Disability Café (DC’2)
The event was hosted by Citi and was attended by delegates from a broad spectrum of companies including Sainsbury’s, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, ITV, BAE Systems, Linklaters and Bloomberg.
After a short introduction from My Plus Director Helen Cooke, the event facilitators Helen Chapman of Meeting Magic encouraged attendees to think about their key questions, learning objectives and networking aims for the Café. In doing so Helen was able to ensure that the Café was tailored to meet the delegates’ objectives, and answered the key questions and challenges they had come with.
The Guardian’s Creative Solutions Consultant James McFadzean and Head of Diversity Yasir Mirza were the guest speakers at the event. They spoke about the potential of emerging technology and new media platforms to change the way organisations engage with disabled professionals. They advised the group to understand the type of organisations they represented and to allow this knowledge to influence their recruitment strategies. James and Yasir discussed the impact of changes to Incapacity Benefit on the jobs market, the value of diversity networks and how the use of diverse media can form part of an outreach strategy.
In a deviation from the usual Disability Café format, this event introduced a panel, offering delegates the opportunity to engage with senior figures in diversity on topics of their choice. Helen Cooke was joined on the panel by Clare Bass, Diversity Director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Google’s Diversity Director Mark Palmer Edgcumbe, Citi’s Diversity Director Sarah Perry and Joanna Wootten, Director of Member Services at the Employers Forum on Disability. Among others, we discussed the subjects of diversity in international business, the jobseeker perspective, embedded diversity messages and the importance of being courageous with new diversity initiatives.
With the panel’s input fresh in their minds, the final part of the afternoon enabled delegates to discuss 5 topics in greater depth as part of an Open Space exercise. Once each topic had been considered, outputs were shared with the wider group.
All contributions were graphically recorded by Ben Robinson in his unique and creative style. As always, the afternoon was rounded off with a formal review of all that had been covered and gave delegates a chance to share their learning and new ideas during an informal drinks reception.
Once again feedback from the event has been excellent. In particular, the panel session was well received with the overall consensus that it could have gone on for longer.