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diversity council

For Lifeways, 2024 marks the launch of its new Diversity Council, which aims to empower and represent its increasingly diverse workforce of 11,000 people.

And today, 8 March 2024, on International Women's Day, Diversity Council Chair Tracy Dixon is keen to share a message:

“Diversity includes everybody,” says Tracy, who is also Lifeways' Regional Director for the North . “We have to make sure that each one of us at Lifeways is represented - whether that's through culture, religion, sexual orientation - or simply as a unique individual.”

Currently, the Diversity Council consists of six colleagues from across Lifeways – with plans to expand the council further. The founding members are:

  • Tracy Dixon
  • Emily-Rose Grix
  • Heather Wright
  • James Gibson
  • Sharmadene Blissett
  • Philip Wilde

Yesterday, on 7 March, the Diversity Council met for its first official meeting. At the meeting, council members discussed several topics, including:

  • Where do we begin with planning initiatives?
  • How do we grow the Diversity Council so it’s as representative as possible?
  • How do we link with others?
  • How will we share the vision throughout Lifeways?
  • How will we measure what we do?

Education and Awareness

Central to the council's mission is imparting education and awareness. Tracy believes that most workplace conversations around diversity don’t happen for one key reason: people are afraid of causing offense.

“There’s so much that we tend to sadly shy away from discussing,” says Tracy. “One very important goal for the council is to help Lifeways grow a culture where we’ve always got a safe space for dialogue.”

This means the Diversity Council will work to give people confidence to explore sensitive topics without fear of judgment or reprisal.

“We need to educate people to be able and feel confident to have discussions with individuals in a positive, kind, open way that makes that person feel that somebody's actually shown interest in them as an individual.”

Crucially, Lifeways' Diversity Council recognises that its mandate includes people we support, too.

A Heartwarming Example

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is ‘Inspiring Inclusivity.’ Tracy, the Diversity Council chair, recalls a service she manages where both the support team and the people we support held a celebratory party this Chinese New Year for the one member of the team who was Chinese.

“Afterwards, one support team member emailed me to say that for the first time coming into work, they’ve really felt as though everybody was part of Lifeways.”

“Of course, this is only one small example of where everybody felt included and their diversity celebrated,” says Tracy. “But this kind of organisational culture is what we need to roll out across the whole organisation.”

Tracy hopes the Diversity Council’s work will help Lifeways build a more inclusive culture where people feel like they belong. Watch this space!

So today, let’s make International Women's Day a day of celebration and do what you can to truly make a positive difference.

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