Lessons from our Thrive for Inclusion learning week

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By Ondine Whittington, Group Managing Director

As we close out our Diversity and Inclusion learning fortnight, I have never been prouder of the people I work with. Beyond the 903 hours of collective learning we did together, most importantly we showed each other that we do care about the whole person, not just the role they play alongside us as colleagues. I have been overwhelmed by some beautiful acts of listening, thoughtfulness, inclusion and kindness our team has shown each other through the fortnight. It is by far one of my career highlights and I have learnt so much – some things that stood out for me:

  • Knowing is not understanding. I went into this fortnight feeling fairly well educated but quickly realised there is a big difference between knowing something and really understanding it. I realise I have a way to go to really understanding many of the topics we covered and this is just the start
  • The opportunity for my own self-reflection about my racial identity as part of sharing my experience in the panel discussion and how grateful I was to my colleagues who generously shared theirs
  • Samantha Renke’s view that actually she wasn’t disabled but the world around her was disabling, really brought into focus the real degree to which society and quite frankly the constructs of the world around us all need to change to truly to be inclusive
  • My responsibility to create an inclusive workplace starts outside the walls, it starts at home with my children. The work shared by Magda from Woke Babies is so vital.
  • The inclusive leadership session brilliantly bought into focus the opportunity that the pandemic has given us to build back our workplace better than before and this means we need the lens of inclusivity to be cast over every aspect of our hybrid work planning
  • The incredibly powerful role we have as communicators and for the global brands we work on to actually influence and change perspective and behaviour on a huge scale

Our goal is for diversity and inclusion to become simply part of “how we do things” at Golin and Virgo, from our culture, processes and our work.

There will be challenges as we turn the flashlight on ourselves and increase our accountability, but it will make us better, closer, stronger and help us produce even better work.

So, this is just the beginning.