Diversity and inclusion roundtable: Meet the experts

Our journey

Beequal (Balanced Empowered Equal) was created in July 2018, when we took over the former Women in Tech London group, founded in 2013. We decided to change our name to reflect our views on gender being individual and nuanced and the need for allies and champions to help to change the diversity dial.

Beequal provides those who are passionate about technology, who want to diversify their workforce, upskill themselves and build great leaders and teams, a place to come together, share ideas, and hear from storytellers and inspirational ambassadors in tech. Our events cover what we can do as individuals, in the workplace and through our community, to become more balanced, feel empowered and drive equality.

With so many diversity and inclusion events available, we want to ensure we’re creating events our communities find truly useful. This is why we’ve partnered with DINT (Diversity and Inclusion in Tech) for a roundtable event where guests have the chance to meet and chat with experts in Neurodiversity, diverse recruitment, starting a D&I initiative, allyship, race and inclusive communication.

Takeaways

Katie Pether led the anti-racism in recruitment discussion, and her personal experience working with the Department of Education to eliminate racism in the recruitment process supported the groups’ discussions. To encourage people to openly discuss overcoming racism, Katie recommended that workplaces introduce a safe space dedicated to talking about race, in which people are encouraged to discuss their life experiences and offer ideas on how the workplace can support all races. She provided wonderful advice on overcoming racism in recruitment, recommending removing unnecessary job role criteria, using software to eradicate bias within the text, analysing recruitment processes to see where fall-off occurs, and consciously challenging discrimination at every point within the process.

Inclusive communication

Mo Kanjilal hosted the inclusive communication table, where she shared her expertise in neuro-linguistic programming, diverse communication styles and accessible communications. She outlined how important it is to acknowledge that people communicate similar concepts very differently and detailed how important non-verbal communication is in everyday interactions. Discussions focused on how workplaces can overcome certain challenges in communication, and how leaders should consider these diverse communication types.

Supporting LGBTQ+ employees

Cade Friedenbach ran discussions on supporting LGBTQ+ employees. These talks provided wonderful insight on how to create supportive environments as opposed to exclusive ones. Some tips include: clear wording within policies and hiring documents that include LGBTQ+ communities; gender-neutral language in all cases; employee resource groups; and allowing employees to use their preferred name and pronouns in all workplace communications. The table engaged in important discussions on how different generations, countries and work environments engage with LGBTQ+ communities and what these groups can do to overcome biases and challenges.

Neurodiversity

Khushboo Chabria returned to DINT, bringing an incredible background and a wide array of knowledge about neurodiversity to her table. She detailed how neurodiversity is the most common difference among all individuals and should therefore be at the forefront of all D&I discussions. Attendees asked Khushboo about the blocks for neurodiverse individuals in the workplace and – while she acknowledged that there are countless blocks – she suggested that hiring is the first and therefore most prominent block; enabling neurodiversity hiring programmes and increasing knowledge about neurodiversity allows neurodiverse individuals to thrive in the workplace.

Gender equality

Finally, Nicholas Mazzei discussed gender equality and how to include those outside of certain ‘minority’ groups in communal discussions. Nicholas provided perhaps the perfect conclusion to the June event and a wonderful bookend for the year: ‘Everyone must be involved in the D&I discussion. That includes those who have differing opinions from you. Consider yourself a ‘change agent’, someone who can create a better work culture and space for discussions with everyone around you, including those whom you may not see eye-to-eye with.’

Please join us for our next event, ‘United for Inclusion’ for National Inclusion Week, on Thursday 30th September. To find out more about Beequal or to get involved, please visit see our event page.