Eastern Eye (UK)
Workplace equality efforts hailed
COMPANIES RECOGNISED FOR THEIR DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION INITIATIVES
GG2 ED&I Initiative Award: JTI for its Introductions programme (award received by Natalie Richardson, JTI’s inclusion and wellbeing director) Japan Tobacco Group (JTI) is a leading firm in the tobacco and vaping industry, operating in 130 countries with 48,000 employees from 119 different nationalities.
JTI’s Introductions programme is designed to promote employee connections by offering 30-minute virtual face-to-face chats once a month. This successful initiative led to a more inclusive working environment and enhanced social wellbeing. By breaking down barriers between departments and encouraging cross-generational learning, the programme allows employees to bring their whole selves to work and form meaningful connections. JTI believes diversity is a strategic advantage and it is committed to fostering an inclusive workplace where everyone’s unique qualities are celebrated.
Advertising Agency of the Year: OMG Unite, Omnicom Media Group (award received by Serhat Ekinci, managing director, and Emma Kwarteng, projects and operations lead, OMG Unite) OMG Unite, part of one of the world’s biggest advertising agencies, specialises in multi-cultural, LGBTQ+ and disability marketing.
The agency aims to disrupt the traditional marketing brief and move clients from unconscious exclusion to conscious inclusion, which it has done with considerable success with some of the country’s biggest brands.
After receiving briefs that did not consider ethnicity, religion, sexuality, disability or gender fluidity, the agency started to question why mainstream media was not more inclusive; why big brands only reached out to specific communities during certain times, such as Muslim communities during Ramadan or black communities during Black History Month; or why companies only displayed the Pride flag during June.
Part of the Omnicom Media Group, OMG Unite works with some of Britain’s best-known organisations including Sainsbury’s, HSBC, Specsavers, Barclays, the RAF, and the NSPCC. The team comes from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds and their insights have helped grow their client base from just three to 90-plus in the time the agency has existed.
Independent Agency of the Year: GottaBe! Marketing (award received by Martin Rothwell, client relations lead and Tomasz Dyl, managing director, Gottabe! Marketing) GottaBe! Marketing, an agency known for its creativity and vision, is committed to making ED&I a central part of all its operations. The team is passionate about promoting diversity and inclusion in marketing, and has hosted its own EDI Together project.
Founded by Tomasz Dyl when he was just 17 years old, GottaBe! has worked across industries such as FMCG, technology, finance, telecoms and pharmaceuticals, among others; and made a name for itself with a roster of clients including Western Union, O2, Easjyet, Shelter, and Lebara. Throughout its 14-year history, GottaBe! has seen consistent year-on-year growth and the agency prioritises creating ideas tailored to each client’s needs.
Marketing Campaign of the Year: Mediareach Advertising for its NHS Royal Voluntary Service campaign (award received by Saad Al-Saraf, CEO, and Ankita Dobhal, client services and media partnerships) Media Reach’s public information campaign targeted diverse communities to sign up as NHS volunteer responders to support ethnic communities with underlying health conditions.
The delivery of the NHS Volunteer Responders programme is facilitated by the GoodSAM app and administered by the Royal Voluntary Service.
Throughout the pandemic, the programme provided support to vulnerable individuals in the form of prescription pick-ups, shopping assistance, friendly phone calls, and patient transport. The strategy of this successful campaign to get more responders from ethnic communities involved generating hyper-targeted traffic to the NHS Voluntary Service website using various channels such as radio, press, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Mediareach was established in 1986. Its founder Saad Al-Saraf is regarded as a pioneer who championed diversity even before it became a buzzword in business.
Diversity Champion of the Year: Anisa Missaghi, chief corporate affairs and communications officer at Pladis Anisa Missaghi has played a key role in ensuring the workplace culture in Pladis is more inclusive, supportive and nurturing, allowing people to be themselves and thrive.
Along with CEO Salman Amin, Missaghi was instrumental in creating awareness of ED&I in Pladis. A member of the Pladis Inclusion and Diversity board, she helped host a series of Inspire sessions centred around International Women’s Day, World Mental Health Day and International Day of Person’s with Disabilities, among others.
Diverse Employer of the Year: Mondelez International for its Race Relations Network group
Mondelez International, home of brands such as Oreo, Riz and LU, as well as Cadbury, Milka and Toblerone, created a Race Relations Network group which has driven change and positivity across the company. The network aims to create an environment where everyone can be their authentic self, free from racial stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination. The programme involves training across a range of issues which include allyship and white privilege to neurodiversity and ethnicity. The sessions have had a positive and lasting impact.
Excellence in Education: Regent Group
(award received by Selva Pankaj and Tharshiny Pankaj, co-founders, Regent Group) The Regent Group has helped those from diverse and under privileged backgrounds, with its Regent College currently tutoring 5,000 students and helping those who thought higher education had passed them by.
The college was founded by Selva Pankaj and his wife Tharshiny from a small premises in Wembley, north London. Today they have a central London base and campuses in the London suburbs of Kingsbury, Southall and Harrow. The college has a wide curriculum and its motto, ‘the end result of education is character’ epitomises its commitment to the holistic development of its students into well-rounded members of society.
Founded as a family venture in the early 2000s, the Regent Group maintains its philanthropic ethos. Today, the group offers a range of services from childcare to higher education and leverages technology to enhance learning.
Excellence in Finance: Delta Capital
Madhvi Tailor is a career coach who helps empower women to overcome cultural barriers in the finance and technology sectors. Her focus is on technology transformation and automation projects, and she has also written extensively on cultural identity, helping others like herself – women from minority groups – navigate this field.
Tailor worked on system implementations at several investment banks and led a team of developers on a post-trade system.
She began her career as a developer after obtaining a first-class degree in computer science degree. After a six-year career break to focus on motherhood, she returned to freelance work and took courses in business analysis, data analytics, Lean Six Sigma, Agile, Leading SAFe, and artificial intelligence programmes.
Madhvi became certified as a success mindset and empowerment coach to help women in their careers.
Police Force of the Year: Humberside Police
Humberside Police has increased its intake of officers from diverse backgrounds by forming a Positive Action team to attract talent from under-represented communities, which led to a trebling of intake from ethnic minorities and doubling the LGBTQ+ intake.
The team set out a 500:100:50 model to increase interest from underrepresented communities – so 500 expressions of interest would lead to 100 applications which, in turn, would lead to 50 successful candidates.
After holding face-to-face events over two weeks, interest from these groups rose by some 288 per cent. Of a recent intake of 73 new recruits, 10 per cent were from LGBTQ+ communities, another 10 per cent from ethnic minority groups and seven per cent had disabilities.
Fire Brigade of the Year: Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (award received by John Rossen, Esma Alicehajic and Faz Patel, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Services) Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS), which covers 39 fire stations around the county, is a leader in its field when it comes to tackling discrimination. It aims to promote fairness, respect and provide equal opportunities for all employees to reach their full potential.
The service was rated as outstanding in promoting the right values and culture by a recent report. It increased the diversity of its assessment panels and changed the working environment by empowering staff to challenge poor behaviour and inappropriate language. Recruitment processes were overhauled, assessment panels diversified and progression pathways put in to fast-track talent.
NHS Trust of the Year: Northwest Anglia NHS Trust Foundation One of the few NHS trusts where ethnic minorities serve in the leadership team, Northwest Anglia NHS Trust Foundation has led the charge to create a diverse workforce.
Since his appointment as deputy chief operating officer at Northwest Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, Pradip Karanjit has successfully led operational changes and introduced effective financial management. He leads a trust with 7,000 staff across three hospitals, serving 700,000 people. The organisation prioritises equality of outcome, accounting for differing needs and capabilities. Diversity is valued through inclusion and representation in the workforce. The trust also encourages feedback, and empowers staff and patients to develop solutions for improvement through accreditation and co-production groups.