What does equality mean to you? Have you ever felt out of place, overlooked or demeaned because of something about you?
Does your workplace have a diversity policy? Is it in place to make a difference or as a box ticking exercise? What can you do about it?
Graham Edwards spent many years working in a corporate environment in leadership positions, often asked to support diversity policies and drive strategy for equality – not for true equality or diversity, but to develop a positive image for the brand.
“Is this really the point of diversity?” he asked himself. “No! A resounding ‘no’.”
Everyone supported diversity, says Graham, “but they would be reluctant to spend money and would only want to support Pride so they could include the rainbow in their company banner and drive their business and their brand.
“The LGBTQ+ community deserves more.”
“Collazon’s ethos and passion is committed to creating a practical, simple, fair and effective services trading platform across a global community, with a specific focus on diversity,” he says.
“The future of work is changing. We really need to listen to people as to how they want to work, how work can enrich their personal goals and how it can support their ambitions.
“Collazon lives and breathes diversity. And as an LGBTQ+ founder myself I know that until companies have representatives from other walks of life in their leadership, they will never be able to bring true equality into their workforce.”
Employees are more likely to work for an organisation that has a robust diversity strategy at the heart of their business, Graham believes.
Consumers and employees have more information at their fingertips about the brands that they want to work for, meaning that more often than not, a strong potential employee could find out about the culture of the business before starting a new job.
“If you’re a freelancer looking to work in a positive environment, Collazon can match you to projects, startups and companies quickly,” says Graham.
“For startups, Collazon can match you to a liquid workforce of dedicated, diverse experts. It’s designed to manage and ensure a mutually beneficial relationship.”
For Graham, starting a business as an LGBTQ+ founder required some help, he says.
“A lot of positive change has happened throughout recent decades, but there is more to come.
“You have a unique opportunity as an LGBTQ+ founder to support this change and reach out to LGBTQ+ mentors.
“Help is always there if you need it, and hopefully one day you can help another young LGBTQ+ founder in an even more diverse world.”
If you’re starting your own business, the City Business Library can connect you to resources, networks and events to help, whether you are looking for a dedicated business adviser to help you write your own diversity strategy into your business plan, network with other founders, or research diverse businesses.