professionals to reach out to can really help to stave off the emotional exhaustion.
Attending the event made me realise the importance of this community. Having a network helps to share ideas, solutions, recommendations and relax in good company. More importantly though, it's about connecting with people who instinctively get where you're at and what you're going through."
Zainab Al-Farabi, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Lead at Teenage Cancer Trust:
"It can be really isolating working as a sole EDI specialist in an organisation. I didn't realise how much I needed or would enjoy connecting with new people working in the EDI space!
It was a time to relax and connect with people who understood the joys and the challenges that come with this work. Everybody was super welcoming and open to chatting and I felt instantly at ease even though I attended alone. I connected with so many wonderful people and there was still so many others to meet. Very excited about the next one already!"
The InChorus team have also been reflecting on the significance of the event and how the sense of community and support connects to our own company mission to make genuine culture change. Co-CEO Raj says:
"Speaking to those who attended our event, it dawned on me that our army - all the hard working EDI leads - are burning out - and it’s in our interests to support them as best we can so that we can all achieve our goal of greater workplace equity.
I had so many engaging, fascinating and meaningful conversations with EDI leads about the work they're doing and the impact they're having. Their stories should be shared as a lesson to all who attempt the daunting task of culture change. My central takeaway from the evening: my desire to wake up every morning and support this cause through technology, insights, education, training, and community doubled overnight."
Through the technology and community we're building at InChorus, Head of Ops Kalila shares the same desire to support EDI leads with their hugely varied and (often pressurised) workload:
"Speaking to the incredibly hard working EDI leads at our event, one comment in particular really stuck with me: "Sometimes in this job it's like choosing which of your family to save from a burning building". It was a stark reminder of the enormous and varied workload involved in changing workplace culture, and the inspiring sense of duty and commitment among EDI leads to support all of the communities and causes within their organisation.
Through the use of technology and a supportive community, I hope InChorus can reduce the number of impossible decisions EDI leads have to make when it comes to choosing which issue to prioritise over another. Healthy and happy EDI leads will surely propel a healthy and happy culture!"
With thanks to all those who attended our Somerset event and to our co-hosts The Unmistakables and Motionspot.
We hope to see you at our next InChorus event on 30th November 2022, focusing on the mental health and wellbeing of EDI professionals. Join the wait list here.