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Board Member’s View

March 2020

ScottLast week I had the pleasure of speaking at the company’s Women in Blakemore conference.

It was A.F. Blakemore’s first Equality, Inclusion & Diversity event, celebrating women in Blakemore’s and highlighting the importance of diversity in the workplace. This of course means gender diversity, but also ensuring that our workforce includes people of different ages, religions, ethnicities, cultural backgrounds and so on.

I expected to enjoy the day, but what really surprised me was how much I was inspired to take back to the office after the event. One of the speakers, Caroline Dakin, spoke about the importance of resilience: the ability to bounce back, work through challenges and respond rather than react.

This is undoubtedly a key skill that we all need – in business, but in our personal lives too. In an ever-challenging world, it’s one we need now more than ever.

Caroline stressed the importance of doing small things to challenge yourself every day in order to build up resilience. Her challenge to the audience was: What change could you make to your life to build up your resilience?

The event also stressed the importance of us all as individuals playing our part in creating a more equal, inclusive and diverse Blakemore’s, so if you have an idea, voice it. We need support from all colleagues to really bring our EID strategy to life.

Our 2020 Equality, Inclusion & Diversity campaign will start with a celebration of International Women’s Day on 8th March, followed by Mental Health Awareness Week in May and then other key events across the calendar, including International Men’s Day in November 2020. Once again, I’d call on you all to get involved.

Of course, if our EID strategy is to be successful, AFB’s leadership team will have a key role to play in ensuring that we provide opportunities that enable people to fulfil their potential at A.F. Blakemore. Our EID Steering Group, chaired by Caoire Blakemore, meets regularly to discuss progress against the three strategic pillars of education and inclusion; policy development; and recruitment and progression. 

Our EID strategy will also need to be underpinned by a supportive culture across the business. A.F. Blakemore’s Main Board remains committed to doing things the Blakemore Way, and in fact only recently attended a programme to improve our Leading the Blakemore Way tools and techniques – ensuring that we are working with purpose at all times.

Finally, as you’d expect, the business is currently developing plans to deal with the coronavirus. We will be doing our best to protect colleagues and reassure customers as much as possible so that we can continue to operate and support the communities we serve. Communications will be going out across the business accordingly.

 

Scott Munro-Morris
Group Finance & IT Director

5th March 2020