Hailing from an ethnic minority background while also being more introverted in an extrovert culture, has been a source of discomfort to me throughout my entire career. It has caused me to change in ways where I will force myself, for instance, to go into social environments that I’m not comfortable in. When I joined Baringa eighteen months ago, I realised right from the start, that the culture here was going to be significantly different to the culture I had experienced at previous companies - in a much more positive way. 

But even at Baringa, there still tends to be a heavy leaning towards extroversion in the way we interact and, for many of us on the other end of the scale, it can cause difficulties. To be able to address this, I would really like to see more neurodiversity brought into the combination of our people.

Not there…yet

In my opinion, Baringa has already taken the first few steps in showing its commitment through the many different diversity networks already set up for the subcommunities that have minority representation. But we are not there yet.  So, we can improve our diversity in our leadership cohort. We also need to bring more diversity into the combination of our people. We need to acknowledge that there’s not one prototypical example of what a good consultant or partner looks like. We must continue to build bridges for minority communities and take a cold hard look at the way we reward people, the way we recognise people and how we address that in an equitable way. 

Achieving authenticity

I believe that it’s a marathon not a sprint and actions have to be invested in the long-term. There must be continual energy applied to it on every level within the organisation. Every day, I am encouraged by the receptiveness I get from our leadership, the commitment from my peers and the excitement I see in our staff around these topics. Although there is still work to be done, I think the potential in this company is much more aligned to creating space to enable that diversity to take hold. Here more than anywhere else I think it’s achievable for me to reach that authentic point.

A trust exchange

In the past, one of the reasons I’ve always looked for opportunities elsewhere is because I couldn’t be my authentic self. Due to the nature of the companies I previously working for, I would never have stood up and put myself forward as an advocate for change. But it feels different at Baringa. I get the sense here, I think correctly so, that it is expected of me. I feel I have a unique voice and can play a vital part. Because I identify as being from an ethnic minority background, I feel challenged to help the company move forward in this area. 

It’s a trust exchange and I believe I owe it to the practice to be authentic. If I am not representing my own true feelings, then how is anyone to know what needs to be done? It has spoken to me in a way that it has never spoken to me anywhere else. Given where I am in my career, if it’s not me, then who will it be? It’s a challenge I say to myself every morning when I look in the mirror. And it feels empowering.


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