We applaud our champions of Diversity & Inclusion
Jennifer McClellan, Marinder Dhillon, Neil Hardwick, Steven Berry and Vera Jones have been recognised by business leaders including UK & Europe CEO, Philip Hoare for championing Diversity & Inclusion within the company.
From establishing and growing our staff networks and building relationships with external Diversity & Inclusion partners, to sharing personal stories and encouraging others to open up about their own experiences, our champions are going the extra mile to support our ambition to be a truly inclusive employer.
“Creating an environment where everyone feels accepted, supported and encouraged to be themselves is something we all have the power to influence every day. I’m proud to shine a light on how these colleagues are making a difference and in celebrating their achievements, hope we can inspire an even greater number of role models to be catalysts for change in the areas they’re passionate about," says Philip Hoare.
About our Diversity & Inclusion champions
Sharing personal stories is never easy but through her bravery on a recent webinar about parenting and mental health, Jennifer McClellan has proven that this simple act can hold tremendous power. Stories bring the topics of diversity, inclusion and also well-being to life, and are a tool to remove the stigma often attached these issues.
Jennifer is also a driving force behind ParentNet, one of our grassroots employee networks which aims to provide colleagues with a safe space to ask questions, share stories and support each other in the work environment through the various stages of being a parent.
“My advice would be to get involved if you see something that you want to support, whether you’re part of that community or not. Our networks are inclusive to all, and it’s great to have people who are champions from the wider community as well as people who are participants within the community.” Jennifer McClellan
Steven Berry and Neil Hardwick have been at the forefront of developing the company’s first LGBT+ network as well as building our relationship with Stonewall, a charity that educates and campaigns about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in the UK. They are also collaborating with over twenty other construction and engineering companies to influence positive change in the sector, including assisting other companies with the creation of their own employee networks, promoting our business and the industry to LGBT graduates, and marching side by side with peers and clients at the London Pride parade in July.
“It’s important that everyone is comfortable being themselves at work. Whilst our network has made a great deal of progress, there is a lot we would still like to achieve, both within Atkins and in cooperation with others. Everyone is invited to join and to contribute to our goals, regardless of whether you identify as LGBT, and we really appreciate the support of our allies.”
Our Women’s Professional Network, which was created as part of our work to improve our gender balance, continues to flourish under the leadership of Vera Jones and Marinder Dhillon who have jointly undertaken the national coordinator role for the past three years. Together with their network of Women’s Professional Network leads in a growing number of our offices around the UK, they help to ensure that we’re continuously challenging our mindset and practices when it comes to gender equality, and learning from others who are excelling in this area.
“For me the biggest reward is seeing the difference it makes to those that attend local events and those that get in touch for support. It is great to be part of something that really makes a positive impact.”
Congratulations to you all for this well-deserved recognition, and thank you for your effort and determination to make a difference.
Strengthening our staff networks
Since broadening our staff networks two years ago, they’ve gone from strength to strength and are now playing a significant role in making our business more inclusive for all. To ensure this continues, and to support new networks to get off the ground, members of the UK & Europe Operational Leadership Team have pledged to support the growth and ambition of our staff networks by volunteering to be senior sponsors.
Martin Chalmers, Managing Director of the ADS&T division, now sponsors ParentNet and comments on his early engagement with Jennifer and the network:
“I have been enormously impressed and humbled by the passion, inspiration, energy, tenacity and clarity of purpose that Jennifer has demonstrated in conceiving and implementing ParentNet, and continuing to be a driving force behind it. I am enjoying working with her in thinking about the next stages of our development as an organisation in the way we provide exemplary support to parents. I was delighted to see Jennifer’s contribution recognised, and hope it encourages others to step forward or get involved in championing the causes that are important to them.”
Other senior sponsors of our employee networks include Philip Hoare (Women’s Professional Network), Jilly Ward (LGBT+ network), Jon Sealy (BAME network) and Mike McNicholas (Enable, our recently re-named network for employees who wish to connect on the theme of disability).
“Our role as sponsors is to provide the advice and support that the networks need to achieve their goals, and have the greatest possible impact on our business and the wider industry," adds Philip.
“But equally, it provides a valuable opportunity for us all to learn about people who have different experiences to ourselves, and to further build our understanding of what we need to do to ensure our business is inclusive for everyone.”