Once of the biggest challenges in D&I is the fear of getting it wrong. Whether this is a white person afraid to speak up on anti-racism, a man speaking up in support of women’s rights or a cis-straight woman trying to amplify and give voice to trans and non-binary people – the story is often the same, I don’t know enough about the subject, I’m worried I will be out of my depth, what if my intervention is unwelcomed?
For Joanne Lockwood, this is all part of the Diversity and Inclusion playbook that organisations need to not only develop but also own. She says that; “Each and every one of us need to find our own ‘why’ and come together to build the organisations ‘why’ – built upon; culture, vision, and values” – for her, it is about understanding how to create a sustainable strategy that is realistic, measured and deliverable, as all too often the Inclusion playbook sits in a PDF on a dusty digital bookshelf never seeing the light of day once published.
So what does it take for more organisations to embrace diversity and inclusion and make it part of a company culture that is embraced and celebrated?
Joanne says it comes down to few key factors:
- Look to make progress not perfection – there is a lot of work to be done to build truly inclusive communities and organisations and progress in this area has been slow but profound. It is important to understand that when we embrace diversity we change the environment around us.
- Make it part of your values, not obligations – yes, there are laws that protect Women rights and LGBTQ community, but embracing diversity & inclusion needs to come from your own values and genuine agenda to embrace people with different backgrounds, sexual orientations, genders and colours. It really is about a global way of thinking rather than a personal definition of diversity
- Listen and don’t dictate – avoid the common urge to tell people how to do it. Instead, ask them how they think it can best be done. Speak to others in your community or organisation and ask for their input, ideas and contribution. True diversity comes from being willing to listen to each other.
Joanne Lockwood, herself a trans woman, she understands the feeling of marginalisation and has been impacted by discrimination, and is on such a mission with a passion for change. She works with organisations and brands across the world focusing on this exact message to help organisations find their own “Why of D&I”.
Recently named by peopleHum as one of the “Top 15 must-follow diversity & inclusion thought leaders to watch out for in 2021” – She is recognised as a thought leader in this space and is regularly asked to contribute as a speaker at conferences, participate in panels and appear in interviews.
Her incredible power is how she can simplify this down to basic actionable steps that all organisations can follow whilst delivering reassurance and mentoring to the board and leadership team in order to support them on their journey.
Joanne appears in a Channel 4 documentary, “The Making of Me” which tracked her own gender transition together with that of her wife, Marie’s lives over a three year period, and which also featured on Gogglebox and in March 2021 Joanne is featured as one of the headline speakers on the Women Thrive Summit hosted by the Women in Business Club, a global community for female entrepreneurs, empowering women to succeed and thrive in business.