204: Blended – Handling Diversity in Business: Is there a right or wrong answer?

It’s Episode 9 and we are growing and improving show after show! We’ve already featured some incredible panellists, who have really opened up, got deep, got vulnerable, and brought some amazing points of view to the table.

We’ve talked about all sorts of issues – the differences between equality and diversity, the Black Lives Matter movement, the gender equation and last episode, we got real about workplace bullying. It was an emotional one at some points, but yet again, so valuable in opening up the kinds of conversations we need to have to bring visibility to key issues and encourage positive change.

Today in Episode 9, ‘Handling Diversity in Business: Is there a right or wrong answer?’ Madison and I are joined by a new group of inspirational supply chain and DEI professionals who are passionate about people, about social issues in our industry and in the community at large; and they are going to share their insights and experiences with us to help shine a light on the huge topic of the right and wrong ways to handle diversity.



[01.11] Introductions to our Blended panellists.

  • Rob – CEO at Mercado Labs
  • Joselina – Executive Board Member at Zora’s Cradle
  • Kesha – National Diversity & Inclusion Specialist
  • Gabby – Principal Consultant at Inclusive Kind

“Diversity should be a core value of every company: how you get there is as much art as it is science, but it should never not be the goal.” Rob

[07.01] The group share some personal stories of the wrong ways to handle diversity in the workplace and touch on the kinds of challenges we’re still facing in this area.

  • Stereotypes and assumptions
  • The role of ego
  • Conforming and compliance
  • Self-awareness, personal development and unconscious bias
  • Good intentions vs being intentional

“We should work with people with who they are and what they have to offer, and value that. Diverse teams outperform homogenous teams but many people, for whatever reason, are uncomfortable with what doesn’t look familiar.” Joselina

[24.36] The panellists take a closer look at the widespread corporate policy of target setting, and whether this challenges inequality and enhances diversity, or just further commoditises underrepresented groups.

  • Representation and diversity of thought
  • Hiring vs retention
  • Compliance and commitment
  • Emphasis on employee experience
  • Creating safe spaces
  • Company vision and legacy
  • Differing challenges based on company size and culture
  • Goals vs targets

“Diversity and equity work is very purposeful… you need to know where you started from and where you want to get to, so you need to know the numbers to ground that work.” Gabby

[42.09] The group consider the idea of box-ticking, and what that means for company policies and belief systems.

  • The language we use around DEI
  • Policy vs empowerment
  • Change management and transformation
  • Finding the ‘why’ and tying into culture, mission and values

[1.00.50] Madison reflects on her appointment as head of Belonging, Inclusion and Culture and the panellists think about the pros and cons of hiring a DEI figurehead.

  • Personal accountability, advocacy and driving awareness
  • DEI as an almost daily evolution
  • Authenticity

“Retention is a piece of this equation too: how strong is the culture that enables diverse employees to bring their full selves to work?” Madison

[1.12.15] The panellists each give their sum-up from today’s discussion.

  • Be kind – Rob
  • Take action – Joselina
  • Create equitable foundations, that support everything from fair wages to talent development – Kesha
  • Remember that we have the power to re-design the workplace – Gabby
  • Be unapologetically you – Madison

“Integrate DEI into every facet of your organisation… make sure you have an equitable foundation that supports everyone.” Kesha



You can connect with Madison, Rob, Joselina, Kesha and Gabby over on LinkedIn.

Check out our other podcasts HERE.

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