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Series Fifteen, Episode Two Accessibility, Customer Focus and Inclusivity: Refreshing disability strategies


In this episode, host Julia Streets is joined by Toby Mildon, Diversity & Inclusion Architect and founder of Mildon, a consultancy and advisory business, and Johnny Timpson OBE, principal of Johnny Timpson Consulting and Non-Executive Chair of specialist military insurance brokerage Absolute Military. Together they discuss ways to improve  access to financial products, resources and services and discuss the financial health of many people living with disabilities.  They address how inclusivity on boards, changes in culture and inclusive language can bring about wide-reaching transformation.  Lastly, they focus on the value of embracing intersectionality to enhance the diversity discussion and ultimately drive greater inclusion.

Toby Mildon, Diversity & Inclusion Architect and founder of Mildon, a consultancy and advisory business, and Johnny Timspon OBE, principal of Johnny Timpson Consulting

Toby Mildon

Toby is a Diversity & Inclusion Architect and founder of Mildon, a consultancy and advisory business. Toby works with businesses to devise diversity and inclusion strategies, re-engineer processes and systems to minimise the impact of bias and build a culture of inclusion. Toby is the author of the Amazon bestselling book Inclusive Growth: futureproof your business by creating a diverse workplace. Prior to setting up his business, Toby worked as an in-house diversity and inclusion manager at the BBC and Deloitte

Johnny Timpson

Johnny Timpson OBE has over 40 years insurance and banking sector leadership and business development experience and is the principal of Johnny Timpson Consulting and Non-Executive Chair of specialist military insurance brokerage Absolute Military. He is additionally a Financial Inclusion Commissioner and member of the Financial Services Consumer Panel, the Prime Ministers Champion Group for Dementia Communities, the British Insurance Brokers Association Access To Insurance Committee, the Building Resilient Households Group, the Institute of Faculty Actuaries Mental Health Working Group, and GAIN - the Group for Autism, Insurance, Investment and Neurodiversity. Johnny was awarded an OBE in the 2022 New Year’s Honours and recipient of multiple professional body and industry awards,

Series Fifteen, Episode Two Transcript

Julia: Hello. My name is Julia Streets and welcome to DiverCity Podcast, talking about equity, inclusion, and diversity in the financial services.

On the podcast, we seek to shine a light on positive progress, call out areas requiring further focus, and offer lots of ideas to help drive change. Before we get started today, I just want to take a moment to thank our friends at City AM. They have given DiverCity Podcast a new home at Impact AM, their pages dedicated to ESG, impact investment, DE&I, and more. And we really appreciate that they publish and promote both our episodes and our supporting blog series, so their readers can stay right on top of the very latest diversity, equity, and inclusion debate. So thank you to City AM.

In this episode I am really looking forward to the discussion and I’m joined by two guests today, Toby Mildon and Johnny Timpson. Allow me to introduce them to you.Toby Mildon is a diversity and inclusion architect and founder of Mildon, a consultancy and advisory business. He works with businesses to devise diversity and inclusion strategies to re-engineer processes and systems, or to minimise the impact of bias and build a culture of inclusion. He is the author of the Amazon best selling book, Inclusive Growth: Future Proof Your Business by Creating a Diverse Workplace. Prior to setting up his own company, Toby worked as an in-house diversity and inclusion manager at both the BBC and Deloitte. Toby, welcome to the show. It’s great to have your company.

Toby: Thanks Julia. And it’s great to be with you and Johnny today.

Julia: I can’t wait for the conversation because we’ve got so much we’re going to get into. Well, allow me to take a moment very importantly to introduce our second guest, Johnny Timpson OBE. Johnny has more than 40 years in the world of insurance and banking sector leadership and business development. And he is the principle of Johnny Timpson Consulting and is a non-executive chair of specialist military insurance, the brokerage Absolute Military.

In addition, he is a financial inclusion commissioner, a member of the Financial Services Consumer Panel, the Prime Minister’s champion group for dementia communities, and also the Institute of Faculty Actuaries Mental Health Working Group, and GAIN, the group for autism, insurance, investment, and neurodiversity. I should also mention he’s an ambassador for both the Grief Chats bereavement counselling service called Settled Bereavement Support, and he was very instrumental in the Invictus Games, Scotland 2027 bid. A former Cabinet Office Disability and Access ambassador for both the insurance and banking sectors, both of which were public appointments I should note, it is a great pleasure to welcome to the show Johnny. Johnny, thanks for your time today.

Johnny: Julia, thank you. I should also say I’m one of the 20% of working age people in the UK that has a disability and like 80% of people who are working age who are disabled, my disabilities are non-visible. I suffer from a degenerative athletic condition and I’m also autistic, which is why I was quite keen to establish GAIN, which is a group for autism insurance and neurodiversity because that’s an area that really is neglected in the UK.

Julia:  In this series we had a special about neurodiversity as well. So I’m looking forward to your remarks on that, it’s incredibly, incredibly important. Well listen, let me begin because I’m dying to know what you’re both focused on and your amazing work individually. Toby, can I come to you first?

Toby: I actually spent most of my time working with my clients to help them create their diversity and inclusion strategy. Typically, they’ve had a strategy that’s coming to an end and they need it refreshing. Or they’ve got a strategy but they’re getting frustrated because it’s not having the desired impact and so they think they need a fresh perspective on things. Or really interestingly, for the senior leadership team that the penny has finally dropped that they need to do something around diversity and inclusion. We start with a nice blank sheet of paper and we create a plan that will help them attract and retain a diverse workforce.

Julia:  Can I just ask a supplementary question, which is of that mix, are you seeing more of your clients are at the next chapter of refreshing their strategies, or are you still finding that many are at the start of the journey?

Toby:  The vast majority are actually at the start of the journey and they’ve realised that it is now time to put some real serious effort behind diversity and inclusion. They can’t just wing it. They might have done a few things like get an employee resource group up and running, which they tend to find will fizzle out or it doesn’t have the desired impact. Partly the reason being that they’re not having that senior leadership buy in and driving it from the top business. The vast majority of organisations that are at the exciting point of the start of the journey.

Julia: Fascinating, thank you for that. Much of that we’re going to get into in the discussion today. And Johnny, can I ask you the same question? What are you focused on right now?

Johnny: I’m in a lucky position, Julia. I’m working with politicians, regulators, academics and the industry itself, the financial services industry itself to improve access to insurance and banking products, services, and careers. But particularly ensuring that that products are understandable, they’re accessible they provide fair value and they deliver a great outcomes for everybody. But particularly, people who have visible and non-visible disabilities and health conditions. I’m equally working with the University of Bristol, which is initiating a project now looking at the financial health, wellbeing, and resilience of disabled people and their families, particularly given our shared COVID experience but especially given the financial crisis we’re all engaged in now and facing into.

That work is, as I say, is only starting now and will really inform, I hope, regulatory change and equally support interventions that financial services companies design. And pushing financial services companies to be inclusive by design, and to seek the lived experience input from people like Toby and myself and others to help shape what they do. But particularly, to be very alive to the social model of disability. There’s a big regulatory focus right now in supporting vulnerable customers, but all too frequently financial services firms immediately link vulnerability to a medical definition of disability. Just because you’ve got a disability doesn’t mean that you are vulnerable. It’s the inaccessibility of products, services, it’s the barriers that get in the way. Those are the disabling factors and those are the things that we really need to tackle.

Julia: I wonder if we could pick up with that and actually drive the conversation forward from that because I’m really curious to hear your thoughts, because you’ve been working in the field of financial services for many years, as I said in my introductory remarks. But when you consider the design and delivery of financial products and services within the industry, I’d love to hear what best practise you are seeing that you particularly appreciate and we should certainly see more of?

Johnny: When I say I’m working with academics, regulators, and politicians, for me actually the key thing is that industry taking ownership of making change happen itself. Being more inclusive and seeking lived experience itself. Not being forced to do so, not being pressured to do so by media commentators, but actually picking up the baton, recognising that 20% of working age consumers in this country have at least one disability and about 23% of all consumers. The good news is that we started to see that now. We started to see some industry initiatives. We have, for example, an age agreement in place which basically makes sure that older consumers that are seeking, say, access to motor insurance or travel insurance. If a financial advisory firm is unable to help them, then they basically will sign post that consumer to specialist advisors that will help them access the products and services they need.

We’ve seen that age agreement, which has been in place actually since 2012, and last year we saw it extended to include protection and health insurance products as well. And more recently, we’ve seen an ask by the British Insurance Brokers Association, which is the major insurance brokerage trade body, they’re now calling for total sign posting. And that’s for everyone in the industry to realise that if you are unable to help a consumer access the products and services that they need, then basically don’t just leave them high and dry or leave them in lurch. Actively introduce them to a specialist advisor, a specialist brokerage firm, that can help them access the services they need. And that’s great to see. 

We’ve seen the regulator now pick that up actually as well with the development of new consumer duty regulation, which is going to kick in next year, that basically require firms now to take lived experience input to be inclusive by design, and ensure that the products and services the way through the customer journey, the customer lifetime relationship that they have with their customer, that what they’re doing is understood by that customer. Checking to make sure that the product and service that they’re making available to that consumer does actually deliver real value, checking that the support and that service provides is accessible. Again, not just when the individual buys that product, all the way through the lifetime journey, the ownership of that product. The regulator is now saying that it should be as easy to shop and change and cancel a product as it is to buy it in the first place, which is great news, particularly for people that have visible and non-visible disabilities.

But the thing I really appreciate from the regulator and it’s just hit the regulatory rule now, is that the regulator is basically insisting that firms look at their board, the makeup of their board. Their board should be inclusive. They’re basically saying that board should then ensure that there’s a culture, an inclusive culture in that organisation. It’s great to see the regulator setting the tone from the top because if we get that right, we start to get more people of different ethnicities, sexual orientation, disabled people on boards appointed as non-exec directors, that does really set change. I’ve always said to financial services firms, if you get products and services for disabled people, you get them right for everybody.

Julia:  That’s so true. We’ve had many, many conversations on the podcast about that it is a fundamental principle. I love writing your remarks there, Johnny, that you do talk at the very sort fundamental levels of getting the products and services right to the consumer, right the way up to the board and the organisation which is fantastic.Toby, can I bring you in here? Because one of the wonderful contributions that you make every time I talk to you, and we’ve met before as well, is your experience from outside the industry. More recently coming into this weird and wonderful world of financial services. But I mentioned in the opening remarks about your time at the BBC and advising businesses across many sectors. I’d love to hear when you look at best practise and you look at the industry and those organisations that are getting it right, what do you particularly appreciate?

Toby: Three things come to mind really and that’s culture, language, and maturity. One thing I noticed moving from the BBC into a big four accountancy firm was really the language that was being used around diversity and inclusion. The BBC is a public broadcaster, it’s funded by the licenced fee payer so the argument for diversity and inclusion is that we are as representative of the UK as possible, because everyone deserves to see themselves in the content that the BBC produces, on TV, on radio, online, etc. A lot of the language that’s used internally within the BBC is that it’s all about innovation, increasing creativity, connecting with audiences, delivering value for money with respect to the amount that the per pound of the licence fee. When I then went to work in one of the big four accountancy firms, the language shifted for me. There was a lot more talk around what is the business case behind diversity and inclusion? Where is the data and the evidence to back that up? Because working in one of the big four accountancy firms, they’re very logical thinkers, very data driven or orientated.

So for me, I had to make that shift as a D&I practitioner. The other area really is maturity as I mentioned. I think that the BBC is probably nine out of 10 when it comes to the diversity and inclusion journey. It’s very mature. But then when I moved into the professional services firm, they’re a lot earlier on in the journey. There was still a bit of siloed thinking going on, so there was a focus on gender balance within the sector. When I was there race and ethnicity only came online. And actually those two action plans felt very separate to me. So it wasn’t really taking into account that intersectionality of what does it mean to be a Black woman working in financial services for example. And other areas of inclusion or diversity weren’t very mature. I felt like actually disability wasn’t really discussed a lot. There was a lot of work to do on the disability space so that’s my immediate reflections.

Julia:  It’s fascinating here talking about, so culture, language, maturity are where you began your remarks with and I wonder if we could just pick up and talk about the concept of culture and then impetus towards changing culture. I think it’s quite obvious to understand why culture matters because that sort of permeates organisations, but I’d love to hear your thoughts about where you focused on in helping organisations change their culture.

Toby:  This is one of the key points that I made in my book, actually. I think I used the phrase that when I first started getting involved in culture change, I found it really hard to get my arms around it because it’s so big and I just felt not very well defined. It wasn’t until I was working with a partner at Deloitte who made it really clear for me, which is culture is the sum of all of our day-to-day behaviours. If you want to shift culture, you need to look at those behaviours and that’s something that we were looking at Deloitte.

We didn’t talk about diversity and inclusion at Deloitte, we talked about respect and inclusion and creating that culture of respect and inclusion. The behaviours that need to be role modelled from the top of the organisation to create that more inclusive behaviour. Those can be small behaviours, those microaggressions, those little remarks that you might make in a meeting, or comments that you might make about a colleague that makes them feel uncomfortable, that they don’t belong in the organisation. All the way through to blatant discrimination that has to be tackled head on and where you have to have a zero tolerance approach to really damaging discriminatory behaviour.

Julia: I’d recommend everybody has a look at Toby’s book because this journey of transition and changes is complex, and the practical suggestions that come through are incredibly important as well. One word has come up a couple of times in our discussion so far and that’s the reference to the word intersectionality. Johnny, could I bring you in here? I would love to hear your thoughts about when we focus on intersectionality, why should we focus on this so importantly, but what in focusing on that can drive inclusion overall?

Johnny: Points that Toby made really resonate with me. I’ve spent years attending industry presentations to all party parliamentary groups in Westminster, or various trade body conferences talking about inclusion and diversity. I’ve always found that the focuses tended to be siloed so there’s been a huge focus on gender. Gender pay gap recognition, gender pay gap reporting. And as Toby rightly said, it’s within financial services. Now we’ve now got a City of London led initiative on ethnicity as well. But I think the other components that have always been missing for me have been the focus on culture, because I would argue that you cannot have inclusion and diversity without a change in your culture, without a change in the behaviours all the way down and through the organisation. Culture and behaviour are the golden thread if you like, that should link all inclusion and diversity initiatives, and all the focus of the various work groups that you may not have in your workplace.

But we’ve also seen the term equity being introduced as well and I think that that’s important too. But here’s the thing, the bit for me that’s been missing is intersectionality. Again, I make a point now of intervening at every single session I go to where people talk about inclusion, diversity, and equity without talking about intersectionality. Because we need to recognise that no matter your gender, no matter your ethnicity, no matter your religion or any other characteristic, as individuals, we all come and it should be okay to bring your whole self to work. And to bring that mix of characteristic that are your DNA, if you like, to the workplace too. And recognise that yes, I can be of a certain ethnicity or a certain gender, but I can have a disability as well. In fact, I may well have more than one disability.

Some of those disabilities may be seen, many of those disabilities may be non-visible. Making it okay to bring your whole self to work I think for me is the important piece now, and at the heart of that means that you need to think of intersectionality. It’s not enough to have a gender working group or have a sexual orientation working group in your business. It’s important I think that you have working groups that basically stretch across all characteristics. If you are a small company, and many of the companies I work with are, that’s fine. You might not be big enough to have a network of your own but, the great thing that we’ve seen within the insurance sector, particularly in recent years, and this really came out of issues that came to a head in Lloyds of London, is we’ve seen some sector wide industry groups now be established such as iDAWN, which is the group for insurance disability awareness.

We’ve got GAIN, which is an industry group for autism and insurance investments and neurodiversity. We have different industry groups on ethnicity and different groups on sex orientation as well. So that doesn’t matter the size of your company, everyone now should be able to either have their own employee working group or participate in an industry led one. I’d encourage all firms, if you’re not actively involved in doing this now and doing it across all the major characteristics, you really should be doing this as part of your inclusion diversity strategy going forward. Indeed, the new consumer duty that has just been introduced by the FCA really should be requiring you to do that.

Julia:  It’s very interesting reflecting on the conversation. We’ve thought about the journey to maturity, we’ve thought about the culture, we’ve talked about the language, we’ve talked about intersectionality, the importance of intersectionality. And also how others are assisting us in that journey, whether that’s policy, thinking about government, thinking about industry groups, and also about leadership as well. I can’t help but wonder whether this is all about change management and whether some of the controls, maybe perhaps change management processes, also needs to modernise and need to change as well. I’d love to get your thoughts about that, but maybe what they should be and how do we implement those.

Toby:  It’s actually one of the chapters in my book. The reason why I dedicated the whole chapter on it was because I noticed that within the diversity and inclusion space, there was a lack of change management rigour. The reason why I say that is because before I got into diversity and inclusion, I used to work in technology implementing software. I used to implement software into hospitals. Then I started off at the BBC working on the development of the BBC Sounds app and the news website redevelopment and things like that. And it really struck me that when we were planning a project in IT, what I thought was quite fundamental stuff, we had a roadmap, we were aware of our risks and issues, we knew who our stakeholders were and what they needed to know from us. We had a budget and we knew how we were going to spend that budget.We knew what success looked like.

But then when I transitioned into diversity and inclusion, that structure for me was missing. What I then observed was people working in diversity and inclusion were, quite frankly, frustrated. They were frustrated about the lack of impact they felt they were making. They were frustrated that they were spreading themselves too thinly. They were frustrated that they were effectively chasing their tails and not really getting much delivered. They were frustrated every time a senior leader that they worked for changed their mind and decided to go off and do something else, something new. The new next shiny thing that appeared in the diversity and inclusion space, or the next awards that got announced or something like that. And to me, it was just lacking that structure and that rigour around effective change management and implementation.

Julia: Johnny, has that been your experience as well?

Johnny: I have to say, Toby, we are absolutely one on this. I mean, it’s interesting. One of the things that has struck me about the whole change management process was the lack of Equality Act awareness, if you like, across the product areas and service areas of businesses. My observation of financial services firms, both banking and insurance, when it comes to employing people the HR guys are really Equality Act aware. There’s a whole rigour around the process for identifying the role that they’re looking at, making sure that from an equality’s perspective that the role is appropriately described, the interview is conducted appropriately, appropriate adjustments are made to support the candidate. For a lot of firms, that seems to be where that focus on equalities ends because you don’t see that same rigour all the way through the system. And for me, I think there certainly is a need to improve Equality Act awareness right across financial services firms.

We are required in financial services to undergo mandatory training. 

I think as part of the mandatory training regime, that there should be an Equality Act awareness module within that. Certainly, I’m aware some firms have that now, but that does seem to be only for certain people at certain levels and with certain parts of the business. But actually, it should be across the entire business. That doesn’t mean to say that we want everyone to be an Equality Act expert, far from it. But what we do want people to be aware of is the Equality Act itself. Just think about the scope of the piece of work that they’re looking at, the impact it’s going to have on their target market. Do they really understand who their target audience is? I think that would be a good place to start.

Julia: Well, I think that’s a great moment to bring in our colleague, Cynthia Akinsanya, with some research to support today’s discussion.

Cynthia: The 2022 Disability Forum Consumer Report on banking and insurance asked 1001 disabled consumers who had considered purchasing or renewing an insurance policy, or setting up new bank accounts including switching banks in the last two years. 74% said that disability or access needs influence their choice of provider to some extent. 40% observed that choice of personal banking or insurance products and services limited to some extent because of their disability or access needs, and relevant information is difficult to access. 70% felt that finding information that they wanted was either a lot or a little more challenging because of their disability or access needs. And only 43% felt confident that they were making the right choice banking or insurance products and services for them.

Julia:  Thank you, Cynthia, as always for the research. Very useful indeed. Let me take a moment to remind everybody how you can find it. You can find everything on, our website. Remember that’s diversity with C, not with an S, and where you can find all our episodes and sign up for early notifications of future recordings. Do also sign up for our newsletter. It’s called DE&I That’s Caught Our Eye, and that’s where we share new stories and updates so you can stay on top of what’s current. We are of course on social media, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and DiverCity podcast is available on Bright Talk and all good podcast channels.

And this is a five-star rated podcast so we would love you to give us a rating if you would, partly because we’re very proud of our work, but it also helps to distribute and promote our wonderful guests.

I’m really keen to return to Johnny and to Toby, get your thoughts because Toby, you were talking about your life in technology beforehand. And I can’t help but think, and in fact for many people that I know, that the power of technology is undeniable particularly when we think about the accessibility and distribution of products and services, which is where we started our discussion. Toby, can I come to you first of all, what technology do you particularly value?

Toby:  There’s three bits of technology. The first one’s around data and insights and the second one’s around learning. Those are the two key areas that my clients are particularly interested in. There’s an absolute desire to get more data around diversity and inclusion so that organisations can make better informed decisions that shape their plans going forwards. And then the second area really is to have technology that really helps learning and development around diversity and inclusion. Introducing bite sized learning for example, so that its real time, it’s contextualised, and people don’t need to sit through long boring training that has very little impact.

The third area, which I find personally exciting, is really how assistive technology is developing. I didn’t mention this in the opening, but I have a neuromuscular disability that I was born with, and I’m a wheelchair user and I need 24 hour care. And I’m really reliant on assistive technology like Dragon naturally speaking on my laptop, which helps me dictate emails and documents and control my computer. But I’m so excited about future technologies like Neurolink for example, and how potentially in the future I could have a chip in my brain that would help me interact with the world and control the environment around me as my muscles get weaker with my condition.

Julia:  It’s going to be wonderful to see those technologies come to market, but also thank you for your thoughts about what is available today, which people can literally sign up immediately. Wonderful. Thank you, Toby. And Johnny, can I ask you the same similar question? We’ve talked about data, we’ve talked also about the application of data and also I’ve got some further questions about security of data. Safety nets really important and I think about your world of insurance, for example. Keen to learn more. Share your thoughts about the data and security technology that you’re particularly enthused by right now.

Johnny: I guess one of the key initiatives that really struck me, and this came out of some work I did with Inclusion Scotland and the approach that the Scottish government took, and that’s about consumer understanding of products and services. Communication is absolutely critical. And the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists last November introduced a set of training modules on inclusive communication, which are freely available to all financial services companies. They also are making freely available an accreditation initiative as well. That’s hugely important because it’s important that not just our speech, but when people access our websites, that our websites are properly formatted and accessible for the whole range of assistive technology tools that are now available to the consumers that we serve. Things like the spring gaze machines and things like this. Thinking of people that, for example, may be autistic or have certain neurodivergent conditions, making sure that for example the fonts that we use, the colour palettes that we use are accessible for them too.

It’s great now that Microsoft with their new suite of tools, you can actually change the customer view and customise it to them. It’s formatted so they can read it. It’s got the right colour palette. Also, other tools such as Recite Me as well, which with people who for example have got their hearing issues, then they can just get live streamed onscreen BSL interpretation of speech accompanying videos and things like this. These are all things that are, frankly, there and I think Microsoft actually make these tools available for free as part of their desktop. So there’s really no excuse. Toby talked earlier on about the business case. Well, the business case actually for accessible communication is far easier now than it was pre-pandemic. These tools are now there that, as I say, they’re free to use and they really do make for easy application via not just your website but via MS Teams, Zoom, and other streaming platforms as well.

Toby:  Well, really to add to what Johnny was saying, I actually opened up my business bank account with a particular bank because of how accessible it was. I’ve recently closed an account with a bank because I couldn’t bank independently with them using online banking. I closed my account with them and I opened up an account with another bank because they have a much better accessible online banking experience for me. So one bank has lost a customer and their customer service response was quite disappointing, to be honest. That’s an example of how important accessibility is.

Julia:  If that is not a business case, I don’t know what is. I hate the fact that we’re running out of time. Just it’s extraordinary on these podcasts how time canters by because it’s been a fascinating discussion. I wonder if I could ask you the final question, which is a question I ask every guest on the show. And that is with, I am quite concerned that as we navigate challenging times ahead economically, is whether or not diversity inclusion will fall down the corporate agenda? I would love to hear your fast thoughts, if you would, to see us out of the show in terms of why diversity, equity, and inclusion must remain high on the corporate agenda? Johnny, I’m coming to you first.

Johnny: If you’re in financial services, the biggest thing on your agenda for the next 12 months and beyond is going to be the new consumer duty. The regulatory requirement to understand your target market, understand your audience. I think before you go any further, recognise that 20% of working age people in this country present with characteristics, some form of characteristic of disability. 23% of our total population have some form of disability. Most disability we acquire as we get older so as our population ages, more and more of your customers will be presenting with a disability.

You have to make sure that your products and services are positioned so they can understand them, that they deliver value, that they deliver the support that consumers need all the way through the lifetime journey that you share with them. There’s a regulatory must to really make sure that you have the consumer at the heart of what you’re doing of your business. That means you have to be diverse, that means that you have to be inclusive, that means you have to be equitable. That does mean you have to think in terms of intersectionality.

Julia:  Wonderful, thank you very much indeed. Toby, same question to you. Why must it remain high on the corporate agenda?

Toby:  If you’re running an organisation, you have a dashboard like you do in a car that tells you how healthy your organisation is, how resilient it is, and are you heading in the right direction in terms of how you want to see the business grow and prosper and succeed? And very often diversity and inclusion or the dial for diversity and inclusion seems to get left out. Or maybe it’s a bit of a faulty dial. And I think that’s partly because diversity and inclusion isn’t seen as such a high priority in the organisation as other areas. But it is a high priority because with a diverse workforce, with an inclusive culture, you will be able to better navigate volatile and certain complex and ambiguous times which we are facing. You will be a much more resilient organisation and you will be able to bounce back from things like a pandemic or a recession and things like that.

Really the key is to make sure that the senior leadership team are 100% clear on why diversity and inclusion is important. I like to reference the work by Simon Sinek, a management guru and his really great book called Starting With Why, and organisations need to really focus on the why diversity and inclusion is important to them. So many organisations work outside in. They’re focusing on what they want to do, they want to sponsor a Pride float or change their logo for Pride month, and then they’ll figure out how to go about doing things but they’re still not clear on the why. Finding your why is a process of discovery. It already exists and it stands the test of time. But as a senior leader, you need to be crystal clear on the why so that you can articulate that to the rest of the organisation. With that foundation, you can then figure the how and the what.

Julia:  It’s been a wonderful discussion. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to both of you for your time today. It’s been thought provoking, it’s been inspirational. We’ve talked about technology, we’ve talked about culture, we’ve talked about leadership, we’ve talked about organisational structures. And even around the change management journey and the way we must focus in order to really drive change as we go forward. Toby Mildon, it’s wonderful to see you again. Thank you so much for your time.

Toby: Thanks, Julia.

Julia: Johnny Timpson, thank you for joining us today.

Johnny: Thank you, Julia.

Julia: Great discussion. I hope everybody that’s tuned in has enjoyed it as much as I have. Do please join us again for more episodes coming to you soon. I’ve been Julia Streets, thank you as always for listening to DiverCity podcast.

Cynthia: This episode of Diversity podcast was produced by Roshan Roberts on behalf of Julius Street’s Productions. You can find out more about the guests from this week’s show on our website. That’s That’s DiverCity with a C and not an S. Whilst you are there, you can also sign up to our newsletter for all our latest updates. All our episodes are available in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favourite podcast app. If you enjoy DiverCity podcast, remember to share on social media and give us a rating or review. And finally, our Twitter handle is @DiverCitypod. Thanks for listening.