491 words approx. 3 minutes to read

Earlier this month, we held our first networking event at 1 Angel Square for our colleague network Rise.

The network was first introduced earlier this year at the AGM and we have since worked towards gaining support from the Co-op Exec and making sure we seized every opportunity to spread the word, and what a great turnout!

The event started with a welcome from our Rise chair, Annette Joseph, from the Digital Team. She talked about the Mckinsey study on diversity  which showed the tangible business benefits when teams are more diverse. For example, companies that employ a diverse range of people see 21% higher profits, rising to 33% when different cultures and ethnicities are represented.

Annette also talked about how we want to be a safe place for under-represented groups at Co-op and champion recording Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) statistics.

Then there was a welcome from Co-op Food CEO, Jo Whitfield, which you can see below.

We also shared a video called ‘Inclusion starts with I’. We felt this really represented the barriers the network is aiming to remove and on the other hand, what we want to stand for as a colleague network.

Our Co-chair, Ruwaida Adam, went on to raise awareness around the National Inclusion Week (24th -30th September 2018) an annual opportunity to be mindful of Inclusion in the work place.

This year’s theme is Everyday Inclusion, which aims to celebrate everyday practical ways we can create an inclusive environment in the workplace.

Jo Whitfield also shared her views on National Inclusion Week and what it means to her, which you can see below.

Finally, we had a video from Margaret Casely-Hayford who is a member nominated director and talked about how pleased she was we had gotten the network up and running, about how important inclusion is, and how in diversity we have strength.

We then moved on to inviting attendees to hear their opinions and learn what they would like to get out of such a network, and how Rise can support D&I issues. Here are the three main things that came out of that discussion with the attendees:

  • Expanding the network so we sit right across all areas of the business including General Insurance, Funeralcare, and our field colleagues
  • Raising awareness including cultural understanding, education, and championing diversity
  • Promoting opportunity and diversity in leadership and management roles at Coop

We concluded with some networking and I really enjoyed getting chatting to people from different areas of the business, who for their own reasons thought that having a colleague network which celebrates and champions our different cultures and backgrounds was a good idea. We’ve made some great connections with different parts of the business and we have some ideas for future blog posts so watch this space!

To find out more about Rise, or to become a member, email Rise@coop.co.uk.

Eram Akram
Complaints Analyst

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Co-op Rise Network