Viewpoint | 06 Nov 2020

Black History Month: Celebrating with a smile and friendly conversations

Vishal Dixit, Strategy & Wholesale Director, Vodafone UK, reflects on how the company celebrated Black History Month.

Throughout October, Vodafone celebrated Black History Month together with our Black Professionals Network.

We made clear that Inclusion for All is at the heart of Vodafone’s purpose and that we are committed to doing more to address the inclusion of our black colleagues. Celebrating Black History Month is one part of us doing that.

Out of the many events we hosted, two in particular resonated with me.

Firstly, our Young Black Women in Tech event. This highlighted the amazing technological contributions made by black female innovators, and it was open to everyone to attend, not just Vodafone employees. Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, CEO of Stemettes and one of the Most Influential Women in Tech 2020, left us with a quote that struck a chord with me on a personal level:

“Never stop learning, and be visible, you can create the future”

It reminded me that my platform is for my entire network and not just limited to colleagues within the company. Supporting Diversity and Inclusion cuts across company boundaries and I encourage other companies to open their platforms to the wider community.

I hope that sharing the efforts we undertake will encourage more companies to follow our lead. I will continue to use my platform to support Inclusion for All, both internally at Vodafone and externally. I encourage others to do the same.

We have made a public commitment to improving outcomes for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) employees in the workplace

Secondly, we hosted the comedian and Britain’s Got Talent finalist Kojo Anim. His performance touched upon his childhood in a Ghanian household, getting the golden buzzer on Britain’s Got Talent, and life in lockdown. Kojo reminded us that discussions on Inclusion for All don’t have to be all doom and gloom, they can be really beautiful and positive stories.

Reflecting on my position as the Multicultural Inclusion Network Executive Sponsor, I will continue to ensure discussions on Inclusion and Diversity keep happening, and when they do, that they are conducted in a positive, collaborative and friendly manner.

To wrap up, I wanted to give you a glimpse of the long-term initiatives we are implementing to ensure Vodafone delivers its Inclusion for All commitment.

As a committed signatory of the Race at Work Charter, we have made a public commitment to improving outcomes for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) employees in the workplace.

Here is an update on our progress towards achieving the Charter principles this year.

  • Introducing Reverse Mentoring for our Board, with Black Professionals across Vodafone UK teaming up with Directors to educate them on diversity issues. Starting soon.
  • Investing in Inclusive Leadership Training for all our senior leaders to help drive Inclusion for All. Allyship needs to happen at all levels.
  • Participating in Business in the Community’s BAME Cross-Organisational Mentoring Circles, from January to June 2021.

There is always more work to be done and we will continue to work closely with our colleagues to ensure we are making Vodafone a truly inclusive company for all.

So let’s keep those conversations going and, like Kojo, conduct them with a smile.