Management students discuss diversity & inclusion with guest speakers from NHS and NatWest Group
As part of the second year management module, “Developing Your Potential”, students were joined by two excellent guest speakers.
Ester Jamera is a Senior Project Nurse at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, and Tregson Davies is an Assistant Relationship Director for NatWest Group. This Q&A panel session was designed to equip students with knowledge and practical insights into diversity and inclusion from a UK professional perspective.
The students were given three questions to rate on a sliding scale, which assessed their current confidence in diversity and inclusion. This showed that students were confident interacting with people from different backgrounds and were mostly able to speak up about issues around race, disability, and gender, but had less experiences of diversity and inclusion that could be demonstrated to an employer.
Management Lecturer, Melissa Schuessler, gave an insightful overview of how Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) initiatives benefit businesses and individuals, as well as how it is used in an employability context.
From there the scene was set for an open and honest panel discussion on how D&I initiatives operate in the workplace and how the speaker’s personal backgrounds have shaped their professional careers. Melissa hosted the panel discussion, allowing students to submit questions to the guest speakers.
It was 2016 when Ester started getting involved in diversity and inclusion work, when she attended a focus group ran by the Care Quality Commission to gain insight into experiences of minority staff.
It was really difficult as people were not aware of the difficulties minorities faced in the workplace. A lot of the work I’ve done was to raise awareness, which was difficult as I felt like I was swimming against the tide.
Ester went on to explain the impact that Covid-19 and the death of George Floyd had on the NHS focus on equality and diversity, as well her role in the formation of the black and ethnic minority staff network.
If you don’t have that diversity, one of the major challenges you have is in meeting the needs of the population…and if you don’t do that you will not achieve the outcomes that you’ve set up to achieve as an organisation.
Ester has recently been a contributing author to the book ‘Amplifying Voices, Mending Divides’, which was written after the death of George Floyd and the health inequalities of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tregson has more than two decades of experience working with NatWest Group and has seen a lot of institutional changes over the last 5 years. It was in 2015 that Tregson started to get involved in Diversity & Inclusion at NatWest Group by joining various committees and sharing his experience. “The bank [NatWest Group] has done a lot and I’ve spoken to a lot of people, helping them to understand what diversity and inclusion means, what we can do to raise awareness and what you can do on one a one-to-one basis.” Tregson followed
Working in a bank, it is so important that we represent the communities that we serve.
Tregson Davies, NatWest Group
Amongst a number of initiatives, NatWest Group started a reverse mentoring scheme whereby staff members from minority groups are paired with senior management, to aid in the understanding of what diversity and inclusion means and to create awareness across levels.
The bank [NatWest Group] has also changed the recruitment process to include ‘Inclusion Ambassadors’, which supports the selection process and are included in all recruitment panels.
Tregson explains that every year NatWest Group reviews D&I commitments (including one called Banking on Racial Equality) and reflects on what has been done so far, setting a plan for the future. “I see it as a work in progress. If we look back 10 or 20 years to where we are now, we’ve created a massive positive step, but there’s still more to do”.
NatWest Group is looking for different voices with new perspectives, which reflect the world we live in right now. Tregson added
For the students in the audience, the hope is that one day you would be able bring your whole self to work regardless of your background or what you believe.
Thank you to Ester and Tregson, for taking their time to share their experiences and knowledge in diversity and inclusion with our students.