Continuing with our preparations for Dive In 2020, the festival for diversity and inclusion in insurance, we caught up with Inyang Udosen, a member of Miller’s Cultural Alliance.
Hi Inyang! Thanks for taking a moment to talk to us about Miller’s Cultural Alliance. To kick things off, please could you tell us what the main goal of your alliance is?
Inyang: The main goal of our alliance is to ensure equal opportunities and prospects for ethnic minority people at Miller. This means a fully inclusive culture, and ensuring we are better able to recognise and recruit talent as diverse as our environment and the clients we represent, and hope to represent in the future.
Brilliant - what activities do you organise to help meet these goals?
Inyang: We work with a number of bodies such as iCAN, the ACIN and Dive In, with the objective of raising the profile of diversity and inclusion (D&I) work in the London market. We support them in producing and promoting events, as well as bringing the various D&I networks together from across the market to share resources, best practice and celebrate our progress and successes.
Internally at Miller, we‘ve been raising the profile of cultural events such as Ramadan and Black History Month, with the objective of removing barriers and increasing understanding.
A great range of external and internal initiatives! What are some of your alliance’s plans for the next 12 months?
Inyang: Following the death of George Floyd, we embarked on a series of internal forums designed to take the pulse of Miller employees on issues of diversity, inclusion and race. The process was incredibly valuable and helped to identify certain areas of concern, which included micro-aggressions, recruitment, pay and progression.
As a result, the Cultural Alliance are working with HR and the Inclusion Committee to create a programme for change to ensure that Miller continues to address these areas and make progress over the next 12 months.
It’s great to see feedback being acted upon. On a slightly different note, what do you see as the added value of increased diversity and inclusion?
Inyang: My response to this question is to ask: ‘Where is the value in homogeny?’ Aside from everyone singing from the same hymn sheet, which of course only gives you an echo chamber - literally. It’s all about diversity of thought. As a commercial organisation, we need to be open to the full spectrum of ideas, influences and strategies – homogeny does not give you that. Without inclusion, your diversity is wasted and left on the side-lines.
Diversity and inclusion is about levelling the playing field, to ensure your best assets - your people - are able to perform to their fullest potential.
You’re clearly passionate about this topic - is there anyone who particularly inspires you as a champion of diversity and inclusion?
Inyang: Yes, there is. I would like to champion the life and work of Sir Lenny Henry. Sir Lenny is someone I, like many others of my generation, will have grown up watching on television in the 80s, a time when Britain was not as inclusive as it could have been. He would have faced many challenges throughout his career as he established himself as a comic and personality on the BBC. Not only this, but he would have had to do it the hard way - hard work and persevere. Throughout his career we have seen him build bridges across British cultures, bringing people together through his work and comedy. We watched as he grew into a national treasure.
Latterly, he has gone on to do hugely important and impressive work through his institute, pushing the BBC, and the arts more broadly, towards becoming more inclusive places. Speaking to his status on the national stage, that position has enabled him to press this slightly contentious message to a broad and diverse audience. He has never chosen to pull the ladder up and has always stayed connected to local communities and their attempts to improve diversity and inclusion. He is someone we can learn from - he doesn’t just represent diversity, but also inclusion in the sense that he can speak freely and will be listened to by the various communities across the entire country.
Thanks Inyang, and good luck for the year ahead!
Diversity & Inclusion at Miller