How to be inclusive, even when you have zero budget

Come on in, we’re awesome

By Anj Handa

Before we begin, an admission. My heading was designed to draw you in – because you can be inclusive, no matter what the circumstances. It’s possible for all human beings to meet others where they are at.

Yes, systems and processes can hinder inclusion within your organisation but should not be your excuse for not making this business as usual.

Inclusion takes daily practice. You will need to keep your ears and ears open and respond to what those around you are saying or doing accordingly. Taking this approach helps with all your relationships, whether they are your clients, delegates, colleagues or friends and family.

Why is it so important?

In a recent interview, Rod Githens, associate professor of leadership and organization development at the University of the Pacific said: “You hear all these depressing stats over and over, and there’s this perception that nothing is changing.”

The article, ‘Employees are tired of their companies paying lip service to diversity’, expands this point further:

‘Part of the problem, Githens says, comes from a lack of transparency. Employees may see their organization “talking the talk,” so to speak, by organizing diversity events and increasing awareness of its importance.

But until leaders are “walking the walk” and making systemic changes, employees may not feel inspired to do the same.’

How to be inclusive

I’d like to share some of the ways in which I maintain Inspiring Women Changemakers’ commitment to inclusion, yes, with zero budget. Because it’s in the fabric of why we do what we do, what we do, and how we do it. It’s not a bolt on, it’s our culture. We don’t always get it right but we are always willing to listen and learn.

We’re a *women-led movement for positive social change which actively seeks to include *men (*and those who identify as women/men). In short, if you’re as passionate about making a difference as we are, come on in. Because we can’t achieve this in silos.

At our events and within our membership we have welcomed refugees and asylum seekers, different faiths, beliefs and ethnicity, people of different sexual orientations and genders, different physical abilities, varying degrees of mental health and neuro-diversity, ages ranging from 18 to 70.

It reflects not only my own friendship groups and wider networks but also those of our members.

Conscious (inclusive) Branding

The definition of a Conscious Brand is:

“A brand that has created a unique name for itself by establishing a significant presence in the market by being painfully aware of and sensitive to the needs, wants, desires and representation of the loyal customers they seek to retain”. TM Famira M. Green)

In her excellent blog entitled ‘6 Lessons in Conscious Branding from the Danielle LaPorte debacle’, Ms Green encourages her audience to check their inner circle, asking:

“How diverse is your own circle? Not only with women of other nationalities and race, but also those with different religious beliefs, sexual orientations, lifestyles, diverse upbringings, experiences, and goals in life?

If your inner circle looks, acts, thinks and responds just like you how are you going to be able to attract a diverse audience? Famira M. Green Click To Tweet

Yes, your brand is your business and your inner circle is your personal life. However, I have found that they have a direct correlation with one another.”

For further advice or to bring me in to support your business with its diversity and inclusion objectives, get in touch. It starts with a conversation!

Inspiring Women Changemakers is a dynamic, women-led movement for positive social change: in business, in society, and in the world. We help our members to powerfully communicate, connect and campaign. Join us!