By Lydia Charilaou 

Ever since I can remember in my professional life, I’ve had this discussion in some shape or form.  In my experience, assumptions are made based on the way I look. It often leaves me feeling all sorts of emotions, none of them positive. My ethnicity is a big part of who I am and when this is ignored or not acknowledged I also feel emotionally detached from a situation.

I’m curious, how many of you relate to this real-life example? Imagine this, you have just accepted an offer to join a new company/ role. You are excited about starting, you are asked to complete a new joiner’s form. You get to the dreaded Inclusion and Diversity section only to skim through the list of supplied ethnicity categories and begrudgingly tick a broad category such as ‘black’, ‘white’ or in my case ‘other’? How does that make you feel? How does one define ethnicity, yet alone measure it?

Maya Angelou (American poet) once said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Of course, this is one of the many areas under the IDE banner that organisations should seek to address. When we truly feel heard we feel a sense of belonging and acceptance, that way we can bring our true authentic selves to work.

When I was asked to join the panel around IDE at the ATD Europe conference I jumped at the opportunity. I’m excited to discover how other organisations are listening to their people’s voices, which areas they are focusing on, why and the strategies they are implementing for an inclusive work environment. I’m hoping to learn from people and hopefully inspire others to be bold and ask difficult questions. When more people speak up, more people listen.

Join Lydia at the virtual ATD 2021 European Summit this November.

Lydia will join the panel about ‘Implementing D&I Initiatives and Incorporating Long Term Measures into Your Company Culture’. The session will focus on diving into:

  • Practical insights for implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies, and implementing these authentically in the company culture, to foster a work environment in which all employees feel respected, accepted, supported, and valued
  • New strategies to engage and develop talent and career paths via community programmes
  • Examples of initiatives and year-round, day to day actions being taken by leading brands in the region and an open QnA with panelists

Download brochure for more details about the event.