Barrister, Lambeth Equality Commissioner and founder of the Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation delivered the fourth diversity annual lecture on 26 October at the University of Law, where she urged students and their parents to ‘use your voice for inclusion and belonging”.
Each year, the Foundation awards scholarships to some of the best diversity leaders of the next generation to assist with their funding, mentoring and work experience within their chosen sector.
This year eleven scholarships were awarded at the Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Annual Lecture. Categories included media, fashion, engineering, law, finance, business, science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM).
Speaking at the event Brawn said: “Diversity is having a seat at the table, inclusion is having a voice, and belonging is having that voice be heard. Embracing inclusion can lead to more employees feeling a sense of belonging which is a key requirement in the workplace today.
“We are also moving the conversation from talking about diversity to acting upon inclusion and belonging. How to use your most powerful tool – your voice – to help create real change at a faster pace. My upcoming book is out within the next year or so and will include this plus much more.”
“This year we have increased the number of parents in attendance. Our Foundation is highlighting the importance of bringing together both the next generation of leaders who are still in education and the current leaders within the workplace. The purpose is to share each other’s ideas and action thus making this year’s lecture event our most successful one.”
The Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation has helped over 50,000 people and has awarded 40 educational diversity scholarships. The foundation’s collaborations and partnerships include The Prince’s Trust, Lambeth council, The Patchwork Foundation, Cancer Research UK and The Palmer Foundation to help increase diversity in local government, politics, entrepreneurship and STEAM.
The event, which made UK history in 2016, is the brainchild of the foundation’s founder and CEO Dr Miranda Brawn, who was named Woman of the Year at this year’s Women in Finance Awards – Europe’s largest awards for her excellent diversity and finance work.
This year’s diversity leadership annual lecture theme was “Use Your Voice for Inclusion and Belonging”. The event was oversubscribed with a packed room full of students and their parents attending from all of the UK.
Brawn said: “I had explained in the lecture that ‘belonging’ in particular is when your insights and contributions are valued, you feel a sense of belonging in your gut. A sense of belonging means that people can bring their full selves to work, and not feel like they are a different person there than at home. It is no longer enough to simply include people at the table for diversity. Now in 2019, it is imperative to amplify everyone’s voices, clear barriers, create true fairness while appreciating each other for our unique backgrounds and personalities.
“It is also time to talk about accountability, consequences, promotions and retention within the workplace. What is different today is that the attitudes have changed from ‘let’s ignore it and sweep it under the carpet to let’s do something about it!’ It is important to listen to those who are brave enough to speak up about issues. Inclusion is essential for high performance however many organisations only pay it lip service.
“The great irony of organisational diversity and inclusion initiatives is that the ‘inclusion’ aspect is often ‘excluded’. This year’s lecture has highlighted that inclusion and belonging make diversity work and should be our next focus to help close the diversity gap. Last year, our theme was “together we can change the world” which is still relevant. However, we have to take it up to the next level now with inclusion and belonging.”
A short video of the Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Annual Lecture 2019 will be available via the You Tube channel.
If you would like to apply for The Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Scholarship Programme for 2020/21, you can visit www.mbdiversityleadershipfoundation.com for further information and apply in Spring 2020 once the application process has re-opened.