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applied intelligence Live

27 Jun 2023

Advancing Equality in Tech: driving forward inclusivity and diversity through allyship

Andrei Bogdan-Ozgener, Inclusion, Diversity & Engagement Manager at Informa Tech
Advancing Equality in Tech: driving forward inclusivity and diversity through allyship
As the transformative tech landscape continues to develop, adapt, and evolve, from changing the way we communicate, to the way we work and how we learn, so must businesses also look to embrace this forward-thinking mindset when it comes to the workplace.

To drive continued support on the important topic of Inclusion & Diversity (I&D), Informa Tech’s Applied Intelligence Group looks to honour the significance of Pride month this year, taking the time to celebrate and reflect upon the progress that has been made towards equality, embracing all people from different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences.

Andrei Bogdan-Ozgener, Inclusion, Diversity & Engagement Manager at Informa Tech, shares with us his experience of leading the UK/EMEA AllInforma Rainbow Network, the first colleague led network in the entire Informa Group. AllInforma Rainbow aims to connect, educate, and support members of the LGBTQIA+ Community, as well as allies, and continues to be a key player in the company’s drive to support diversity, equality and inclusion.

What do you think are the different topics that help to address the importance of diversity and inclusion in our society as well as in the workplace?

Inclusion and Diversity as a topic is a very complex one. There are so many facets that need attention. When we say Inclusion and Diversity, generally, people assume is about Race or Disability or LGBTQIA+ but it’s more than that. It also talks about Relationship status, Parental status, Socio-economic background, Age, Religion or belief, Sex, etc. I think the most important aspects people should be educating themselves on when it comes to I&D are intersectionality and unconscious bias. Intersectionality is about all the complex layers that make up each person and how these layers intersect to shape their experiences. Unconscious bias is about all the judgments or decisions we make on the basis of our prior experience, our own personal deep-seated thought patterns, assumptions or interpretations, and because it's unconscious, we are not aware when it happens.

What do you see as key actions both business and individuals can take to raise awareness of I&D for the LGBTQIA+ community, to improve attitudes of society and to encourage inclusiveness?

Being a better and effective Ally! There is a three-step approach I always talk about in my training programmes: Learn- Listen- Act.

Becoming an Ally or a better and effective one starts with being willing to continuously educate yourself, not just on what’s appropriate to say and do but also on the issues that marginalised communities face every day in different aspects of the society- from employment, housing, social services to healthcare, education and more.

Listening to what these communities need is the next step. It’s important to listen and acknowledge that everyone has different and unique experiences and needs so they will need different things from you as an ally.

The last step is to act- basically your words must match your actions. This is about seeing the wrong thing happening and standing up to it and challenging it. You might overhear a colleague in the office saying some inappropriate comments about another colleague- your duty as an ally is to challenge this behaviour and use the moment to educate someone else.

What do think are the key issues or challenges that members of the LGBTQIA+ Community still face/experience in the workplace, and what can we do to educate businesses and society to give greater understanding?

This is as, or even more, complex as the LGBTQIA+ community itself. Various members of the community face various issues in the workplace. From being sexualised or told to “man up” to being physically abused and harassed, the LGBTQIA+ community have faced a lot of issues in the workplace, in general. Reports state that 40% of LGB workers have experienced harassment and conflicts at work and 55% of Trans workers have reported/ experienced these issues.

The biggest problem we have in the world right now is the lack of respect and kindness for others, especially after the pandemic. To add to that, social media created these keyboard warriors whose sole purpose in life seems to be bringing people down across social media networks. From fat shaming to voiced homophobia, transphobia and other -isms, these people have been given a “voice” and instigate hate speech towards marginalized communities/ those who don’t look, act or speak like them. Some others are taking it even further, with hate crimes on the rise everywhere and the LGBTQIA+ community being the scapegoat for people to distract from other issues.

I think what everyone should start doing is to teach each other kindness and respect. Once we all showcase these two traits the world will start becoming a better place.

What are your top tips or advice on how to become an effective ally and how to approach this? What are key qualities or traits of being an ally?

Learn, Listen Act! A Harvard Business Review Article spoke about a new model (EThIC) where certain character strengths and virtues ,defined as “positive human qualities” can lay the groundwork for becoming an effective ally. Allies are those who display traits of compassion, fairness, humility, perspective taking, prudence, moral courage and honesty, as well as perseverance and patience.

Another great read is Better Allies by Karen Catlin, and it talks about the seven stages of Allyship.

The 7 steps refer to the journey one has from becoming an ally to becoming an effective one. It starts with being supportive, then championing different underrepresented groups, working your way up to the amplifier stage where you ensure the voices of these groups are being heard and respected, advocating by using their ally voice and platforms, engage in schooling others based on what they have learned but never based on their opinions, becoming the upstander and finally becoming the confidant- the safe space for underrepresented groups to vent to, to find a calm space where they can be vulnerable and ask for help.

Learn about your unconscious bias- use the Implicit Association Test by Harvard

Join us as we celebrate London Pride Month and support the wider LGBTQIA+ community. For more information on the Inclusion & Diversity initiatives at Informa Tech, take a look at the some of our resources.

Or drop us a line if you want to have a chat over any of this or to find out more: I&

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