Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – How to shape the future

6th March 2023

“Companies with more inclusive business cultures and policies see a 59% increase in innovation and 37% better assessment of consumer interest and demand.” International Labour Organisation.

Senior Vice President at Warnermedia for Equity & Inclusion, and a multi-award-winning diversity and inclusion expert, Asif Sadiq has over fifteen years of global experience in his impressive industry, having worked in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America.

In this exciting interview between Champions Speakers and Asif Sadiq, they discover the importance of diversity, equality and inclusion. Asif shares his thoughts on how businesses can become more inclusive, and explores why allyship is significant to businesses. 

Here are the key takeaways from this exclusive interview with Asif Sadiq:

1. What is the key change businesses must make to become more inclusive?

The last two years have showcased that diversity, equity and inclusion are no longer options. It is critical for business both internally in the workforce and also externally with your consumers. The people who purchase your products are demanding organisations to align with the values they align to. 

Diversity, equity and inclusion are of the utmost importance going into 2022, but it has to be done in a very different way.  

It is no longer something that can be managed by an hr department or by just amending policies, it has to be the culture of any organisation for it to succeed. 

2. What do you hope to achieve as WarnerMedia’s Senior Vice President?

There are several different things that I am hoping to achieve. 

The first is to ensure equity and inclusion is not just a conversation but are embedded across our business both internally and externally, from what we do with our staff to the sort of programs, shows, movies, and games that we create so that it becomes part and parcel of what we do. This is what will drive change. It is not only going to drive change within our industry but to put it even more broadly, movies are so powerful that they form perceptions, they can create views of the wider community, so for me, we must drive that change and embed diversity and inclusion across everything that we do.

3. We often hear about allyship; what is allyship, and why is it important?

Allyship is a great thing however, I do think when we explore allyship we need to understand a few critical points.

Number one, allyship goes beyond one month. It is not just about being an ally during pride or black history month (however, that is a great starting point and a great point to learn how to show your visibility and show that you know you are supporting a community), but where the role of an ally comes to life is when that very group that you are championing is not in the room. When you use your privilege and your power to be an advocate for them. That is the critical part. It is great for someone to be an ally when the group is there but what you do when they’re not in the room and again that position of power that you have is critical.

Number two, it is important for an ally to remember that a role of an ally is to create a platform and a voice for an underrepresented group, not to replace their voice. I say that because a lot of allies with the best intention end up becoming the voice for the very community they want to support and with that, you are taking a voice away from them. 

These two points are critical, support them when they are not in the room, stand up for them and be their voice but, when they are in the room, pass the mic over to them. 

The biggest thing is that diversity is not a singular dimension. What I mean by that is not one person is represented by just one element of diversity. We are all made up of multiple layers of diversity. What we must acknowledge are those unique identities that each person has from both the visible to the non-visible and how they can shift over time. 

If I give you an example to put it into perspective, a lot of people talk to me about race because clearly, I am from an ethnic minority background. Race is not my biggest challenge, I mean it has or can be a challenge sometimes, but the other challenges I face are; Having two children, I am neurodiverse and I have a disability. However, those things intersect at different stages in my life depending on what I am doing for organisations of the future. 

We cannot assign someone a characteristic when they join, we must allow them to govern what is important to them at different stages of their life and then things will change. 

This piece is really important to acknowledge and understand that diversity goes beyond singular dimensions. 

Another big piece I hear a lot nowadays is that diversity is going to disadvantage a certain group largely. The majority within an organisation who feels this feel that they are going to lose out, miss out, not get promoted or they are not going to get recruited. 

The truth is, diversity has never been about taking away from one group and giving to another or one group getting an advantage. It is about equity. A win in diversity is that if we do something positive in diversity whether it be for gender equity or for LGBTQ plus the community or whatever group we do it for, it has a positive impact on everyone because you improve a system, you improve a process and I think that this point is important because we do need every single person to understand that they need to be part of this conversation to drive change within an organisation.

To learn more about Asif Sadiq, one of the most popular inspirational keynote speakers worldwide, click here –

For the full video of this exclusive interview, click here –

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