Hosted by Sandra Gibbs - Chief Supply Chain Office, Asahi Beverages and also the Chair of the Embrace Difference Council for the Drinks Association, the audience had the opportunity to hear from an inspiring and passionate panel including Kellie Barnes (she/her) - Group Chief Digital and Disruption Officer, Asahi Beverages, Laura Mirsch (she/her) - Senior Manager, Grant Thornton Australia & Steven Burrows (he/him) - Talent Acquisition and Executive Search Manager, Treasury Wine Estates.
The panel shared their experiences of implementing within their organisations and their professional lives. For them, bravery and curiosity are essential if change is to come. That said, the path there can sometimes be slow and steady. One suggestion was that if there is something you are passionate about, be pragmatic in your approach: name it, measure it, test it, put it into play and the policy will come.
On inclusive workplace culture, the panellists all seemed to agree that the whole ecosystem of the workplace environment needs to connect for inclusivity to work. Employees need to see a consistently inclusive approach from the top down. Visibility, accessibility to and approachability in senior leaders who endorse and drive change in IE&D is invaluable to a business’s employees, and it sets an example of the culture being cultivated within the organisation.
Finally, the observation was made that the styles of leadership which we are now seeing in companies is more diverse. Workplaces seem to have moved beyond the heroic, idealised, lead-from-the-front style of leadership, splintering into varied styles and structures. It seems that organisations have come to value leadership attributes that sit outside of those traditional stereotypes we know so well.
The suggestions left for us to ponder at the end of the evening are: a) if you’re feeling comfortable you’re surrounded by people that think like you. And b) discomfort, difference and uncertainty are powerful agents when it comes to bringing about change.